Children’s Vegetable Garden Program (CVGP) Week 2, February 25th, 2017

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BRRRRRR! Week 2 started out with an invigoratingly chilly, brisk morning and we had SO MUCH FUN getting our hands dirty again!

Before we got to planting the new veggies, we checked up on our work from last week. Even after the rough weather from San Antonio’s tornado week, we only had to replace ONE ‘GREEN MAGIC’ BROCCOLI PLANT because our gardener’s did such a good job. Pat yourselves on the back ya’ll!

We checked for any weeds or holes in our plots and then made sure none of the tubers from our potatoes were sticking out of the ground. We covered any of these with compost.

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ON TO THE NEW VEGGIES! We planted 2 ‘Cheers’ Head cabbage transplants and 2 ‘Snow Crown’ cauliflower transplants.

Along with brussel sprouts, kale and broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower are commonly known as ‘cole crop’ plants. They are in the Brassicaceae family (formerly the Cruciferae family) and are known for having GREAT NUTRITIONAL BENEFITS. They are known as an antioxidant family of veggies because they are JAM-PACKED with vitamin A carotenoids, vitamin C, folic acid, and fiber!

 Click here to learn a little a little more about cole crops from Agrilife Extension.

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We started with our ‘Cheers’ cabbages! As always, we have to measure out where to plant so we can allow the veggies enough room to grow in the soil without overcrowding each other. We measured 2 feet in from the end of the bed (where our irrigation spigot is) and then measured 1 foot in from the side of the bed. The two placed bamboo markers should have measured with 18 inches between each other.

Of course, we made sure to water the holes we dug so that our already watered transplant cabbages would have a moist environemt to thrive! Want to learn more about cabbage? Check here to see A&M’s Agrilife cabbage facts!

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We then measured 18 inches further into the bed from the cabbage to locate where to plant our ‘Snow Crown’cauliflower. This Pikachu above carefully plants his first Cauliflower transplant into wet soil.

Back in September 2007, the Snow Crown’ Cauliflower was awarded ‘Plant of the Week!” Click here to read Master Gardener David Rodriquez’s article about it!

After getting both cabbages and cauliflowers in the ground and watered, we mixed  1 oz. of Hasta-Gro , an organic fertilizer, with half of the water can, about 1 gallon of water . Each plot only needed a quarter bucket of mixed liquid fertilizer for their cabbage, cauliflower and last week’s broccoli. We made sure NOT to let any of the fertilizer get on the leaves, just on the soil around the plants.

The instructors then applied Spinosad, an organic pesticide, to the leaves of all the green, leafy plants. We diluted it at 2 oz. per 1 gallon of water and applied about 1 quart to all the veggies in each bed.

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Special thanks to our volunteers representing the Alpha Phi Omega co-ed service organization at Trinity University! Not only did they help distribute compost and apply Hasta-grow to the plants but they also helped out in the experimental onion trial garden!

Stay tuned next week to see more of our veggies and how we’re using this onion patch to learn and become better gardeners! Remember we start journaling next week!

Children’s Vegetable Garden Program (CVGP) Week 1, February 18th, 2017

YAY! SABOT has launched the Children’s Vegetable Garden for the Spring 2017 Season! A misty February morning turned bright and beautiful as kids, parents, grandparents and friends alike came together to learn in one of the nation’s oldest youth gardening programs! Many thanks to all of the Bexar County Master Gardeners and AgriLife Extension volunteers dedicating their time and expertise to the garden!

Special thanks to Milberger’s Landscape and Nursery for providing funds to pay for half of each plot so we can enrich gardening and education as a community!

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After covering garden procedure and safety protocol, we planted 1 row of 6 white Kennebec’ Irish potato pieces, 1 row of 6 red Pontiac’ Irish potato pieces and 2 Green Magic’ Broccoli transplants.

‘Green Magic’ Broccoli is a Texas Superstar Plant. Click here to check out the brochure to learn more about what that means and aquaint yourself with other Texas Superstars. You might even see a couple of the other veggies we’re growing on this list!

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As you can see above, the red and white potatoes are easy to distinguish from eachother. Notice how one side of the potato is cut and the other side has little green sprouts called ‘eyes.’ The dusty substance on the cardboard and on the cut sides of the potatoes is Phosphate dust, which helps to develop early roots and shoots.

