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Saturday, September 15, 2012

How does a school garden survive over the summer?

That's a great question! Each school garden--or anyone's garden for that matter--has a unique way of keeping itself going. At McKinley, we have a small, dedicated group that volunteers to water and maintain the garden over the summer. These volunteers get to eat a lot of great produce, and we've had enough to donate some in the past as well. Our garden and farm to school program would not be what it is without the energy and passion our volunteers put in. 

Did I mention it's a small group? This is our 3rd year (maybe 4th?) since starting a farm to school program and we are looking for new families to come join us and sustain the incredible program has started at McKinley. 

Come to our next meeting!
 Tuesday, Sept. 18 (in the library) at 2:00 pm
 find out how you can participate. 

Here are a few highlights 
of what's happening "on the ground."
Pumpkins!! We have a whole lotta pumpkins. 

and Sunflowers. Have you ever really gotten a birds-eye view of a sunflower? Well it looks like a lot of really delicious sunflower seeds, like this one here. If you go to the garden, you will hear the crows and blue jays fighting it out over the seed heads. They are both VERY loud. 

Ahhh...tomatoes. One of the best things about summer is fresh tomatoes. There are so many varieties in the garden this year. And the Pick of the Month for September is Tomatoes! So try some green zebras, yellow pears, purple cherries, and BIG RED heirlooms. Delicious!!

During the July garden potluck, we tried some square foot gardening. We sectioned off one bed and planted different seeds in each square. With this type of planting, you are planting a variety of plants densely. That will discourage weeds and give you lots of food in a small space. Efficient, no? I wish I had a "before" picture. You can see some cucumber climbing over the edge, with beans in the background, and cabbage to the right. Then if you could see more, you would see some tiny little parsnips, radishes, purple cauliflower (purple!), and tomato. In case you are wondering (which I'm sure you curious gardeners are), parsnips are very persnickity. They don't germinate well, and you are lucky to get a few plants from a pack of seeds. The seed packet even says so! So it will be very interesting to see how our few plants thrive the next month or so. That's quite a lot in one bed. Here's hoping for a late frost so we get cucumbers and beans, and not too many cabbage worms.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Why garden education is important

I bet a lot of you are parents that realize the importance of a well-rounded education. And you try and feed your kids healthy food most of the time. And gardening is a great outdoor activity and learning opportunity. And it's important to understand the connection between the food we eat, where it comes from, and who grows or makes it. But does garden education really have an impact? Here are some resources and research that says, "Yes! This makes a difference!" Check it out here.