School Garden Week of May 1st, 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!

CCS GTS Teachers!  Make sure you are checking your inbox for emails from Lauren about the focus groups. 

Let’s check out the forecast.

Outside in the raised beds:

We have some cold nights this week,  make sure your row cover is covering your raised beds before you go home each day.  We are generally getting good rain but it can be hit or miss depending on where your garden is located.  Make sure check your beds this week to see if they are dry or if the rain provided enough water for them.  We have great harvest windows toward the last half of the week. 

Make sure that you let the beds warm up before you pop the top.  The best time will be around mid-day to early afternoon.  Then re-cover the beds before you leave for the day because we have some cold nights. 

We are pretty much done with the need to use plastic but do not throw it away.  Let it dry out and then fold it up and store it so that you can use it next year. Keep using your row cover.  If you uncover your beds during the day,  place the cover back over the beds before you leave.  It will help with the temperature as well as protect your crops from nuisance wildlife. I have gotten some reports about bunnies eating the crops.

If you are using the pink crystal fertilizer (not the Aerogarden fertilizer) then make sure that you fertilize your outside plants every two weeks mixed in water according to the label.  Contact Katie if you need more fertilizer.

If you have some Shake and Feed or Nature’s Care from prior years that would be a good choice. I had pictures of them in last weeks post for reference. With there only being a month left in the school year, you would only need to apply either Shake and Feed or Nature’s Care once.

Here is a picture shared by Eastmoor.  They have some mushroom growth in the raised bed, which is not unusual this time of year.  Some mushrooms can be poisonous so make sure if you encounter mushroom growth in your beds you take the time to address this with your students as it is a great learning opportunity.

Inside in the Aerogarden:

Hopefully you are getting a harvest!  I had some delicious pizza made for me last week during a school visit.

Tomatoes are growing 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.

Keep your lights about 1-2″ from the leaves to avoid leggy plants.  Remember If you started two plants in your Aerogardens, you might need to thin to only one plant or they will overwhelm the Aerogarden eventually. You will need to start pollinating your tomato flowers once they appear.  Check the Aerogarden site for guidance on pollinating.  You will also need to do some pruning of your tomato plants to keep them growing correctly.

All of that is detailed very well in the Aerogarden Tomato Guide  –> tomato_planting_guide


Inside under LED lights.  

Does anyone have any plants under the LED lights indoors?   Make sure you continue to fertilize every two weeks as they grow.  The bigger they get the more you will have to water.

I got a question about transplanting basil from the Aerogarden to the outside raised bed.  Basil is very cold intolerant and would likely not survive, even under row cover. You could plant it in a pot and keep it under the LED lights with occasional trips outdoors.

If you have plants under LED lights then there are some good days for transplanting this week.

This week in transplanting:

  • Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday: Too chilly and windy.
  • Thursday, Friday:  Good days to plant outdoors under row cover,  Replace the row cover over the beds when you are done. Great days to check plants and to harvest.
  • Be sure to re-cover your beds after you transplant.
  • Use only row cover and not the extra plastic layer so that the plants get watered when it rains.
  • If you are done with plants under the lights then clean all your materials (warm soapy water, dish soap is fine) and pack them up very carefully, including the cords, timers, etc… and label the box with your name, so that they will be ready for you next year.

Check out the transplanting video below to help with the process:

2 thoughts on “School Garden Week of May 1st, 2023

  1. Hi Tim! Question: I started seeds indoors but want to start hardening them off. What should the overnight temps be in order to leave them outside overnight? In the mid 60s? The plants are peppers, tomatoes, coleus, & herbs.

    • Karen,

      I would say at least 50 degrees overnight is preferable, over 60 is better, but that is only air temps at the coldest and not the most important input to monitor. , You also need to watch soil temperatures before starting the process. We are nowhere near where tomatoes and peppers soil temperature range is. We are nearly 20 degrees too cold. When we get close I like at least 5 days to harden if possible.

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