Posts Tagged ‘Gardening’

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…)

Getting Started in the Garden

Tuesday, May 17th, 2016
I finally got to my happy place, the garden! I have been dealing with a bit of garden guilt! The seed packets, transplants, fertilizer and hoe have been sitting at the garage door calling me to be planted and used. It felt great to dig, plant, and water. The garden is only half way planted but I am completely satisfied today! All three of my girls helped plant. We planted sweetcorn and potatoes for the oldest, sunflowers for the middle daughter and for the youngest, carrots and green beans. Over the years, they have their favorites. (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…

Fall Lawn and Garden Update

Tuesday, October 27th, 2015
Harvest here in Northwest Iowa will wrap up soon. Lush green fields have been replaced with brown stubble. I enjoy watching the combines roll over the fields and grain dust fill the air. I often pause and reflect that harvest, whether it in a field or a garden, is the result of hard work and yields food for all of us. Here are a few updates and tips for preparing your lawn and garden for spring. I am savoring these gorgeous fall days! Have you taken the time to rake up (I mean play in...) the leaves? Leaves provide organic matter to the soil. Mulching mowers break down the leaves and allow your yard to benefit from its organic matter. Leaves also can be added to the garden. As they breakdown they deposit organic matter into the soil. Fall is a great time to divide most perennials. Dividing in the fall gives plants time to set new roots before the summer heat. Before replanting, add compost to the soil. This will replenish nutrients that were lost and builds the soil fertility. I am ready to put the lawnmower away for winter. I complain about mowing, but I’ll be the first to admit, I love a green lush lawn. To ensure a green lawn next spring, I apply a winterizer fertilizer. Winter care for your lawn is a great habit to start and your local garden centers will have what you need. I have a few favorite perennials in the landscape. Each fall, I collect the seeds from my favorites and save the seed to spread in the spring. Daffodils and Tulips! I just don’t think I can ever plant too many. Our 4-H Clover Kids planted tulips and daffodils in the city park. We tucked the bulbs into the ground and said, “See you in…

Fall Lawn and Garden Checklist

Tuesday, September 1st, 2015
There is a worn path in the grass that leads from the garden to the kitchen. After months of hard work, I am met with the excitement of enough vegetables to preserve; green beans to can, sweet corn to freeze, and cucumbers to pickle... you get the idea! (more…)

Garden Calendar: August Tips

Wednesday, August 5th, 2015
It was a root and tuber kind of weekend; we pulled carrots and dug potatoes. The harvest makes me thankful for the hours of sweat I put into keeping the weeds out and the soil fertile. August finds me in the kitchen preserving produce from the garden. It makes for some long days but it is well worth it! (more…)

Garden Calendar: June Tips

Monday, June 1st, 2015
There is lots of gardening to do in June! The garden is growing and so are the weeds! Check out my garden help; don’t let the photo fool you. They were in the garden for less than fifteen minutes, but I’ll take what I can get. (more…)

Gardening Calendar: May Tips

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015
Lilacs, asparagus and rhubarb! They are spring traditions that bring fragrance and nutrition to our home. I have sprouts in the garden and flowers on my deck. Spring makes me happy; I hope that you are enjoying spring, too. (more…)

Gardening Calendar: April Tips

Monday, April 20th, 2015
The grass is green and the trees are budding! When you head outside here are a few things you can do around the house and garden. (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…

FFA Friday: Louisiana

Friday, October 10th, 2014
Ponchatoula FFA Takes First Place Award Honors, Central LaFourche FFA Wins Second, and St. Amante FFA Wins Third Place Happy FFA Friday! Louisiana had six participating chapters in the Helping Communities Grow Program this year. Congratulations to the top three chapters, Ponchatoula FFA, Central LaFourche FFA, and St. Amante FFA. Ponchatoula FFA won first place by creating and presenting exhibits for community events. The chapter presented fertilizer and planting demonstrations for strawberries to over 10,000 visitors at their town’s annual Strawberry Festival. The chapter also volunteered at a local organization for people with disabilities, helping them evaluate thefertilizer needs for the soil in their  raised bed gardens. Central LaFourche FFA won second place for their nutrient lessons for fourth and fifth grade students. The chapter split into teams of two and visited classrooms demonstrating the soil components, they discussed which nutrients are required to help plants grow, and raised awareness of coastal erosion. They used the Nutrients for Life curriculum to design experiments for the students, including a bean plant and soil layers experiment. The St. Amante FFA chapter won third place for developing hands-on workshops for elementary school students. The workshops focused on plant development, soil testing, planting vegetables, and how to apply fertilizer to gardens. They also taught the students how to track how fertilizer increases plant production. Congratulations to all the chapters that participated! The Nutrients for Life Foundation program in Louisiana is supported by the program’s founding sponsor, PotashCorp. FFA chapters, remember to complete step 1, by November 14, 2014, to participate in the 2014-2015 program! Details can be found at here.