Children’s Vegetable Garden Program (CVGP): Week 5 (March 19th, 2016)

It was a chilly morning (in the high 40s when we arrived), windy and wet, and we were as bundled up as the tomatoes. We started out by doing our normal weeding (very few), and checking our plants. This gardener is checking his potato plants for plant-eating insects:

s16w5.chillyMorning

Sure enough, found a few caterpillars to remove

s16w5.caterpillarOnPotato

Remember how small the potato plants were just a couple of weeks back? They are healthy and growing fast:

s16w5.potatoes

With the cold, wind, and storms, there was bound to be some damaged plants and sure enough, the tiny begonias looked a bit weatherworn. Some were missing entirely. You can see a bedraggled survivor and the wet soil it is in:

s16w5.begonia

The rest of the plants, luckily, fared better.   If you’re following along, I bet you’re wondering how Bob the BHN 968 tomato is doing? I had a peek at Bob along with the other tomatoes in our section and I’m happy to report that, snug under their wrapping, they were all growing and flowering. Have a look at Bob yourself:

 

Bob the dwarf cherry surprise

The squash are starting to come up…most of the beds had between 1-4 seedlings showing. We’re going to wait another week to give some of the slowpoke seeds a chance to get going, then we will plant addition seed to replace any that have not sprouted. They might be planted a bit too deep (need a bit more time) or they might be duds and never come up. We’ll have a peek at them next time….right now they’ve only got their first two leaves (called cotyledons).

Today we planted ‘Little Ruby’ Alternanthera transplants, a Jalapeno pepper transplants, and Provider Bush bean seeds. This particular Alternanthera (try to say that three times fast!) is a Texas superstar and is a lovely reddish purple color—click here to read more about it. Each gardener planted three plugs in their beds…look at the healthy roots on this plug:

s16w5.alternanthera

You can see a couple of rows of the plugs in the background of that picture…isn’t the color lovely?

We also planted a Jalapeño pepper transplant by the ‘Yellow Banana’ and ‘Sweet Bell’ peppers we planted last week and carefully place a cage around it just like we did on the others.   Here’s a gardener with his healthy transplants from last week and this week :

s16w5.Peppers

Lastly, we planted Provider Bush beans. Bush green beans are one of my favorite vegetable plants to grow with kids (or in my own yard) because (1) they taste great and (2) it’s always fun to look for the beans when when we start harvesting…they blend in so well it’s like a game of hide and seek. Before the beans were given to the gardeners they were treated with an inoculant. Simply put, an inoculant contain a bacteria which help the plants absorb nitrogen, which results in better yields. Click here to read more about inoculants. If you haven’t already tried it, it’s good to know that a little inoculant goes a long way, so maybe you and your gardening friends can buy some together to share, especially if your green beans haven’t been producing well. Note that you treat the seeds before they are planted, and if you have old inoculant, be sure to check the expiration date, as the bacteria don’t live forever…most inoculant can be kept about a year.

Here’s a couple of pictures of our garden section at the end of the day:

As always, please check our agenda for detailed planting instructions and information about fertilizing.

See you soon!

Lyn

Lyn Komada, Bexar County Master Gardeners

Bonus pic!

s16w5.hiddenTomato

Shhhh, don’t tell anyone but there’s a tomato plant hiding in the asparagus patch, and a nice size plant too. See how it blends it?  You’d never know it was in there unless you looked.  Now, while I think it was a neat surprise—it blended in so well—it really should get removed so it won’t be competing with the asparagus for nutrients and water.  As Master Gardener Sandra told one of our gardeners earlier in the season ‘ A tomato seedling growing where you want to plant potatoes is a weed.’ Same with the tomato plant in our asparagus.  

 

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