Archive for the ‘Nutrients in the Garden’ Category

Fertilizing the Garden with the 4R’s of Nutrient Management

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016
The garden looks green and healthy. I spent the last hour pulling weeds! Boy, do they grow fast! The carrots are thinner than I want and my green bean stand is weak as well. I will plant a few more rows of green beans to make up for what didn’t germinate earlier this spring. I have spent hours planting, watering, tilling, hoeing, weeding and now it’s time to fertilize! (more…)

The Resources You Need To Start Your School Garden

Tuesday, March 15th, 2016
  I believe every school should have a garden. Think back to your education, what do you remember? What teacher had an impact? I bet those memories are tied to an activity or teacher who brought innovation and experiential learning to the classroom.   What makes a school garden successful? Purpose, People and Passion   “Gardening requires lots of water – most of it in the form of perspiration.” -Lou Erickson   Purpose: The success of a school garden depends upon the fertility of the soil and the number of times the garden is used. The garden has to have purpose. The class has to have a reason to visit the garden, if not it sits idle, full of potential and completely untapped. Bring the class to the garden every day, even if just for a minute. A garden that is seen is a garden that thrives. Find curriculum that enhances the classroom academic standards. Use curriculum that gives you a reason to spend time in the garden; incorporate science, math, English, reading, nutrition and exercise into garden time. If the garden has purpose, it will be used and it will produce more than fruit; it will produce knowledge, understanding, application, and change.   People: It’s nearly impossible to build, maintain and grow a school garden by yourself. It takes a team of people. Create a committee; include staff, custodial team members, administration, parents and students. Communicate frequently, share a vision and move forward together.   Passion: A garden is living and it takes dedication to make it productive, especially in a school setting. Most school gardens begin when one or two individuals have a strong desire. Passion can dwindle as weeds grow, in addition to time and financial constraints. The passion to keep a garden growing must be continually fertilized with…

Planting 101: Healthy Soil

Monday, April 6th, 2015
It’s dirty nail season. This time of year, I have a hard time keeping my fingernails clean cause I am digging in the earth! (more…)

Preparing Soil for Winter

Monday, October 27th, 2014
Leaves are falling and the air is crisp; fall is definitely here. Another year eaten, canned and preserved! The garden season is over. It’s time to put away canning supplies, garden tools and prepare for winter to come. The garden looks barren and boring. I already miss the color and purpose of this space. In preparation for spring, consider Ward Upham’s, K-State Extension Agent’s, advice: “Fall is the preferred time to prepare garden soil for next spring’s vegetable garden. Spring is often wet making it difficult to work soil without forming clods that remain the rest of the season. Fall usually is drier allowing more time to work the soil when it is at the correct soil moisture content. Even if you work soil wet in the fall and form clods, the freezing and thawing that takes place in the winter will break them down, leaving a mellow soil the following spring. Insects often hide in garden debris. If that debris is worked into the soil, insects will be less likely to survive the winter. Diseases are also less likely to overwinter if old plants are worked under. Also, garden debris will increase the organic matter content of the soil. Working the debris into the soil is easier if you mow the old vegetable plants several times to reduce the size of the debris. Fall is an excellent time to add organic matter. Not only are organic materials usually more available in the fall (leaves, rotten hay or silage, grass clippings) but fresher materials can be added in the fall than in the spring because there is more time for them to break down before spring planting. As a general rule, add 2 inches of organic material to the surface of the soil and till it in. Be careful not…

Nutrients in the Garden 20: Pumpkins & Peanuts

Monday, October 6th, 2014
We did it! For the first time ever, we grew pumpkins and peanuts! Adding new crops to the garden keeps our fingernails dirty and our interested peaked. From one seed packet, costing $1.99 we picked 15 pumpkins!! If I had bought 15 pumpkins at $4.00 each, I would have spent $60. Growing the pumpkins was relatively easy this year. I fertilized twice, watered regularly, hoed weeds A LOT, and didn’t have any insect problems. We are definitely going to plant pumpkins again next year. Who knew they would be so heavy? I didn’t know anything about growing peanuts. I wanted to try something new and peanuts were for sale with the other seed last spring. I said, “let’s try it,” and threw the packet in the shopping cart. I am so glad I did. We have been talking about the peanuts all summer, anticipation of what it growing beneath the soil. Our plants were just beginning to turn yellow and that is when the seed packet said to harvest.  We pulled the plant up and much to our amazement, there were cute peanuts attached to the roots. We shook the soil off and studied the little nuts! Although they are harvested, the peanuts have to dry before we can eat them. We are going to hang them in the garage for a month. Oh, I hope they taste good and don’t disappoint my hopes! I think we will try them raw and roasted.  Did you know that it takes about 540 peanuts to make a 12 ounce jar of peanut butter? Could this be the beginning of a Halloween costume? I would recommend adding pumpkins or peanuts to any home or school garden. Kids easily related to the big orange squash and the delicious taste of peanut butter. Both of…

Nutrients in the Garden 20: End of the Season

Thursday, September 11th, 2014
Here we are at the end of another garden season. The hail set me back, for some of you it was grasshoppers, deer or disease. As I harvest the last of the summer veggies, I am taking notes on what grew well and what didn’t.   (more…)

Problem Solving: Garden Challenges

Monday, August 25th, 2014
Every gardener faces challenges in their garden at some point. Arguably, the most frustrating issue is when the garden isn't producing. I recently received this text from a friend, “Garden is weird; it’s tall and full, but not producing.” (more…)

Problem Solving: Weeds

Thursday, August 14th, 2014
For the first time ever, I used the lawnmower in the garden! Yep, the weeds were so bad; I decided to mow them down. It was a quick solution to a weedy mess! Don’t worry; I didn’t mow the entire garden, just one small section that got out of control. The garden looks better and I don’t feel guilty about letting the weeds get out of control.  Problem solving and gardening go hand in hand! Mowing was the answer this time! (more…)

Nutrients in the Garden 19: Garden Maintenance

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014
We are in the dog days of summer and there isn't a lot to report in the garden. The hail set us back so while others are harvesting, we are waiting and watching for everything to grow, bloom and produce.  As we wait; we water, weed and fertilize. (more…)

Nutrients in the Garden 18: Oh Hail

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014
Oh Hail! I watched the dark clouds roll in as I weeded the garden.  I thought I would weed until it started raining, however, when the lightning started, I headed into the house. Within twenty minutes, the garden was gone. Hail and high winds shredded my tender plants as I helplessly watched from the window. (more…)

Nutrients in the Garden 17: Side Dressing with Commercial Fertilizer

Thursday, June 12th, 2014
I am really good at growing weeds! As you can see from this patch where I sowed carrots and herbs, there are more weeds than carrots and herbs. (more…)