Monday, December 10, 2012

Winter Decorations for Outdoors

Here's a simple outdoor winter decoration -  a fresh spray of evergreen branches scaled to fit the area (a door, a tree, a mailbox, a street sign post, a gate...)  With proper supervision children can make these. They can be brought home for a spot outside, or sold for fundraising purposes, or given as a gift to a teacher, a bus driver, etc.

  • cut lots of branches from various evergreens- hollies, firs, pines...
  • cluster 5 or 6 or more branches together to make a spray
  • secure with a rubber band temporarily
  • wrap securely with a double strand of thin green wire 
  • twist the wire to create a small loop in order to attach the spray to a nail or picture hook
  • attach a prepared bow or make a bow,  add pine cones or other decoration
  • shake it to be sure everything holds together
  • trim or adjust the top edges of the branches so they are straight across
  • deliver with a smile

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

How to Plant Garlic - NOW!

Just before you finish up with the garden, you can still plant garlic - as long as the ground is workable.

Start with a nice, fat, organic bulb.

Break into cloves.

Prepare soil: loose and crumbly in a bed.

Drop cloves about 6" deep into holes. Tip points up - just like flower bulbs.

Pat into place, add salt hay if you wish, and wait 'til springtime. Garlic will be ready for harvest in late June.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Seed Starter Options

Thanks to talented fellow MG, Annelise McCay, (inspiration behind the 17 school gardens in Fairfield,CT) for her quick recipe for seed starter mix. It's light  and easy to put together: fine vermiculite, some sphagnum moss for nutrition, and powdered cinnamon to discourage pests. Gather some egg cartons, cut into cups,  or, make your own seed pots with newspaper. Fill with the planting medium. See seed packet instructions. Poke a seed, or several, into the "pot", water gently from a spray bottle, sit on a dish in a sunny window or under grow lights. When the seedlings have a pair of leaves, they are ready to greet the earth. Just pop into the prepared garden soil. No need to remove from the little pot. It will decompose and the tender roots  will stay undisturbed and will thrive.  This can be done in classrooms now for the fun of sprouting seeds. Lettuce seedlings, for example,  could be harvested for "micro-greens" within a few weeks. Otherwise, the idea can wait until spring.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Can I Start a Garden Now? Absolutely, NOW Is Always the Best Time.

There's always a way to get a garden started "now". Right now the catalogs and garden suppliers are having sales, so you can get your materials at a reduced rate. You can take advantage of the late seasonal sales of seeds, planters, bagged soil and amendments.. Once you decide on the site with at least 6 hours of sunshine,  and plan the layout, you can  build/buy the raised bed(s) or do "container gardening" as a start. You can plan the protection from local wildlife aka fencing...., and add the soil. All you need to do is read the seed packets carefully, follow the directions, water as directed and wait, patiently. If you are impatient, you can start with small plants like tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, herbs...Plant what you like to eat. Start small. But do start. It's such fun! And the results are magical! Look! Potatoes, red ones, under the soil, more and more..."pommes de terre".

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Ideas by the Dozen

Egg-cellent idea from friend, Suki. What could be cuter than seeing little seedlings emerge from egg shells all ready to pop into the earth, nourished by the decomposing shell as the tiny roots work their  way into the soil. Try it. It'll crack you up! Not really, but the seedlings will thrive. Neat, tidy storage until planting time. Easy for children to handle. And total recycling back to the earth.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Lettuce Challenge Entries

Lettuce Challenge - 78 entries from 53 classes or clubs in 19 different schools - K-12.

The variety of sizes and shapes and color from the same buttercrunch lettuce plugs speaks to the differences in care and in conditions: amount of water, misting or direct pour, compactness of soil, degree of light exposure, closeness of light source to plant, grow lights vs sunny windows, temperature in rooms, daily tending  or weekly.... Much to take away from this experience. The objective is to produce the best-formed head of lettuce in 6 weeks. Bottom line: we must share "best practices" so that the quality of the product improves while the process remains fun and exciting. The starter lettuce plugs are about 3/4 inch tall in 1/2 inch thimble-like plastic containers. The end product is in a 4" in diameter pot and ranges from 3" to 10" tall,  with 2" to 8" spread. The judges look for compact growth and healthy green leaves forming into a head. However, all will end up in the school vegetable gardens to continue growing until they are salad-ready. They're not finished yet. YUM!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

One Dedicated Student = One Wonderful Garden

What a thrill! For a bit of inspiration on what one dedicated student can do on her own, go to  Kelly is her high school's GIVE coordinator and is a weekly volunteer at her former middle school garden as well.  She's a role model for the younger students who love working with her.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Lettuce Challenge Underway in Stamford,CT Schools

I love it when the good stuff makes the front page of the local newspaper. Today's article about Springdale School highlights the Stamford Garden Club's "challenge" to participating GIVE schools. For the scoop see:

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Potatoes - in February!

I'm so excited. I decided to work outside a bit today and was turning over a bed when, OMG, there were potatoes. Yes, I had planted them back in August and then ignored them thru the winter. Well, I guess they were growing all mild winter. The ground apparently didn't freeze. YUM!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Thoughtful Planning Pays Off for School Gardens

I just love it when a friend sends along an article at just the right time. Thanks, Marie.
Here's a snapshot of what to do and when by Master Gardener, Laurie M.Lago Rispoli. Her clear, concise advice on starting a school garden hits  all the high points.
Let's get growing!
Thoughtful Planning Pays Off for School Gardens