from the Valle Crucis garden
I spent time yesterday morning working in the secret garden planting some marigolds, doing a little weeding and fertilizing. To be honest I am unpleasantly surprised at the growth rate of the vegetables and flowers. Yes, everything was started from seed and went into the ground a little late but the garden gets good sun and has been well irrigated. By contrast the items I planted in the ground outside our home and those in the Little Diggers garden are growing so much faster. I only get 4 hours of sun on the garden at home and yet my corn and tomatoes and beans are more than double the size of what I planted in the secret garden. The most obvious difference is in the soil. I believe that miracle grow brand garden soil makes up most of the raised bed mixture in the school garden. It's a very barky mix that I know contains an osmocote type fertilizer which surely is long gone. There are conspicuously no earthworms to be found. When I jumped into the planting I assumed that the soil would be really good and it did not occur to me to have the soil tested but at this point I believe there are deficiencies . Trying to make adjustments as best I can. I have added epsom salts, fish emulsion , bone meal , some lime and just yesterday an organic mix with a higher count of potassium. Probably should consider a source for calcium as well. In hind sight I should have gotten on this earlier but figuring soil, growing your soil takes time. I remain hopeful.
Working on two growing locations. The secret garden is regrettably behind but coming along. The in ground garden is kickin' into gear. Blossoms on tomatoes, tassels on corn, some beautiful beans and my first zucchini.
This Saturday Lettuce Learn garden coordinators will be at gardens throughout the county helping out. I'm at the Mary Boyer Garden behind EarthFare at the Episcopal church. It's a fantastic little community farm providing food for the less fortunate and giving folks a place to garden. As part of our service we will provide activities for children while mom and dad check out the site. Going to do "leaf rubbings" which are very fun and cool. We'll pick leaves , identify them and work them into masterpieces to dazzle the most ardent of critics. Really,really!!! Hope to see some Valle Crucis families and teachers for this great showcase for the county's farmers. Events go all day. Check out http://farmtour.brwia.org/watauga-farms.html for ticket info and locations.
I'll bring the supplies which'll include crayons, water colors, paper, kid's scissors, glue stick and any other fun thing I can think of. Everyone goes home with some artwork and I'm ready to help y'all. Lots of great leaves to work with and I'll see to it we have a bunch. Did this little experiment with an oak leaf. I want to make a bunch more so let's do it together.
I was late starting beans but they're beginning to produce. A little creative photography here which is one thing students could explore using images from the garden. Tweaked this just a bit in an open source (free) program called GIMP. Technology and Art and the Garden mixed into tasty visual salad? Well...... you know what I mean.
What a fantastic morning!!!!!!! I showed up this morning (a bit late , ooops) at the Watauga county farmers market . I sort of knew there was a section for the kids but finally saw the inner workings. Sarah Herman , Valle Crucis T.A. in the Pre-K program has been working the market with students and parents on a regular basis. Her beautiful school garden provided all the delicious , nutritious offerings which were sold. What did the offerings include? Edible and gorgeous zucchini flowers, spaghetti squash, awesome heads of red and green leaf lettuce, cucumbers, verdant kale, dill plants, and decorative squash Yum. Yum. Yum!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I must not forget to mention (no names sorry) two young ladies and their mom who displayed awesome sales "panache" and litterally wowed the crowd selling out just about everything we had and raking in some big bucks. Off to the side was another young man fro VC marketing some vintage "Peter Pan" swords and sheilds and home produced honey. "SOLD OUT" Any students and parents from Valle Crucis are welcome to bring their wares. Every other week. Join the fun. Chat a bit with Sarah H.. She grows the stuff and will give you a recipe to knock your socks off. Lot's of gardening and great collateral learning going on over a VC. I ask myself. Why are we sooooooo! AWESOME! :)
Has been gardening for over 20 years and has her Master Gardeners certification. She is especially interested in propagating native plants and apple grafting. She is now the After School Program Coordinator and Garden Coordinator at Valle Crucis.
Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture Office
Lower Level 171 Grand Blvd
PO Box 67
Boone, NC 28608