A nice way to say thank you to the teachers that have worked so hard to bring gardens into our School.
It would be great to have cold weather crops under production this fall and winter.
The secret garden is protected and likely gets some radiated heat from the building in the
cold months. How much sun infiltrates the space as the sun sits lower in the southern sky I have yet determine but think the upper portion of the north wall should get some . That should provide heat and reflected light that a green house could capitalize on. Broccoli, cabbage,
and lettuce might be possible to grow throughout the winter.
My thought is to build something like this in modular pieces so that the covering could be removed
in the summer. Hanging plants could be supported in the upper portion of the structure where they would catch winter light. Even in the summer the structure would provide vertical growing possibilities.
One of the gutters units could be enclosed as a germinating location in early spring.
Going to put numbers on one unit and my hunch is it would not cost that much if done right.
Inspired by the Man of La Mancha. :) Richard T. and Shannon C. suggested 60 degree angle for roof line so that's what it has.
This in ground garden I really kickin' it. Can't wait for those tomatoes.
Yup! I can't believe it. The past week has been spectacular ,comfortable sunny days hinting at the start of fall. I'm loving it and loving my new base of operations at the Valle Crucis School. The garden seems to be loving the weather as well.
Yesterday I spent the morning staking up the tomatoes and corn which
have grown a lot and are producing fruit. The path of the sun illuminates a smaller and smaller line in the secret garden but it's still hitting most of the plants. Would love to keep things going for as long as possible so I'm working on a possible greenhouse design to
enclose the raised beds and gutter planters. If I used plastic sheeting instead of polycarbonate it could be done on the cheap. I have thirty or so red cabbage seedling potted up and have 3 varieties of lettuce also germinating. There is not much room available for them now but
hopefully at harvest time the will be ready for a second round of planting.
I quote here . "The Secret Garden is a novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett. It was initially published in serial format starting in the autumn of 1910, and was first published in its entirety in 1911. It is now one of Burnett's most popular novels, and is considered to be a classic of English children's literature. Several stage and film adaptations have been produced."
Here at Valle Crucis we have a "Secret Garden" named for the book I assume, and what a great name as we try to encourage connections between " hands on" learning in the garden and course work in our schools. Mrs. Brown in the library could surely get a copy of this great book for any interested class or student. I love the movie and it has great insight into history when England's colonial empire spread across the globe. Apparently the tale has been done on stage. Does our school have any aspiring actors or actresses?
Back in the spring I decided to try to start doing a little art work and got busy on a few paintings. Over the summer I figured the entrance to the Secret Garden could use a little advertising and that's when I got the idea for the painting you see above. It's based on the book cover which I researched on line. I created a digital collage of images and then worked from this to create the enlarged painting. I believe students could do the same. Mural?
Still time for me to mess up this project. I hope not! Maybe it gets finished sometime soon. Keep looking and please enjoy the "Secret Garden"
Wow ! Busy Week! I'm working a full day at the school now and so things are changing a lot. Throughout the summer it was just me doing my thing, planting, tending, observing and maintaining , but the garden is there for the kids and the teachers and the staff and I'm in a position to promote it. Valle Crucis is a great school with a diverse group of kids and some amazing teachers and staff members and each day
I'm meeting more and more of them. Whenever I can, I suggest heading down to check out our "Secret Garden" The door has been unlocked and I have a preliminary sign on the door. We have some nice weather still ahead of us so I'm hoping to increase use and awareness of a really cool garden.
Met Sawyer, the aftercare director and I plan to do a afternoon of garden activities with any of his interested kids. Dropped of some nice potted tomatillos for Sarah Herman's Pre-k garden and we are hoping to get some fall lettuce going and some "fast track" red cabbage. The "Little Diggers" spot has some beautiful pumpkins, kale, tomatoes, cosmos, and jumbo sun flowers.
Sarah Bohn and Lindsey Postelwaite are the new AIG and art teacher respectively. Trying to work with them to do some fun projects. Can we get a mural done on the side of the oil tank? Keep you posted.
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.
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
P.O. Box 67 | 969 W King Street
Boone, NC 28607