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First, our youth gardeners evenly sprinkled their plots with 6 cups of Lady Bug natural derived Alfalfa based Organic Fertilizer. Then they measured for the placement of each potato, spacing them 6 inches apart and marking the spot with bamboo sticks. They dug a trough 4 inches deep and carefully placed each potato with the cut side down into the soil.

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Every gardener should label their plot! Once this bed develops into a lush bed of veggies and greenery that popsicle stick will help us identify when and where we planted! These taters should start sprouting foliage in about 5-6 weeks!

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Once the potatoes were planted and watered, we moved on to the ‘Green Magic’ Broccoli. Instead of using a seed, we used a Broccoli transplant which means that the plant has already grown a little bit by the time we place it in the soil. It is very important that a WET transplant goes into a WET plot or else the plant might not take to the soil.

In between our 2 tomato cages, we measured 2 holes about 12 inches apart. Then we sprinkled 2 cups of Lady Bug Organic Fertilizer, dug the holes about 4 inches deep and watered. The little fellow above is a FIRST TIME GARDENER! YIPPEE!

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This father-son duo planted the broccoli peat pot container a little deeper than the soil line of the hole they had dug, covering the purple color of the main stem so the soil was just below the seedling leaves. As Dad makes sure the broccoli stem is standing straight up, his son gently tamps the surrounding soil. It is important not to compress the soil too much because that can prevent much needed air and nutrient exposure to the plant.

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Gardeners concluded their day by watering and fertilizing the rest of the soil in their beds to prepare for next week’s veggie planting and making sure their PVC pipe irrigation systems were working.

If you would like to learn more, be sure to LIKE us on our Bexar County Youth Gardens Program Facebook. 

 

Children’s Vegetable Garden Program (CVGP) Week 2, August 27th, 2016

Alright! On to week 2! The gardeners checked their tomatoes and made sure the cages were places straight up.

We also had some very special visitors supervising and making sure their garden looked good:) 

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Just a friendly reminder that if you have not done so already be sure to LIKE us on our Bexar County Youth Gardens Program Facebook. 

Last week we planted our ‘BHN 968 ‘Dwarf Cherry Surprise‘ tomato and they are starting to look good. This combat with the heat is making it tuff, though. We are watering every day and making sure the plants are covered in mulch.

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 Some of our tomatoes had to be replaced, but no biggie.  This heat is a tuff one this year!!

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Week 2 plantings are the ‘Tycoon’ tomato plant and one ‘Sweet Slice’ cucumber

For the planting-guide-fall-2016 and the planting-diagram-fall-2016-p2 be sure to click these links.

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First we placed ourselves at the divider in the middle of the plot.Then we  measured 15 inches into the plot, from the middle outside part of the Divider towards the Irrigation on/off valve.  We placed a bamboo stick to identify where the large fruited ‘Tycoon’ tomato transplant was to be planted. Then started to dig a hole the same depth as the Tycoon tomato pot.

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We mixed two cups of Lady Bug natural derived Alfalfa based Organic Fertilizer with the soil dug from the hole.  Carefully removed the plant from the hole and added a little water to check for proper drainage.

 

We applied another cupful of Lady Bug natural derived Alfalfa based Organic Fertilizer on the very top of the soil around the plant.  Then we  mulched the top of the soil with about 2-3 inches of mulch from the mulch provided.

With the help of our instructors/volunteers, we placed the tomato cage back around the tomatoes.

Now on to the ‘Sweet Slice’ Burpless Cucumber.

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The cucumbers were places in the center of the trellis and we used a bamboo stick to help prop up the plants while their tendrils are growing. This gives them a better chance of latching on to the trellis. After that they are good to go.

One cup of Lady Bug natural derived Alfalfa based Organic Fertilizer was added and we made sure to give our gardens a good drink of water. Remember this heat is crazy this year!!

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Fertilizers

Why are we using so much fertilizer?  Each plot measures about 100 square feet.  For that amount of space each plot will use a total of 9 to 10 pounds of granulated ORGANIC fertilizer during the season.  Last week, everyone should have applied quite a bit of fertilizer.  When applying a natural based organic granulated fertilizer, you need to use larger quantities early because the nutritional content is low. It takes about three weeks to start breaking down and become available to the plants.  That is why we supplement with a water soluble fertilizer (Hasta-Gro) once a week for about three weeks because it is readily available to the plants at the time it is applied.  In comparison, a conventional fertilizer such as a 19-5-9 Premium slow-release granule formulation would be applied at a rate of 3 to 5 pounds per 100 square feet.

