Last Saturday, April 4, was a productive day at the Children’s Vegetable Garden at the San Antonio Botanical Garden. It was Week 7 for us, and the day started with our gardeners inspecting their plots, looking at the general health of the plants and removing bugs and weeds. Cabbage loopers (pic below) were very active in the cabbage, so they spent time removing and squishing them with fingers or stomping them with feet.
A few of the broccoli have started to bolt…look at these two pictures:
The broccoli head on the left has started to bolt, which means it is rapidly producing flowers…see the yellow starting to show, and how the head is looser than the one on the right? Some of the reasons this can happen is warm soil temperatures, environmental stresses (water, fertilizer, etc). Every now and then there might be a transplant not as strong as the others, too. If this starts to happen, you can pick and eat the head early.
Once the weed and bug removal was done, we moved on to fertilizing. Remember to fertilize carefully, where the plants will benefit from it. Since it was a windy day, our gardeners were careful to spread the granular fertilizer low to the ground so it would not blow away.
We also had some more planting to do… we planted petunias and yellow squash seed. Remember that squash seed is not planted very deep…we planted ours vertically, with the point of the seed just below the soil. We were going to plant ‘diva’ cucumbers transplants but will be doing that next week. You can certainly plant yours now too.
You’ve probably noticed that our tomatoes are still covered. This protects them from wind damage and cold temperatures. We uncovered them a little so we could water around the base, and look how healthy they look!:
Today we also did something special…released ladybugs into the garden! Ladybugs are a beneficial insect and will help keep aphids, scale, and other soft-bodied insects under control.
The gardeners shared bags of ladybugs…
Each gardener released some ladybugs into their plot:
We’re freeeee! :
Once everything was watered, and a final check was done to make sure the tomatoes were well wrapped and everything was neat, we were done for the day. As always, a look at the Children’s vegetable garden at the end of our day:
OK, so I couldn’t resist one more picture… see that corner of a raised bed in the front right of the picture? It’s full of…
Chocolate Mint! In the last several weeks, the mint has started growing like crazy! Mint is a very easy plant to grow as long as it has enough water (and light). It might, in, fact, be a bit difficult to control, but in a separate bed like this, it doesn’t have much of a chance to take over the garden. Chocolate mint is named that because some people think it has a chocolately mint flavor, sort of like a Peppermint Patty. There is also another, equally lush, bed of Yerba Buena (spearmint, in this case…Yerba Buena, which means ‘good herb’ is used to refer to several different herbs, generally—but not always—a mint.) Try a sprig of mint in your iced tea sometime, or even in hot tea. Or dry it for a mint tea. See you next week!
Bexar County Master Gardeners