The Garden at Oswegatchie School is a sustainable organic garden where children get a hands on experience learning where their food comes from while developing an appreciation and respect for nature. The Garden will be a learning center to teach gardening as well as incorporating art, music, literature, math and science. It is a place where children are encouraged to join in and participate in the process of creating, developing and maintaining the garden!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Planting Garlic

We had our first light frost the other night, so on a last minute decision we took advantage of this warm Sunday to get the garlic planted.

Garlic is best planted from September 15th to November 30th, with the optimal time being October after a light frost.

We planted a total of 60 bulbs which include a mix of organic German Extra Hardy, Pskem River and Music garlic which I purchased from Seed Savers Exchange.

We used the biointensive method of planting, which entails spacing the plants closer in a honeycomb pattern. Planting this way allows you to grow more in less space, and reduces the need to water and weed because the closeness of plants leaves shade the ground below.

After planting the garlic we covered the bed with a few inches of leaves to hold in moisture and protect the bulbs from freezing. Once we gather more leaves from the school grounds we will add more to the beds.We then covered the bed with mesh to deter the squirrels from digging up the bulbs.

Hopefully we will grow enough garlic to give away with enough left over to save for planting next season. To learn more about planting garlic, click the image below.

While working in the garden we noticed the salad greens and parsley still thriving despite being unprotected and being exposed to the frost.

We decided to harvest some of the greens, parsley and the remaining radishes.

 We harvested a total of 2 lbs of greens plus 2-3/4 lbs of radishes. There are still plenty of salad greens and parsley left in the garden so we need to get our hoops and row covers up very soon before it really gets cold!

Activity is low in the garden now that most of the beds have been cleared after the last summer harvest, but we saw several birds feeding on the seeds from the marigolds and a couple bees basking in the warm sun in the perennial garden.

Upcoming garden projects will include:

 Building the compost bins,
Covering the greens with hoops and row covers,
Collecting leaves from the grounds to cover the planted beds,
Institute a composting program in the cafeteria,
Layout the new beds for  next years planting,
and hopefully start on the new shed and fence if our grant comes through!


Saturday, October 12, 2013

Gorgeous Autumn Day 10/12/13

It seemed too nice to not be outside today so we decide to start amending the garden beds with leaves. It turns out not as many leaves have fallen as I thought so we didn't get many in the beds. 
From experience we have found leaves to be the best compost material for the vegetable beds. They attract the worms and other organisms that benefit the soil and they break down quickly. Usually by the time the soil is workable in the early spring, most of the leaves have turned into black gold.

  We gathered the leaves from the back of the school building. So far we have only added leaves to the back two tilled beds in the garden but plan on adding leaf mulch to all of the beds once we have enough leaves.

 The sky was brilliantly blue  and the wind was scattering the butterfly weed seeds. I was hoping to catch them in flight. There is something about floating seeds that makes me feel like a kid again.

More seeds blowing in the wind! There is going to be an abundance of butterfly weed growing in the area next year. Hopefully it will attract more butterflies.

Butterfly of unknown species taking a sip on the last of the flowers.

I was able to capture this little guy sipping the nectar of the last few flowers in the perennial bed. I love how you can see his proboscis (tongue) sticking out to take a drink.
We were also able to harvest another 1/2 pound of red and white radishes. The harvest totals for our fall/winter garden are starting to climb. Before long the kale will start to come in. I plan on having a cooking/tasting party for our Garden Club so they can get a hands on experience of harvesting and cooking something they may not have tried before.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Garden to Cafeteria 10/8/13

Dianne Houlihan accepting our produce donation

Well, after much anticipation our goal of growing food for the school cafeteria has come to fruition! This morning a handful of dedicated garden club members met us bright and early in the garden to harvest radishes and fresh greens to be served in the cafeteria. The taste tests in the field had mixed reviews. The children tasted the mesclun mix and curly leaf lettuces. "Mmmm, this" or " I don't like it, but I don't like any salad anyway." were my two favorite responses. Children need repeated exposure to new foods before developing a taste for it, especially if it's (gasp) healthy!

The children proudly donating wares from the garden
"That one's bigger than your thumb!"

Collecting the radishes

Snipping the curly leaf lettuce

Harvesting the mesclun mix
Weighing the greens

weighing the radishes
So today's harvest yield was 2 1/2 pounds of radishes and a little over 2 pounds of greens. We will start a new tally separate from the summer's harvest. We anticipate harvesting well into the winter with beets and kale still to come as well as continued harvests of lettuce.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Fall Cleanup 10/5/13

Today we cleaned out the pepper and tomato beds to get them ready for garlic. The organic garlic bulbs have come in, we are just waiting for the first light frost so we can get them planted. We cut down the corn stalks and are donating them to the OSO to use for their fall festival coming up soon. We also deadheaded the perennials in the butterfly garden and pulled out the leggy annuals. Within the next couple of weeks we will amend the beds with leaves from the school grounds. They will compost nicely over the winter and make the soil nutrient rich for spring plantings. The greens are ready for harvest and will be given to the cafeteria next week for use in salads.

This lettuce is very sweet. We enjoyed tasting it fresh this morning.

love, love, love

getting ready for the winter plantings