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Of course there were other chores and everyone was sure to lend a hand.

Have a great season everyone! 

 

 

Children’s Vegetable Garden Program (CVGP) Week 1, August 20th, 2016

Hello everyone and welcome to the 2016 Fall Season at the Children’s Vegetable Garden at the San Antonio Botanical Garden! Last weekend was the first Saturday of the season and we have hit the ground running.

Our day began with Garden Leaders Mary Fernandez, John Mayor, and Volunteer Coordinator for the San Antonio Botanical Gardens Nadezhda Garza sign in our families and make sure plots are all assigned correctly. They work so hard at keeping this HUGE garden organized. Just want to give them a little shout out of appreciation:) Thanks guys!

Over the past few weeks here in San Antonio the weather has been especially warm with rain showers every other day and the Purslane has just loved it!! Check out our before picture of the garden! We’ve all experienced it, so check out this link from Aggie-Horticulture.tamu.edu on Weed Management in the Garden.

But of course, no worries, we have an excellent group of volunteers and families participating this season and these weeds don’t stand a chance.

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 Just a reminder, this blog will highlight the garden chores for the day and cover some useful information, and a detailed agenda on exactly what we did will be published here on this blog separately.

So the day began with prepping the garden bed (pulling weeds) and also learning where everyone’s new plots will be for the next 16 weeks.

The Section Leaders gave a brief intro to the garden and began explaining the garden chores for the day.

First step was to remove the weeds and then rake in some fertilizer. We also made sure the soil was smoothed out as much as possible.

Eight cups of Lady Bug Natural Derived Alfalfa based Organic Fertilizer was scratched in with a rake on top of the entire plot.

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Then we dug a hole which was the same depth as the pot that the beautiful  BHN 968 ‘Dwarf Cherry Surprise’ tomato plant was in.  Check out the link to read an article from AgriLife Today about this amazing and delicious tomato.

Then, the soil that was dug out of the whole was mixed with two more cups of the Lady Bug Natural Derived Alfalfa based Organic Fertilizer…..

….and put back around our little tomato plant.

After filling the soil back in, ONE MORE CUP was scratched into and around our new plant.

The cages were carefully placed back around our plants and we made sure to put our labels in the ground. Check out these videos for some cool quick tips on planting your tomatoes!

How to Plant a Tomato Plant & Tomato Cage Installation

We then hand watered our newly planted tomatoes with one gallon of water mixed with 2oz of Medina Hasta Gro.  Our tools were cleaned and we made sure to give our plants a good drink of water from our irrigation lines for about 10-15 minutes.

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Thank you to our volunteers and families for making this day so successful. See you next week! We will be planting our Tycoon’ Tomato and our ‘Sweet Slice’ Burpless Cucumber.

A special Thank You to Mr. Robert Ambriz for providing these beautiful pictures for this post today.

Winner of the 2015 Written Education Award at the Texas Master Gardener Conference

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and the Bexar County Master Gardeners would like to recognize Ms. Lyn Komada for all the hard work she has put into making this blog exceptionally great. It was because of her that the Bexar County Youth Gardens Blog received the 2015 Written Education Award at this summer’s Texas Master Gardener Conference. Thank you Lyn for your love and dedication to sharing the beautiful experiences at the Children’s Vegetable Garden at the San Antonio Botanical Gardens.

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Children’s Vegetable Garden Program (CVGP) 2016 Fall Registration NOW OPEN!!

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The Garden is proud to present one of the nation’s oldest youth gardening programs. Children ages 8-13 get their hands-on horticulture with the help of our partner organizations, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and Bexar County Master Gardeners.

The Children’s Vegetable Garden Program at the San Antonio Botanical Garden is an opportunity for children to grow their own vegetables and ornamental plants with the help of instructors from the Texas A&M AgriLIFE Extension Service and Bexar County Master Gardeners, as well as other volunteer organizations. Each child is allotted a 3.5’x28’ garden plot. Children will have fun growing different types of seeds, vegetables, and ornamental annual flowers. Children can also earn their Junior Master Gardener certification by participating in fun, hands-on activities each week after they have tended their garden. In order to gain the most from the learning experience and to help ensure successful growing, participants are required to attend all sessions (two absences are allowed). Families are welcome to share the gardening experience with their child. A parent or guardian must stay with their child.

