Children’s Vegetable Garden – Week 14 & 15: The Harvest  (May 23 & 30)

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Weeks 14 and 15 in the Spring Children’s Vegetable Garden can be described in two words: rain, and harvest. We have been harvesting the last few weeks but these two weeks we REALLY harvested. And rain, well, we all know what the weather’s been like lately, hmmmm?  The nice thing about lots of rain is that the weeds pull up much easier than in a parched, dry soil. Of course, there are more weeds, too, but let’s see the glass as half full!

Over the last two weeks, we have done our normal maintenance: squishing bugs, picking up dead leaves, and removing weeds. It’s so important to keep up with this to ensure that the plants perform as well as possible.

It’s also important to maintain good airflow around the plants, to reduce the risk of diseases like powdery mildew.  Here we are attaching some stray ‘Diva’ cucumber vines that were running along the ground back onto their trellis with a little twine. The tendrils will grab on quickly once they are near the trellis.  Check out that great looking cucumber hidden among the leaves.

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We had a great time digging up the remaining potatoes and removing the plants.  By the way, all the green material we remove goes on our compost pile. (More about that next time.)

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We’ve dug up all our remaining onions.  See how nicely the ‘White Stream’ Lobularia at the end of the bed is doing, and how pretty the violet carpet petunias are.

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The yellow squash are continuing to produce.  Next week, our gardeners may want to take some of the blossoms home and make fried squash blossoms.

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The ‘Provider’ bush green beans were removed. They had stopped producing flowers so there would be no future beans, and the remaining beans were large enough to pick. We cut them off at ground level and held each one upside down, checking for remaining beans to make sure we got them all. The beans blend in so well with the stems and foliage that they can be hard to see.

The cherry tomato ‘BHN 968’ is still producing like mad, and the Tycoon tomatoes are blushing enough that we are picking those as well.

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There was a fun Junior Master Gardener (JMG) activity on the 23rd…loofahs that were grown at the CVG were used to make decorative planters. Each Saturday there is always a neat educational activity going on at the CVG in addition to gardening. (P.S. Loofah are very easy to grow!)

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We also do regular maintenance of the beds around the garden plots, and it was time to prune back the Chocolate Mint.  If any of you think you don’t have a green thumb, try growing mint. Here’s before and after pictures of the bed:

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Yep, we had a WHEELBARROW full of mint when we were done.  Everyone who wanted some got to take some home.

As we finished up for the day, and our gardeners left, the garden quieted down and other visitors started appearing.  Grackles? What are they doing here?

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Well, when we removed the potatoes, and cut down the beans, we disturbed the soil and raked it level. In doing so, we uncovered a few bugs. The grackles came to do us a favor and eat the bugs. You can see them carefully inspecting the soil in the second picture above.

So, as we left for the day, it’s starting to look a little empty with onions, beans, potatoes removed. There is still some production going on, but the heat is upon us and it is slowing down.

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And for our last picture of the post, can you guess what this is?

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Coriander!  If you are growing cilantro and let it go to seed, those seeds are the spice called coriander. Actually, in some places, the plant is called coriander also. There always seems to be multiple common names for plants, which is why it’s always a good idea to use the Latin name for a plant if you want to be really clear. (coriandrum sativum, in case you’re curious.) Besides, some of them are fun to say. J

Lyn

Lyn Komada, Bexar County Master Gardeners