Saturday, July 28, 2007

First Turnips Harvested in July

July's last meeting of the Helping Hands 4-H Garden Club came in the same week as the county fair. Whew! These kids have been busy! The night before our garden meeting, it was our club's turn to work in the 4-H food booth helping to raise funds for the county 4-H program. Thanks to the 16 kids and 10 adults who turned out to help. Several of those same kids came in the next morning in time for gardening.

The tomatoes in bed 8 had blighted leaves, so one of the first tasks was to get busy pulling those leaves off. Mrs. W. reminded the kids, "Now, don't put those in the compost pile, they have a disease, so we will have to throw those away somewhere else".

Bed 5 still have large holes in the cabbage leaves. There was a spider present, but Mrs. W. said, "He's probably doing the garden good, it's a grub that's causing this problem". One idea suggested was a floating row cover which would allow sun in but keep the white butterfly from landing and laying her eggs on the plant. Alison said, "Hey, me and my friend like to catch those butterflies."

Bed 3 had some space, so kids replanted beans, swiss chard and radishes today. The lettuce planted last time is not doing very well. It's probably too hot for lettuce this time of year.

Mr. P. brought supplies to assemble the last 4 tomato cages and each of the students present took a turn with the hammer and drill helping to put the cages together.

Today's harvest included a huge turnip which Alison and her mother both had to pull together to get it out of the ground. Click the photo to see just how huge this turnip was. (yes, that's my camera strap in the photo, just ignore it, ok?) Thirteen turnips in all were harvested, we cut up one to try and everyone thought they were great. "I'm going to go buy lots of these, they're good!" said one of the girls.

Can you believe how much space these turnips took up in this bed? just look at how empty it looks now that the girls have harvested all of the turnips.

Mrs. A. from the food pantry surprised the children by coming to visit us this week in the garden. She came to collect two buckets of produce and gladly posed for a photo. "Turnips and peppers, that will make a lot of people happy."

One of the final tasks is to take some measurements and complete garden journals. Dylan has been watching the sunflowers grow in bed 3. Here's what he's found out so far:
      • June 29 more than a "hand" tall
      • July 27 26" tall (right) and 29" tall (left)
      • Aug 10 34" tall (right) & 38" tall (left)

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Happy Food Pantry manager says, "They look great!"

We delivered our radishes to the local Food Pantry manager. She is looking forward to additional donations from our garden and says, "Thanks kids, these radishes will be enjoyed by our clients."

Friday, July 13, 2007

First Donation for Food Pantry

Today there was a lot going on in our garden, but the highlight was collecting 15 radishes to be delivered to the food pantry. This will be our first donation from the school garden.

Our master gardeners, Mrs. W. & Ms. R. showed the kids how to thin the carrots and cover the shoulders of the carrots by mounding up the soil. They also showed us that a few of the tomato plants have developed yellow leaves. Kate, who is new to the garden project today, works carefully to collect the leaves in her growing discard pile. "Now kids, remember, when you have a disease on your plants like this, you shouldn't compost those leaves", advises Chris.
"What's a compost pile?" asks one of the boys.
"Next time Mr. P. is here, we'll have him tell you all about what's OK to put in a compost pile".

That's ok with the kids because there is journaling and weeding to do. Alison notices that her beets have grown a lot from last time. Dylan uses a ruler to measure the sunflowers in bed #2. The one on the right is about 15 inches and the other one is just over 13 inches. Alison, who was working on her journal nearby, said; "Hey, these are just the opposite." "This sunflower on the left is the biggest, it's 21 inches tall and the other one is only 1 foot tall."


  • Both cabbage plants in bed #1 are 14" across.
  • Our tomato mulch might be working too well. With the recent rains the tomato beds are still wet, so we made a note in the mailbox notebook to hold off on watering tomatoes for awhile.
  • There were several insects noticed in the garden today, including our first grasshopper. It was invited out of the garden.
  • The tomato plants are almost taller than the supports we made last time. Now what?
  • The morning glories are finally tall enough to start climbing the fence.
After weeding, thinning and harvesting, there are several empty spots. Kids gather to decide what to plant. Radishes are a popular favorite as are bush beans & lettuce. Everyone works together to get the new seeds planted and watered. Soon, our class is done for another week. Next time we'll watch to see if these new seeds have germinated and see if there is any more to harvest to share with the food pantry.