I was honestly starting to worry that something was wrong with the milkweed in our little mobile pollinator garden. We have been searching for eggs and caterpillars since Spring Break and finally today we saw our first monarch flying around. Even better we found lots of little eggs hidden under the leaves. Best Easter Egg Hunt ever!
It has been a while since I updated this blog because life has been busy in so many different ways. I have been sharing most of our recent gardening adventures on our KidsGardening.org Growing Ideas Blog if you would like more regular updates please subscribe (or like us on Facebook or even better both!).
As a quick 2017 recap:
January – Grow Light Magic
With the help of a fundraiser at Chipotle as part of a special Slow Foods USA Garden Program our school was able to raise enough money to buy a set of grow lights. Our third grade classes started 7 different types of tomato plants from seed.
February – Tomatoes Everywhere!
Our tomato seedlings grew so much faster than I expected. We ended up with 180-ish plants. In late February we began hardening them off by moving them in and out for longer periods of time each day for two weeks before planting time (a much bigger job than I anticipated). We also prepped the soil by distributing 2 more yards of soil to beds that had settled over the fall and finished off the irrigation system.
March – Garden Planting
The week before Spring Break our 4th Grade Gardeners once again paired up to plant their small vegetable plots (click here if you want to download this spring’s planting chart) and the 3rd Graders planted tomato recipe themed garden. Each class planted the tomatoes they started from seed plus the herbs needed for a recipe. The recipe gardens include: Tomato Basil Soup (Abby’s class), Salsa, Pasta, Bruschetta, and a Pizza Garden. Obviously with 180 plants, there were a lot left over so every 3rd Grader got to take a plant home too. The week after Spring Break our pre-k class planted a wide assortment of sensory plants featuring bright colors and scented leaves.
April – Tomatoes on Steroids
Yep, our tomatoes have gone crazy! Fortunately we had invested in some very sturdy tomato cages from Gardener’s Supply Company or we would have a complete jungle right now. I guess the combination of full sun, good soil and a working drip irrigation system really helped. It is April 15th and our plants are already loaded down with little green fruits.
Unfortunately, Graham’s class does not have a plot at school this spring (the teachers all take turns and his class had a fall garden), so he has been helping me at home. We planted Abby’s tomato plant that she brought home from school in our fancy new container (Thanks Mom and John – this is part of what we got with your Christmas present!) which, although you may not be able to tell, is on wheels like our pollinator garden (another Gardener’s Supply Company find). Maybe this will be the year that I get him to eat a tomato without spitting it out! Fingers crossed!
It really has been a great garden season so far! The weather has been nice with pleasant temperatures and rain, but not too much rain. I will try to update again when harvest comes.