I discovered at the end of the spring garden, that Graham (my son who thinks Goldfish crackers are a food group) would eat fresh green bean leading to a very excited Mom (yes, I know they do not top the super foods list, but you have to start some where) and plans for a fall crop of beans.
So in our tomato planter we have planted a crop of pole beans (from a cute kit from our Mimi decorated as Jack’s Magic Beans) and in one of the smaller containers, some bush beans. Fingers crossed that the love of fresh green beans was not a fluke. We had a huge crop of spring tomatoes, but neither of the kids would eat them. Fortunately, our neighbor’s toddler devoured them (both when they were red and green) so I feel like maybe we helped spread a little bit of gardening love around.
In addition to the small home garden, we have also gotten our gardens growing at Glen Loch. This year we started some seeds of lettuce, kale and dill under grow lights (and much to my surprise the plants survived a week at school under the grow lights without any care when the school was closed for Hurricane Harvey – thank goodness for light timers and humidity trays) rather than starting all the seeds directly in the raised beds and I think the kids really enjoyed. The year kicked off with the fun of getting to plant seeds the first week of school and then on our official fall planting day everyone got to plant both seeds and at least one small plant in the outdoor gardens. Honestly, I think having an ‘instant’ garden rather than just a the bare soil full of seeds was exciting for both kids and the volunteers. Planting day was a long, hot day and it was very rewarding to be able to see the change in the space when we were done. Fortunately I remembered to soak in the beds before planting this time (oops – forgot to the do that in the spring) – so most of the plants survived the move despite the heat. We had our first lettuce harvest after 3 weeks (the picture to the right is of Abby making a salad from the lettuce and kale she harvested from her school plot).
With Graham in kindergarten and both kids at the same school (the only year they will be at the same school ever if we stay in our current location), I finally have a bit more time so that the garden does not feel quite as rushed this year. I love school gardens and I think every school should have one, but let me be the first to admit that creating a garden that allows for a large number of students to have hands-on experiences is a lot of work. Fortunately, we had an amazing group of volunteers help on planting days (it was 94 for our fall planting day – only true garden angels would have shown up).
I hope to post some additional pictures soon. Sorry that I don’t update this blog frequently, but life keeps me busy! If you want more regular updates, subscribe to our KidsGardening Growing Ideas Blog (I post there at least once a month) or to our Kids Garden News!