Saturday, October 19, 2013

Fall fun in the garden!

Happy fall!

Two cheers for cooler weather!  Time for hot cocoa and even some long sleeves, surviving the Houston summer is always an accomplishment, for us and the plants!

Well I am pleased to report that the garden is doing wonderful, all the plants are enjoying the cooler weather, frequent rain and cooler soil.  Although the tomatoes are taking a bit longer to ripen because we have not had as much direct sun as they would like.

During my garden investigation yesterday I saw some some huge tomatoes, some round ones, small ones and oval or grape shaped ones, a few are starting to ripen but most are still a week or so away.  Good news!  Our green peppers are growing we counted four of them yesterday as well as the first green beans, both the sugar snaps we planted from seed and the transplants that the third graders started in the classroom.  The lettuce, cucumber and cauliflower will not be far behind!

We also saw some free spirited plants that decided to take root outside of the garden bed, a process that we can investigate further and learn just how they managed to travel and take root???

Also our herbs are doing phenomenal and we are in the process of drying a big batch to make a dry spice mix, maybe we can even use this as an idea to make gifts for sale???

I also met a nice family connected to Reynolds, the Father is in charge of running the Farmers Market at Grogans Mill in the Woodlands and the Mother is a Chef!  I am going to see how we can collaborate with them in the near future.  I will keep you updated on that adventure!

As always please let me know how we can make the garden most useful for your class, would there
be a time best for you?  Currently I am there Friday mornings, but if that is only convenient for the younger grades I am happy to work out a new time?  Please email me if you have any thoughts,

Enjoy the lovely weather!
Here is our first green pepper and below is evidence of a hungry guest!

Our oval shaped tomatoes, we had a good lesson about shapes with the Kinder-garden Class.

Our cauliflower is 7 inches tall, thanks to the 1st graders measurements!

Our lettuce is 9 inches, only 3 more till a foot!

All at different points of ripening.

A mama and baby fig leaf!

Can you see our new sugar snap bean growing, it is about to drop its flower.

Here is a bean from the third grade transplants!

We should see some cucumbers start growing soon!

Looks like a project on decomposition being conducted by the Science Club, we will have to ask them!!!???

A big tomato that was just too tempting not to pick!

Checking out the herb garden!

Smelling our basil that will be dried and made into a spice mix for pizza! 
Can you see the little lettuce that is growing on the outside of the bricks??

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Fall is here!

Hello garden fans!

Thank goodness for our lovely fall weather that has finally arrived.  Not only are we enjoying this cooler weather but the plants are as well.  Many of the plants we have growing will enjoy the cooler temperatures of the soil, but also the warm days that we will still have for a month or so.  As you can see in these pictures our tomatoes are doing great and we have a few varieties growing, I bet those big ones will be tasty!  We also planted some small cucumber, cauliflower and lettuce plants, and all of the bean transplants have been doing great as well!

Right now is a great time to look at the different colors in our environment as the leaves begin to change and the fall flowers bloom!

If you look closely you will see some small beans and flowers growing along the fence on the bean plants.

I will be in the garden tomorrow from 9:15 to 11 and I hope to see some of you there!

Beautiful croton, zinnia and vinca.

Time to make some herb rubs!

The cucumber plants are already sprouting new leaves!

The third grade bean plants are flowering and fruiting!

Beans and basil, yum!

These will be yummy soon!

Can you see the little ones in the back?

Our fig tree is growing quickly!

Beans, cucumber and lettuce.

Happy tomato plants!

Lovely colors!

Pretty enough to make you smile!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Rain rain don't go away!

The third grade bean plants!

Our bean plant from seed it doing well!

Can you see our new fig sprouts!

Tomatoes ready for picking!

These ones will be ready next!

The plants are huge!

These big ones will be a treat!

The peach tree and lantana are looking peachy!!

Our vinca and croton are loving this weather!

I already had to pick some of our basil before it flowered!

Our first tomato harvest!
Hello garden friends!

Sorry I did not keep you updated last week, I was a bit under the weather!  Even though it is a bit cloudy and rainy outside our garden is loving all this rain and cooler temperatures.

The fun fact of the week that I learned as I was listening to a story about Monarch butterflies on the radio, is that they like to eat poisonous plants!  This way the butterfly eats the poison and when a predator like a bird tries to eat it, they stop because they do not like the taste, if a bird eats a butterfly it could possibly die from all the poison the butterfly carries inside its body!  you can find more information about butterflies at this website.

Today was a great day for harvesting tomatoes, I picked about 7 of them and there are many more to come as you can see in the pictures.  Also one of our third grade classes went out and planted their young bean plants which are looking very happy in their new home.  Unfortunately it looks like our seed plantings have not done that well, perhaps the seed was not very good and they have also been eaten by some garden critters.  Since our transplanted baby plants seem to be thriving I am going to be in the garden this Friday to plant some cucumbers, broccoli, lettuce and other fall vegetable plants.

With cooler temperatures on the way we can start planning how to build a "cold frame" to protect our plants from a possible frost, this will be a great math and science project!

Teachers, below you can see sample ideas for using the garden as part of your lesson plan and as we get the garden more developed I can work with teachers on formulating specific curriculum.  If anyone would like to contact me I would be happy to talk over how I can help make the garden part of your classroom.

I will be in the garden this Friday at 9:15 to 11, I hope to see you there!  Please email me if you have any questions!

EnglishReading & writing seasonal stories and poems
Making a gardening scrap book
Producing a school garden newsletter
MathematicsCounting seeds, plants, flowers per plant etc
Using fractions & percentages i.e. Number of seeds that germinate
Measuring plant heights
Collecting rainfall measurements
ScienceInvestigating what plants need in order to grow
Observing the life cycle of a plant
Watching and recording changes in the garden through the seasons
Creating habitats for wildlife and watching the results
Making weather observations through the seasons
GeographyStudying the water cycle
Making scale drawings and maps of the garden
Information & Communication TechnologyInputting data into the computer to produce graphs and charts
Investigating topics on the internet
Uploading gardening news onto the schools website
PSHE & CitizenshipCarry out sustainable activities i.e. rainwater collection, composting, recycling
Develop community involvement in the gardening activity
Carry out activities in teams with individuals having specific roles
Food TechnologyHarvesting food and learning how to cook it
Discovering which foods can be eaten raw - peas from the pod etc
Art & DesignMaking collages using natural materials
Taking inspiration from the outdoors for drawing & painting projects
Creating posters to publicise the garden for fundraising
Photographing the gardening year 
Physical EducationGetting exercise in the great outdoors
Learning about fruit and vegetables and healthy eating
HistoryStudy of plants and their uses historically for eating, medicine, making dyes etc
Studies of gardening through history, i.e. dig for victory campaign