Posts Tagged ‘Crops’

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…

FFA Friday: Illinois

Friday, September 19th, 2014
Prairie Central FFA Takes First Place Award Honors;  Cuba FFA Wins Second, and Maroa Forsyth FFA Wins Third Place Welcome back to FFA Friday! Illinois had 22 participating chapters in the Helping Communities Grow program this year. Congratulations to the top three chapters, Prairie Central FFA, Cuba FFA, and Maroa Forsyth FFA. Prairie Central FFA won first place for a three part project including an elementary educational program, an informative breakfast for students and staff, and a community booth titled “Harvesting Hope.” The educational program taught elementary school students about the role of fertilizer in growing plants. The breakfast highlighted the farmer’s role in feeding the world. The community booth had games and handouts for all aged showing the positive aspects of fertilizer and maintaining a food supply. Cuba FFA won second place by leading various activities throughout the year. In the fall, younger FFA members grew a 1,800 square foot garden and older members grew 200 acres of corn and soybeans. In the springtime, members gave back to their community by planting flowers in planting beds. Third place goes to Maroa Forsyth FFA for growing plants in their greenhouse and hydroponic system. With their new knowledge, members taught fourth through tenth graders about soil and fertilizer. Congratulations to all of the Illinois chapters that participated! The Nutrients for Life Foundation program in Arizona is supported by the program’s founding sponsor, CF Industries.  FFA chapters, remember to complete step 1, by November 14, 2014, to participate in the 2014-2015 program! Details can be found at https://www.nutrientsforlife.org/helpingcommunitiesgrow.

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…)

School Garden Spotlight: Tony Jensen

Monday, March 24th, 2014
Mr. Jensen, agriculture teacher in Nebraska, has always spent a lot of time outside.  From landscaping with his wife to activities like hiking and camping, he knows the value of getting some fresh air.  Now, with the creation of a growing dome, his students are able to connect with nature while at school!  The garden is almost a year old and has already had two successful seasons of growing vegetables.  Below, Mr. Jensen shares the challenges and opportunities of creating a school garden. Name: Tony Jensen School: Freeman Public School County, State: Gage County, Nebraska Grade, Class: 7-12th Grade Agriculture   Tell us about your background with soil science, nutrients, and gardening. I have always enjoyed being outdoors doing activities like fishing, hiking, and camping.  My wife has a horticulture background so our family spends a lot of time in the garden and working on landscaping around our home and community. Why did you decide to start a school garden? We constructed a growing dome greenhouse in May 2013 and are using the raised beds inside the growing dome to grow vegetables year-round.  We then donate our harvests to local food banks and pantries to provide for our neighbors in need. To me, there are many teachable moments that come from this facility.  We can teach about crop production, soil science, renewable energy, healthy eating, food safety, and service to others through hands-on activities. What were the first steps in making the growing dome a reality?  We researched a feasible option for a greenhouse structure that would meet the needs of our school, we set goals for our project, and then began raising funds for the structure. What did you grow and how did you choose that plant?  The first year, we decided to experiment with a variety of different vegetables to…

New Resource: Potash Video & Potassium Cycle Poster

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014
The Nutrients for Life Foundation is proud to provide its latest free education resources: The Potash Mining Video and Potassium Cycle Poster. Every plant needs three basic elements to grow nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Potassium (K) is important to plants because it acts as a regulator. It helps plants efficiently use water, transfer food, and protect against structural stress. If a plant is deficient in potassium, it is much more susceptible to stunted growth and disease. K is found naturally in soil, but sometimes must be replaced, especially after years of growing plants on the same land. So where do we get the K in fertilizer that provides all these great benefits? From mining potash in deposits of ancient evaporated inland oceans. To learn more, watch The Potash Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uujIepkI6Ow   Also, check out our new Potassium Cycle Poster available free through our website. It is so meaningful for science classes to expose students to natural biogeochemical cycles, such as the potassium cycle. Even if students are unable to recall every aspect of the potassium or phosphorus cycle months after your class, the concept of the cyclical nature of earth’s major resources is an essential concept for tomorrow’s generation.   Mineral weathering, plant residues, animal sources, and fertilizers supply K to the plant roots. In some soils, mineral weathering primarily supplies enough potassium to provide sufficient amounts of K, with help from plant residues, biosolids, and animal sources. However, continual use of the soil for crops or gardening can deplete potassium faster than natural weather and other sources can replenish it. Runoff, erosion, plant harvest, and leaching can be causes for potassium loss. In those cases, potassium fertilizer can restore amounts. We hope these new resources invigorate your soil science lessons and are a helpful addition to your classroom! Keep up with the Foundation- Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | YouTube 

Garden Spotlight: Micah Weber

Thursday, October 17th, 2013
"Just plant it, seed is cheap!" says Micah Weber of Rock Valley, Iowa.  Mr. Weber has been the Agriculture Education Instructor for grades seven through twelve at Rock Valley Community School for the past 13 years.   (more…)

Sharing the Wealth

Monday, September 30th, 2013
I feel like I am living a version of “Tomatoes Gone Wild.” Our garden has out produced the needs of my family of five. The cupboards, pantry, storage closet, and freezer are full of garden fresh goodness preserved for winter meals, especially anything and everything tomato based. (more…)

School Garden Spotlight: John Cole

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013
John Cole heard about the Helping Communities Grow program for FFA chapters and thought, "my students would enjoy that."  Little did he know, deciding to participate in the competition would lead to reconnecting with a classmate from over 40 years ago and so, so much more.   (more…)

School Garden Spotlight: Tracy Mendoza

Monday, September 23rd, 2013
"Gardens make children better, happier and more helpful" is Tracy Mendoza's motto when talking about her students and their school garden. (more…)