This week in Alice’s Garden we have been learning all about fertilizer – what it’s made of and why we use it. Students put their knowledge to practical use by checking how their seedlings and plants were doing in their ‘class bed’ and fertilized accordingly with appropriate amounts. We also learnt how you feed and fertilize AROUND the plant in order to catch the plant’s ‘drip line’ down to the roots. “It’s kinda like sprinkling sugar” was one description!
1,2,3… THROW those seed balls !
Students had a lot of fun throwing the dry, hard, seed balls they had made 2 weeks before in their garden lesson into the wildflower bed (near the cafeteria along Saint John’s Drive). We will look forward to seeing their beautiful butterfly and insect attracting blooms next spring!
We are trying to grow garlic in Alice’s Garden this year. The clove goes in the ground now and will not produce any foliage until next spring.. watch this space!
Can you dig it?!
Have your kids wear their Alice’s Garden T shirt for their lesson day out in the garden…
Third graders were excited to take home their very own cabbage plant (c/o Bonnie Plants) and container this week! Kids all over America are participating as this is a national competition. They have the opportunity to grow the plant at home, using all the skills they have learnt from their garden lessons at Armstrong – monitoring its growth and once fully grown – its weight. They can then submit a picture of their cabbage to their teacher who will then forward the ‘best cabbage in class’ to Bonnie’s Plants. The winning cabbage will then be selected in a random statewide drawing by Bonnie’s Plants for a $1000 scholarship towards education and statewide recognition.
All Armstrong classes have now paid one visit to Alice’s Garden where amongst other things, we have been busy planting lettuces, spinach and cauliflower, improving our soil and harvesting seeds to make seed balls from our wildflower beds. We loved seeing our new Alice’s Garden T-shirts out in the garden!
making seed pods
planting lettuce, spinach, cauliflower, broccoli & kale
Proudly wearing an Alice’s Garden T Shirt
Aloe Vera ‘Pups’ and working the compost
Propagating Aloe Vera
Can You Dig It?
Master Gardeners taught lessons on propagating Aloe Vera from ‘pups’ to 4th grade whilst others helped us work the compost pile which was full of self-seeded squash and the dredged nutsedge weed.
Butterfly Garden monitoring
Second graders had a blast counting countless monarch butterflies in our thriving, beautiful butterfly garden.
Shout out to Young Men’s Service League (YMSL)
Back in August a fabulous group of young men & their moms helped us clear up and prepare the garden for our new growing season. We pulled back our protective coverings from the raised vegetable beds and found under one of them this incredible carpet of weeds which caused a lot of fascination and curiosity. Thankfully it was easy to pull up. A big thank you from everyone at Alice’s Garden to the YMSL team for their help!
carpet of weeds
YMSL boys and their moms!
Finally.. a cute but not very welcome visitor ..
Yes, this little bunny decided to show up and check out what 3rd graders were doing in the garden .. we have a strong suspicion that he or she had been nibbling at our spinach plants.. watch this space for updates!
There is not a doubt that the highlight of fall gardening was the butterfly lesson. After many years of having a butterfly garden at Armstrong, but not many butterflies, we have added the host plants to the existing nectar plants to have the full spectrum of plants necessary to have caterpillars, chrysalis’, and ultimately, the butterflies emerging. The students learned about milkweed and how important it is not to touch it, as some are allergic to the oils in it.
Some of the students utilized our germination station indoors by planting seeds and growing them under lights, while some planted in the outside beds. The kindergartens planted herbs, while the first graders learned the story of the Three Sisters and planted corn, beans and squash. Planting seeds requires tedious attention as the seeds are very small. The students learned how deep to plant the seeds and they were so excited when they returned to the garden and saw the sprouts.
The second grader enjoyed the fun in planting their special cabbage plants as well as planting seeds. Third and fourth graders germinated radish and carrot seeds.
September 13th and 20th……We have replanted the garden this fall. We have taught square foot gardening and the students have learned how many plants they can plant in each defined area. The students have planted lettuce, cabbage, brussels sprouts, broccoli, and spinach. Adding new soil to the garden has been a learning experience for the students as well. They know the new soil will make their plants healthier as it adds new organic matter to the present soil.
We really appreciate all the volunteers who have been coming to the garden. We hope you all know how additive you are to making the garden work so well. Many thanks!!!
The last two weeks in the garden consisted of harvesting and enjoying the “vegetables of their labor”, so to say. The first graders harvested their onions while the second and fourth graders harvested their potatoes. The students at Armstrong harvested 134 pounds of potatoes in 126 square feet of land. We had so many potatoes that we could not consume them all on the last day in the garden, when we had the garden feast. Next year, we plan to make a donation of potatoes to a shelter.
Hope you all have a great summer, and happy gardening!