Category Archives: School Garden News

Stages of the Monarch Butterfly

Monarch butterflies go through four stages during one life cycle. The four stages are: the egg, the larvae (caterpillar), the pupa (chrysalis), and the adult butterfly. At Hamilton High School the students have established a habitat for the Monarch butterfly by planting milkweed.

The photo below was taken recently of a caterpillar that has attached itself to a Brussels Sprouts leaf. If all goes well a chrysalis will form and a butterfly will emerge. I’m crossing my fingers that a bird doesn’t get to it first. Nature can be so cruel.

catapillar

Christmas Card From a Gardener

Gardening Makes You “Happy”

hand in soil

If you need another reason to get motivated for gardening, consider this, gardening makes you happy. It has now been scientifically proven that certain bacterium in the soil may stimulate serotonin production, which makes you relaxed and happier.

Please review this fascinating article, Antidepressant Microbes In Soil: How Dirt Makes You Happy.

We always knew that gardening was beneficial for our our mental well being. Now we have proof!

Romanesco Broccoli and the Fibonacci fractal

Romanesco Broccoli is a variety of the species Brassica oleracea. It is a cool weather crop that enjoys a steady diet of nutrients. We fertilized with fish emulsion every other week.

The beauty of Romanesco lies in its unique flower structure. When we consume Romanesco, other than the stems we are eating flower buds.

These flower buds are very well known in science circles for being a natural example of the Fibonacci fractal. In mathamatics a Fibonacci fractal will go on forever, ad infinitum. A broccoli plant obviously does not go on forever, but the pattern does repeats itself in every bud.

This article explains it well, Fibonacci-Shaped Romanesco Broccoli Is the World’s Most Visually Stunning Vegetable

See other natural fractals in this Wired gallery.

Other than being really healthy for you, Romanesco broccoli is a cool way to bring math into the classroom.

Here’s one place to purchase seeds, Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.

Purple Cauliflower

What a beauty- purple cauliflower. The variety is an heirloom called Sicilian Violet. Does not need to be blanched. Seed to harvest was 108 days. Purple cauliflower’s color is due to the presence of the antioxidant anthocyanin, which can also be found in red cabbage and red wine.

Every School Should Teach Gardening Because Food is Kind of Important

Hi all, as the new school year kicks into gear I would like to introduce you to a great garden guy, Mike Podlesny. See his guest post below, and check out his website as well.

Every School Should Teach Gardening Because Food is Kind of Important
photo credit: Mike the Gardener

On our Vegetable Gardening Facebook page, I posted the question, Should Vegetable Gardening be Taught in Schools, using a meme titled, Every School Should Teach Gardening, Because Food is Kind of Important. We received some wonderful dialogue from everyone who decided to comment and make their own recommendations and suggestions as to whether or not every school should teach gardening.

Grasshoppers in the Garden

Grasshoppers are a nuisance. They feed on the green leaves of young plants and can defoliate an entire plant if left unchecked.

Barriers can be used to keep grasshoppers aways from your plants. One remedy is a cage made from window screen. The holes are small enough not to allow the grasshoppers access, but large enough to allow sunlight and watering.

Another type of barrier and great for larger areas is floating row covers. Floating row covers are made from a very lightweight material that lays right on top of your  plants. Water and sunshine get through easily, insects are kept out, including birds who may try to eat your freshly planted seeds.

floatingrowcover

Floating row covers can also extend a season by protecting plants from frost down to 28ºF.

For more info about floating row covers see info sheet from Washington St University Extension