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! :)
I have run flexible black poly tubing to all the planting boxes including the rain gutters which were installed along the walls. A timer initiates a slow drip which in the gutters leads to a gentle cascade of water from high to low containers. With an adequate and consistent water supply these wall plantings should begin to thrive. Presently they contain seedlings. Everything in the garden is from seed and is still
maturing but by the time school starts in August the garden should be full of flowers and vegetables. Fingers crossed. :)
In May I started seeds of all sorts. With cold night temps they grew slowly but finally
things are kickin' into gear.
Dragon tongue beans, purple podded pole beans, Kentucky pole beans, cherokee wax beans and gold Marie yellow beans are set to flower so beans won't be far behind.
After an eventful afternoon with the honey bees, I set off to build a few strawberry beds out of some rocks from our little rock pile.
Here's where all the fun starts...strawberry beds.
Some of our strawberry plants have started fruiting. We are pretty happy to see them.
These strawberries are loving their new, spacious private quarters.
We've got all sorts of things starting in our strawberry containers. We hope to get most of these in the ground before school gets out for the summer.
It's not just strawberries and honey bees at Valle Crucis, though....we've got a couple other great things going on, too. For one, the thought of a real "green wall" is exciting for all of us. Another idea we hope to put to action is a garden mural on the side of the oil tank near the pre-k space. Wouldn't that be fun activity for all of us? Keep your eyes peeled for more updates soon to come!
Valle Crucis school is the latest Watauga county school to enroll in the Lettuce Learn project which was started by Courtney Baines Smith a teacher and doctoral candidate at ASU. Around the country there has been growing interest in finding alternative methods of teaching, inspiring, and energizing students by exposing them to hands on learning in an agricultural/ garden environment. It makes so much sense in this beautiful and rural county we live in where many farm children attend our schools and our farm history spans many generations. Science, history, literature, mathematics, and art all have great connections to gardening. Let's "dig' into it.
Presently the school has two incubator gardens and some great things are underway. I see peas, strawberries, lettuce, blueberries and much more eagerly springing up . I will be nurturing these garden through the summer and fall and will soon begin turning a plot of soil out behind the school which gets lot's of sun and begin sowing vegetables and flowers of all kinds. Teachers can you spread the word to your students? While school is drawing to a close I hope that maybe some students and/or parents and educators might like to be involved. Remember that fresh tasty food is a great motivator and fun and learning are a given. No obligation is necessary and I know the school year has been long and everyone needs a break but hope y'all will stop by a check things out.
Till the close of school I will be at the school most mornings in the secret garden and/or out back or helping out in the Pre -K garden. I have hundreds of plants germinating and growing for the school garden and hope to start planting before school ends. Fingers crossed that when school resumes in August the bounty will be coming in.
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