School Garden Week of January 30th, 2023

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!

For GTS participants, you should have gotten an email with a link to the December survey from Lauren.  Please respond if you have not yet done so.


First up a weather report to get us through the week for planning on our season extension:


Outside in the raised beds:

That weather report has cold temperatures all week.  I recommend that you leave the row covers alone and not try to get under to see the plants this week.  The snow cover is our friend,  providing a little more insulation and then watering the plants when it melts.  There is one day predicted to over 40 degrees but it will be so cold the night before and the night after that the row cover likely will be frozen and so I recommend waiting until next week when we warm up. I do not think you need plastic on top of the row cover right now although it is not a problem this week.  Next week we have warmer temperatures and rainfall predicted so you will need to make sure you remove the plastic on top of the row cover if that is what you have currently covering your raised beds.  You will only need row cover and that will allow the rain to water your plants.


Inside in the Aerogarden:

This month we are planting tomatoes in the Aerogarden.  If you planted herbs in the Aerogarden last semester you will need to clean out the unit before you plant your tomatoes so you can start fresh with a clean Aerogarden.  Follow the instructions for tomato planting carefully.  CLICK HERE for the Aerogarden planting guide. If you need tomato pods then contact Katie.

When you start your Aerogarden with the tomato pods you will place the little clear plastic cap over the pod until it germinates.  Remove the plastic cap once the tomato seedlings have germinated.  The cap is like the cover for the LED seed starting, it keeps the humidity correct for germination and then removed when the seeds sprout.  For the holes with no tomato pods in them, make sure to place the flat black or white caps over them to prevent light from entering in the system, which may cause algae to grow.  Email Katie if you need hole covers.

It may not look like it but my lights are only a few inches from the lights. As the plants get closer I will keep the lights about 1-2″ from the tops of the plants to make sure the tomatoes stay bushy and not get too tall. That is the guidance that is in the Aerogarden tomato guide. See the link below.


Aerogarden Tomato Guide  –> tomato_planting_guide

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. Make sure to check your water level every week one or two times and add as needed.  Add fertilizer when needed according to the directions.


Inside under LED lights:  Review the video below to make sure you are thinning your seedlings under the LED lights

This month’s seed starting under LED lights is lettuce.  If you did not get a chance to plant spinach or kale you can seed start them as well this month.  If you and your kiddos really liked the bok choy and you have the space under your lights and have some bok choy seed left then you can plant that as well.  If you do not have space to plant all of those,  and remember that we will be planting broccoli in pots in February (on pg. 3 on the GTS manual it states broccoli in March,  on pg. 30 it states we start broccoli in February – pg. 30 is correct,  we start broccoli in February and I will remind you all of that) so we need to plan on a little space for them.  Prioritize spinach and kale if you do not have any outside in the raised bed since the kiddos will be tasting them in the next two months. Email questions to me at


This lettuce seedling was planted 3 weeks ago, is growing under my LED lights at 15 hours per day. I thinned to one seedling per pot. I am fertilizing it by bottom watering every two weeks.

Do you need seeds or seed starter for your project?  Contact Katie.

We have been creating videos to support this project and have 4 done so far at our OSU Extension County YouTube channel.  Lots of questions about seed starting under the LED lights.  Check out the video below for a super quick, kid-safe (can show in class to your kiddos) seed starting video using the materials you have for the pilot:  The same technique as for kale in the video below works for spinach, kale, lettuce, and bok choy.  


Any questions about your growing?  Email me at

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