Children’s Vegetable Garden Program (CVGP): Week 3 (March 5 , 2016)

Tycoon tomatoes! We uncovered our tomatoes to see how they were doing, and they look like a million dollars.

sp16w3.Tycoon

In most of the beds, the potatoes have started peeking out too:

sp16w3.potato

The cole crops also look like they’ve grown. By the way, years ago, when I first heard someone use the term ‘cole crops’ I thought they were saying ‘cold crops’. It sort of made sense to me, since these plants like cooler temperatures, but I found out quickly I’d heard it wrong. ‘Cole crops’ refers to plants in the mustard family. This spring, we are growing broccoli and cabbage, both of which are in the mustard family.

sp16w3.cole

Wait! Are those HOLES in that ‘Cheers’ cabbage on the bottom right? Let’s take a closer look at a cabbage plant:

sp16w3.bugs

(Sigh) Yep. We checked our plants carefully for cabbage loopers, and you should start doing that too. On another plant, one of our gardeners found some eggs….no picture this time–they were dealt with very quickly–but let’s take a moment to review three common eggs you may find in your vegetable garden.

  • Cabbage loopers start out as tiny white eggs. Squish or otherwise dispose of these.
  • Ladybug eggs are yellow.  These are beneficial insects and will eat aphids, spider mites, etc; leave their eggs alone.
  • Lacewing eggs are white and each one is attached to the leaf via a stalk. These are also beneficial insects—they’ll also eat aphids, spider mites, etc – so leave these alone too.

I know you’re all disappointed that I don’t have any CVG bug pictures to share with you (smile), but the season is still early. We’ve had a warmer than usual winter, so I expect we will have lots of insect pictures to share as our season progresses. (Ick. I’ll try and keep them to an educational minimum. Sorry, entomologists. (smile))

We finished checking our existing plantings, and scratched up the soil where we had not planted yet, then went on to planting. This time our gardeners planted another tomato – BHN 968 ‘Dwarf Cherry Surprise’—and four ‘Moss Rose’ portulaca transplants. As usual, detailed planting and feeding instructions can be found in our agenda. I’d like to mention that, once again, we soaked the transplants until they stopped bubbling before planting.  Do you see the bubble in the pic below? (You can click on the picture to expand it, then use the Back arrow on your browser to get back here.)

sp16w3.bubbles

By the way, have you considered that planting can provide a real world example of where math skills are useful?   Here, our gardening trio is using a ruler to calculate even spacing for their 4 transplants:

sp16w3.gardenMath

The results look great; very neatly spaced out:

sp16w3.mossRose

By the end of the day, several of the moss rose had open flowers. They do well in dry, hot conditions so consider them for your own garden. I remember my mom used to grow them in our garden in Queens.

sp16w3.mossRoseCloseup

Here’s a view of our (also) neatly lined up tomato plants. The ones on the left are the Tycoon tomatoes, and on the right are the Dwarf Cherry Surprise that we planted today.

sp16w3.lineUp

At the end of the day, we fertilized with HastaGrow. Our gardeners were careful to get the plant food on the ground, carefully holding low-lying leaves out of the way.

sp16w3.watering

HastaGrow can be used as a foliar (leaf) fertilizer, but at a more diluted mixture so the leaves don’t get damaged. If you were to get any kind of nonfoliar fertilizer on leaves, best to rinse it off, preferably with rainwater.  Incidentally, have you noticed your houseplants might have a white coating on the leaves or soil? That’s the minerals in our tap water. Since our water has a lot of minerals in it, even when we hand water at CVG, we try not to get water on the leaves, for the same reason as the full strength fertilizer…the minerals can damage the leaves.

sp16w3.BobTheTomato

If you’ve seen the CVG or have been reading our agendas, you’ll know that we label our plants so we know what we planted where. Bob the Tomato has its variety and other info written on the other side of this label, but I do like this side. (smile) We’ll keep you updated on Bob’s progress in future posts.

At the end of the day it’s always important to clean your tools and put things away neatly:

sp16w3.cleaning

While we’re on the topic of putting things away neatly, here’s a tip:

sp16w3.buckets

This is the part of our tool storage area where we keep the buckets the gardeners use to rinse their tools in. These tend to stick together and be difficult to separate. One of our brilliant volunteers came up with the idea to put a bamboo stick alongside each bucket when stacking them. This way it won’t get stuck in the bucket below. What a great idea!

Our garden, at the end of the day:

sp16w3.FinalPic

Bonus picture time!

sp16w3.allium

Do you remember the movie Alien? The scene where the alien jumps out of the guy’s chest? OK, so that’s what that picture reminded me of. This is an allium, not an alien, luckily, but the the flowers were just popping out.  Here’s what the opening flowerheads look like on the plant:

sp16w3.alliums

Occasionally I will let an onion, scallion, or other allium that I don’t plan on eating have a flowerhead just because they look neat.

Lyn

Lyn Komada, Bexar County Master Gardeners

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