Rain stops play
It was a slow start out in Alice’s Garden this spring as Dallas recorded its third wettest February since records began, 120 years ago. We missed a whole month of garden which delayed our plantings for the new season. Master Gardeners and Armstrong Eagles have worked SO hard to catch up and now we are back in business!
We had a LOT of fun harvesting, washing and eating freshly pulled carrots and radishes which had survived over the winter. “Oh wow! I can see better already” said one enthusiastic carrot munching first grader – “they taste SO good”
We also cleared the beds of the broccoli and cabbages that hadn’t made it through the very cold snaps.
Every year the Master Gardeners teach an excellent lesson on propagating our own plants – creating new baby plants from a bigger, mother plant, which the kids always find fascinating. Ms. Pierce sent me this super picture of the Aloe Vera plant 4th grade propagated last Fall and have been nurturing ever since on a sunny windowsill in their classroom. As you can see they have been doing a wonderful job!
Planting out potatoes, tomatoes, peas, lettuce, strawberries and planting sunflower seeds
Over the course of various Tuesdays in March, Armstrong Eagles were very busy planting seed potatoes, various seeds (lettuce, carrots, radish, peas) and transplants (strawberries, tomatoes and some melons). We also planted 5 different varieties of sunflower seeds in the flowerbeds along the wall on St. John’s Drive, below the cafeteria. Each grade planted a different variety and color so by late spring/ early summer we should have a splendid display! We plan to harvest the sunflower heads in the Fall and save the seeds for next spring, reinforcing life cycle lessons.
KIDS LOVE COMPOSTING!!!
I have to tell you that every time we get out in the garden, these kids LOVE to work the compost pile. Digging, turning the earth over, mining for ‘black gold’ to help our plants grow by adding pure organic matter to help amend our heavy, black clay soil.
“Bug Ladies” are a huge creepy, crawly hit
For the second year running, we have been exceptionally fortunate to have Master Naturalists Judy Meagher and Elaine Ackley come spend the day at Armstrong to lead sessions on insects and to educate us all on just how beneficial insects can be to a garden and to our wider ecosystem as a whole. The kids absolutely love this experience though some draw the line at stroking a cockroach!
Following on from our “Bug Lady” visit, children released lots of ladybugs into the raised vegetable beds to encourage them to eat any unwanted aphid visitors who might be damaging our crops.