School Garden Week of February 13th, 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, keep an eye open for the January survey from Lauren.

First up is a grant opportunity for you to look at that might provide funding to create or expand your school garden.  Read the application over carefully!  There are a few metrics you need to meet to be eligible.  The application is due March 1st.    Whole Kids Foundation Grant.  


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


Outside in the raised beds:

So we finally have a little nice weather to pop open the row cover and see what we have growing.  Feel free to send me pics!   It is best to open the covers closer to the middle of the day when it is a little warmer, and then close the covers up tight after you view plants or take a harvest in order to build the heat back up under the cover to protect the plants.  You will need to make sure the row cover is in place Friday for sure as we get cold again this weekend.  Make sure you do not have plastic over your row cover if you were using that to provide extra protection as we will have needed rainfall for the plants and the rain will pass right through row cover, but not plastic.  If you have extra spinach and kale seeds and did not have a chance to plant last fall, you could direct sow some seed outside under the row cover this week as well.  That will give you a chance at a spring harvest to share with your kiddos.


The prediction models for the next three months are favorable for the school grower. Chance are for above normal precipitation and warm weather through April.

Inside in the Aerogarden:

Last month we planted tomatoes in the Aerogarden.   Follow the instructions for tomato planting carefully.  Make sure you are checking water levels and fertilize as needed.  Make sure you check water levels each Friday before you leave school so that the water level does not drop too low over the weekend.  CLICK HERE for the Aerogarden planting guide.


Tomatoes are growing fast in the Aerogarden right now. Make sure to check your water level and fertilize as needed to keep the plants healthy. Keep your lights about 1-2″ from the leaves to avoid leggy plants.  Remember If you started two plants in your Aerogardens, you will need to thin to only one plant or they will overwhelm the Aerogarden eventually.  Email me if you have questions about that.

Hey Tim!  What if I want to keep two tomato plants in my Aerogarden?  Just realize that you will need to water more frequently since two plants use water up twice as fast. Check the water everyday, and make sure to check and add water before you leave school on Friday. 

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 as well as for the planting technique for broccoli if you need a refresher.  

This month’s seed starting under LED lights is broccoli.  You start it the exact same way as you did the other seeds indoors.  Plant 2-3 seeds then thin to one per pot.  Review the seed starting video below. Let Katie know if you need more seeds or seed starter mix or fertilizer.


This is 5 week old lettuce. I can harvest outer leaves to eat or wait until it gets bigger and harvest the whole head. It can stay in this pot for another couple of weeks, but I need to water pretty frequently since it is getting big.  This is a good size to transplant outdoors.


The lettuce started last month is looking good.  You can harvest the larger leaves off the plant to taste with your students,  you can harvest the whole baby head of lettuce to taste with students, or you can let it grow a little bit longer.  Make sure you continue to fertilize every two weeks as they grow.  The bigger they get the more you will have to water. You could also transplant your lettuce outside under row cover in your raised bed.  See the paragraph below for hardening off.

If you have kale, spinach, or bok choy in the little pots and they have a few true leaves growing, you could potentially transplant them outside this week since we have a nice little period of warm weather.  They need hardened off, or acclimated to the colder weather a little bit before transplanting.  You could place the plants outdoors for a few hours each day and then plant on Thursday.  Friday make sure your row cover is covering your bed as we get cold.  You could potentially plant your lettuce plants outside under the row cover, but we do have some cold left this winter and lettuce is not as cold hardy as spinach, kale, and bok choy. Make sure to harden off your lettuce transplants before you plant them for at least 2-3 days.  If you need some space under your lights you may want to try planting a few out in the raised bed however.

This week timeframe for transplanting:

  • Tuesday – harden transplants outside for a few hours.
  • Wednesday – harden transplants outside for a few hours.
  • Thursday – Transplant outdoors – check out the transplanting video below.
  • Friday – make sure the row cover is covering the bed securely before you head home at the end of the day.


Any questions?  Feel free to email me at

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