Posts Tagged ‘farm’

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 15: Thinning Small Seeded Vegetables

Saturday, May 24th, 2014
I am a bit frustrated in the garden. I don’t even want to show you these pictures.  Can you see this row? It’s supposed to be a row of broccoli and it’s actually a pile of broccoli sprouts. Not sure what I am going to do here, I am considering putting my cucumbers there since we failed at getting a good stand. There are several other rows of seeds that did not come up and they should have by now. I think we may have covered the seeds too deeply. I do have a good stand of peas, lettuce and radishes. Tonight we thinned all three. Thinning is the process of removing seedlings from the row. I don’t like to be crowded and neither do seedlings. If plants are overcrowded, they fight for nutrients and water producing a smaller weaker plant. With a small amount of space to garden we need to use water, soil and nutrients as efficiently as possible. When sowing seeds, we often over seed. This helps ensure we have a good population rate or a good stand of seedlings. When two seedlings are too close to each other, I simply pull the smaller, weaker seedling. It seems a bit of a waste but it is a common garden practice. In a perfect garden (aren’t we all striving for perfection), the plants grow in nice straight lines and each plant is evenly spaced according to the spacing requirement for each vegetable. Thinning helps the gardener obtain this goal. Farmers are much better at this. Over time equipment has allowed farmers to plant with proper depth and spacing, eliminating the need for hand thinning. Can you imagine hand thinning one acre of lettuce? Thanks goodness farming has evolved and we all don’t have to rely on humans to do…

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…

Nutrients in the Garden 2: Why Garden?

Friday, February 21st, 2014
Before we continue this new series, Nutrients in the Garden, I’d like to take a moment to explain why I am so passionate about gardening. Through this series, I hope to “garden it forward” and share basic how-to knowledge so that you, too, can grow to enjoy gardening as much as I do. (more…)

Helping Communities Grow 2012-2013 Winners and Project Summaries

Friday, January 17th, 2014
  The Helping Communities Grow outreach program is administered by the Nutrients for Life Foundation and is offered to FFA chapters. The Helping Communities Grow award program encourages FFA members to teach others about the importance of fertilizer and the role that it plays in one of two categories:  1) providing a safe and nourishing food supply; or 2) keeping the Earth green. In 2013, seventy-four FFA chapters were awarded for creating hands-on innovative programs to educate and engage their community on plant nutrition, fertilizer, soil science and crop related agricultural issues and the positive and critical role they play in food production. The top three chapters in each state and in the At-Large category received monetary awards of $5,000, $3,000, and $1,000 for first, second and third place. All other participants were awarded $500. “I am so impressed with the quality of projects we received in our Helping Communities Grow FFA chapter recognition program,” said Nutrients for Life Foundation Executive Director Harriet Wegmeyer. “It gives us great honor to award these checks to such deserving students. Not only did they educate fellow students and their communities about the important value of fertilizer, they expanded their leadership ability, communication skills and knowledge base during the year-long projects.”     At-Large First Place: Plateau Valley FFA, Colorado The Plateau Valley FFA members conducted an experiment on lettuce by studying how different types and rates of fertilizers effect plant growth. As a result, they learned soil type and quality had a large influence on their ability to grow the lettuce. Their experiment was conducted on growing stands they constructed out of wood and PVC pipe.  FFA members reported that the most rewarding part of the project was serving lettuce to community members at their annual FFA banquet and knowing it was FFA…

Autumn Optimism

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013
Well, it’s the middle of October. How can that be? Time has a way of moving quickly and I find myself emotionally tied to the fall season. (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…)

Haley and Debra Go To Farm Progress Show!

Thursday, September 12th, 2013
With more than 500 exhibitors and 300 acres of field demonstration, Farm Progress Show is the place to be!  The show is the nation’s largest outdoor annual farm show and Nutrients for Life wouldn't miss it.  (more…)

Smithsonian Exhibit Satisfies Food History Craving

Friday, September 6th, 2013
From the time you step off the curb, you begin experiencing the Smithsonian through their expansive gardens. About 20 Master Gardeners of Northern Virginia recently took a “field trip” to the Smithsonian Museum of American History. (more…)

Teacher Spotlight: Leslie Meredith

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013
"Soil is a precious resource that I hope students learn to protect so future generations may also reap the benefits," said Leslie Meredith when asked why teaching soil science is important to her. (more…)