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!
I have gotten some very valuable feedback from the focus groups last week. This will be a long email as a result. First thing to address is that you are supported by me for your growing not only at school but at home as well. I add more content than just the weekly updates and will be adding content such as events, videos, and supportive articles all year long. The best way to get that content is to subscribe. Use the email that you would check and use the most, like your home email. You will get an email each time I post new stuff. The button is on the right side —-> if you are on a computer and at the bottom if you are using your phone.
First up a weather report to get us through the week for planning on our season extension:
We had lots of questions about when to harvest. Since everyone plants a different times it can be difficult to give advice without seeing the plants. Feel free to email me pics and I will help you with your harvest questions. Send them to email@example.com
There have been great suggestions from the focus groups on things you want to learn about, keep them coming! Like more Videos! I have lots to share:
The hydroponic industry in Ohio is a huge part of our agriculture industry. If you want to share a kid friendly video of hydroponic crops being grown at OSU as part of teaching then check out the video below from our Extension Today partnership with NBC4 filmed at Howlett Greenhouse:
The Extension Today playlist of kid safe videos about growing, harvesting, preparing and preserving fresh produce has a ton of content. While all of it is not specific to GTS, you may find it interesting. CLICK HERE FOR THE EXTENSION TODAY LIST OF OVER 50 VIDEOS. Lots of topics, less than 5 minutes long each.
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:
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. We have such a time window this week starting tomorrow. Plant a little patch of spinach and kale seed outside. While it may not work, the hope is we get some germination so the kiddos can harvest spinach and kale next week. Cover tightly with the row cover after to keep the soil warmed.
Inside under LED lights:
Some folks are just getting started with planting inside under the LED lights. I think that more planting under LED lights can be done, but only if you are able to take the plants home over Christmas break. If you have questions, please email me, and send me pics as well. Happy to assist.
At the focus groups we sent home some fertilizer to use for potted plants under the LED lights. I would use the fertilizer this week when you bottom water. There was a little bit of fertilizer in the seed starting soil, but it gets used up so we need to continue to feed the plants. Let me know if you have questions regarding fertilizer use. If you need some contact Katie. She will have some for the folks attending the last focus group that night.
Inside in the Aerogarden:
How did everyone’s hydroponic units do over break? Hopefully they came through fine and you have had a bunch of growth. If you are not able to take your Aerogarden home over break, then make sure to plan some time to clean it before you leave on December 20th so it is ready to plant tomatoes when you return after January 4th. We will want to plant tomatoes immediately on return from break to maximize our chances of a healthy harvest. If you need materials, contact Katie. Any questions about your growing come to me. My email is below. Aerogarden has great videos in the link below to assist in maintaining their systems.
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.
Any questions about your growing? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org