Fee: Thanks to a generous donation from our friends at Milberger’s Landscaping and Nursery, the Spring Vegetable Garden Program will be $40 per child or $60 for two children to share a plot (non-refundable). Donations welcome. Ages 8-13.

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Click here to register!!

Questions? Please contact Timothy Roan at 210-536-1412 or troan@sabot.org

Date: Every Saturday from August 20th – Dec 3rd

Time: 8am to 12pm (or until classes and garden chores are done)

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Children’s Vegetable Garden Program (CVGP): Week 16 (June 4, 2016)

Week 16 was the final week of another successful spring Children’s Vegetable Garden season, just in time with the warmer temperatures arriving. It was a busy last day. Those of you with home vegetable gardens will still be harvesting for a few weeks, but we needed to remove the plants and clear the plots so they will be ready for the fall session. It was tough to remove a gorgeous Tycoon tomato plant or a banana pepper still producing, but everything was harvested before the plants were removed:

There was still a lot to harvest. Those of you with home gardens are still letting your plants produce, but we had to clear everything out since our program was ending. So our gardeners were busy harvesting and then removing the plants….

It was a true community garden effort, wheelbarrows going back and forth as we added the plant material to the compost pile.

The wheelbarrows got a LOT Of use today.

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The harvest was mainly tomatoes, peppers, japanese eggplant, and some very large cucumbers…

Last week I suggested googling recipes for cherry tomatoes.  This week it’s recipes for green tomatoes we need to google, and there are a lot of recipes to choose from.  They will not go to waste!

This family had an easy way to get their harvest to the car:

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Let’s have a peek inside their garden trolly:

Some of the gardeners opted to take their Alternanthera home with them, and from the lovely color, I can see why. The magenta color is on the underside of the leaves, the purple and green are the tops. This is a bit wilted from being dug up but should perk up once it is replanted.

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We also started adding mulch to some of the common areas of the garden…mentors, gardeners, family, *and* some volunteers from UTSA all worked together on this effort.

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All of our gardeners were asked to keep a garden journal of what they did. This gardener did a GREAT job with her journal, starting with a custom cover:

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She included including drawings and even the plot layout.

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Her mom printed out the agendas in reduced format to fit the sleeves of the small binder, and the gardener added her notes each session. (Remember you can click on any image to see it larger.)

At the end of the garden, beyond the fence but still in the Botanical Garden, is a HUGE fig tree. If you like figs and have room for one in your yard, they are very easy to grow and produce like crazy. Look at all the figs growing on this small section of the tree, some o them blending in with the leaves:

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If you want to grow one in a home setting I’d suggest perhaps not letting it get two stories high…it’s hard to harvest that way. There used to be one in my yard that previous owners had pruned so it was about 8’ high but about 10’ wide, so you could walk in among the branches and harvest. The taller branches could be pulled down to harvest, or a small stepstool used. One thing about figs though, is that you’ve got to stay on top of the harvest. If some of the figs end up on the ground for a bit ferment, you’ll have drunken grackles wobbling around your yard. (I speak from experience….)

So, what’s next? Signup for the next season – the Fall Children’s Vegetable Garden – has started and you can get info on that on this page at Botanical Gardens website. It reviews the program and at the bottom there is a link (the very last line) to click on to register. If you are planning a fall vegetable garden in your own backyard, you can get a list of recommended varieties for our area and when to plant them by clicking here.

In fact, you might want to look at ALL the lists on this page from our local Bexar County Texas A&M AgriLife Extension website and see other recommended plants for our area.

End of Day pictures… There are still plants in the test/common beds. Isn’t the color of this coleus gorgeous (first pic)? And the sage has been let to bloom all spring and lovely. I think I will get one from my local nursery to add to my flower garden.

The gardener’s beds are ready for the Fall CVGP…come join us!

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Regards,

Lyn

Lyn Komada,  Bexar County Master Gardeners

BONUS PICTURE:

If you’re very observant, there’s all sorts of things to see at the Botanical Gardens. Right beyond the back fence of the CVGP (next to the huge fig tree) there is a tree with tiny peaches on it, and a hungry squirrel. Then, up on the hill overlooking the CVGP, there is a bench to sit on, occupied for a bit by a…turkey? OK, maybe you didn’t have to be very observant to notice the turkey…he was pretty big!