Children’s Vegetable Garden Program Feb 28th 2015

Hi, everyone!  It’s Lyn again with another update from the Spring Children’s Vegetable Garden (CVG).  Sometimes, weather causes gardeners to reluctantly change our gardening plans, and that is what happened to us on 28 Feb… CVG activities were cancelled due to inclement weather.  No worries, though, we just waited until this past weekend to plant.  We had a fun and busy morning as we first checked on the potatoes to make sure all of them were still covered up, and our broccoli, cabbage, and kale were all still settled in nicely.  We also started out by adding some fertilizer to the area we were going to plant.  We use different fertilizers in the CVG and this week we used Espoma Organic Garden-Tone.  The children sprinkled it on the soil and lightly scratched it in with a hand cultivator.

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This week we planted onions…each of the children planted 36 white and 36 yellow onion slips in their beds.  Onion slips are basically baby onion plants that were started from seed by the grower. Here’s what a bunch of onion slips would look like when you buy them:

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You can start planting onion sets (the small dried bulbs) as early as Nov/Dec, and the slips from late Jan/early Feb until as late as about now. You still have time, so if you want to plant them, head out to your favorite nursery and pick up a bunch this week or weekend and get them in.  Generally, a bunch will have about 60-80 slips in it.

 

We planted our onions in rows 6” apart, with onions about 3” apart within a row.  Please do not trim the green part of the onion at all. You can either make a shallow trench or make holes with your finger where each onion will go. We sprinkled a bit of rock phosphate into the holes/trench before planting the onions.  Throughout our planting, you may see plastic rulers in the pictures because these are really handy for children (and adults too!) to be sure the spacing or depth is right in plantings.   How deep to plant them?  If you look closely a the picture above, you will see that the onion slip is a bit wider at the bottom and starts to narrow a little where it is still white…plant them up to where that narrowing starts.  There will be white showing above the ground.  Let’s look at how neatly one of our young gardeners has planted her onions.

 

First, she carefully spaces them out.  You can see the end of the orange plastic ruler she used is at the bottom of the pic)

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Next, she planted them at the right depth:

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Finally, she watered them in.  Watering in plantings is important both to get them started with a good drink, and to gently settle the soil around them a bit more.

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One final broccoli/kale/cabbage—our young gardeners got to choose– was added to the 3 planted in Week 1, and we were on to fertilizing. In addition to the rock phosphate and the Espoma for the onions, we also added some Hasta-Grow   to the broccoli/cabbage/kale from Week 1 and the onions we just planted.  If any of the fertilizer got on the leaves, we rinsed it off when we did our final watering.

 

You will notice that we fertilize a lot.  Veggies are heavy feeders, and we prepare the soil where we plant by fertilizing, as well as treat the growing plants to a drink with a liquid fertilizer.  I remember when I planted my very first raised bed many years ago when I lived in Virginia—It was a brand new one I had just built, and I figured that I did not have to fertilize because, after all, it was brand new soil mixed just for raised beds so I shouldn’t need to, right?  Wrong.  I had the worst harvest ever that season.  Please remember to feed your veggies!

 

A final picture of the beds..each week during the season you will see them filling out, little by little. The cabbage/broccoli/kale from Week 1 are on the right, and the onions are on the left side of the beds.

 

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Nora will be blogging for Week 4 of the CVG; we’ll see you then!

 

Lyn

 

Lyn Komada

Bexar County Master Gardeners

 

 

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