This is a weekly look at what is happening in the school garden to assist teacher educators engage their students in agriculture. It can be used by garden students of all ages however!
First up a weather report to get us through the Thanksgiving holiday weekend:
Outside in the raised beds:
I have been getting questions about what can still be planted outside. We are likely done with planting in the raised beds. (See Below for a potential!) Many folks have stated that they did not get good germination. The warmer than normal weather made germination tricky unless the beds were watered daily until sprouting. The heavy rain we had the other day may cause some delayed germination under cover that we will find when we are able to pop off the covers. Make sure that when we get to the cold weather you do not uncover your beds on a cold day so that you do not shock your seedlings. It should be above 45 degrees minimum to pop the top and it is better done around the middle of the day so you can re-cover, and build heat back up for the overnight lows. I do not see many good chances in this weather forecast. Keep those beds covered tightly so they will maintain a beneficial microenvironment under them.
I know that some of you did not get a chance to plant outside due to many reasons. While it is unlikely we can plant, there may still be a chance. When you get your bed set up with soil added, but have no plants, place the row cover and plastic over the bed to keep the soil warm. I will be watching to see if we get a tiny planting window and will let you know. Right now the days after Thanksgiving break look to be close to 50 degrees so if the soil is warm, we may still plant.
Inside under LED lights:
I think that planting under LED lights can be done, but only if you are able to take the plants home over Christmas break. With the 9 day break coming up, if you have plants in your rooms under lights, the ideal situation would be to take them on a little field trip back to your house so you can keep an eye on them. If you cannot take plants home over the upcoming Thanksgiving break then I recommend that you bottom water them with one to two inches of water in the bottom most tray. Take them out of the top spacer tray, put them in the bottom tray with 1-2 inches of water. Leave them in the water in the bottom tray until you return from break. They will slowly take up the water over the break and hopefully if nothing goes wrong, they will be growing and much bigger when you return. Consider adding fertilizer to the water as well due to the long length of time away. And enjoy the holiday break!!
Inside in the Aerogarden:
With the long holiday break upcoming we are getting questions regarding how to maintain the systems. Ideally you would take them home with you. They travel very well. I place mine in a brownie pan or similar to catch any tiny spills then bring them back the same way. If you want to leave your units at the schools, I am not sure they can do OK with no water for the 9 day break from 11/19 to 11/27. I think they would need a mid-break check and water add. Make sure to add the fertilizer as needed as well. If you absolutely have to leave them alone for 9 days make sure to add the water to the line, have the caps secured over the open holes, and have the timer good. Add fertilizer if it will need added while you are gone.
The Aerogarden website has a tremendous amount of content to assist with maintenance of the units, troubleshooting problems, or how to take care of the plants in the system. CHECK IT OUT if you are having problems.
As always, if you have questions, feel free to email me at email@example.com