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, August 23, 2020

KP 19/20


KS 19/20


KF 19/20


4G 19/20


Cecropia moth caterpillar


This caterpillar is about 5 weeks old.

In the beginning of August we discovered this extremely large, magnificently alien looking caterpillar in the garden. We had never seen one before so we got to researching. What we discovered is that the garden has become home to one of the largest silk moths in North America, the cecropia silk moth caterpillar.  The one pictured hatched anywhere from 4-6 weeks ago based on the size and coloring. Soon it will spin a sturdy chrysalis and begin its transformation. It will stay safe and snug in the cocoon until May or June of next year. When it emerges it will have a wing span of 5-7 inches. Adult cecropia moths do not eat at all their entire adult lives! They will mate, the female will lay eggs, and if they aren't eaten by predators, will die after two weeks. 

We will be updating pictures as changes occur in the garden. The ones shown below are to show the stages we didn't get to document, they are not from our garden.

Adult moths mating

eggs on underside of leaf

first caterpillar instar

adult moth

Friday, August 21, 2020

The Garden Goes Digital!

Welcome to the Virtual Garden!

We are excited to begin this virtual garden project so you as the visitor can get a detailed explanation of the garden happenings in real time. Our goal is to make the garden interactive so anyone can access and enjoy this diverse ecosystem we are growing. 

The information will be updated as the garden goes through all of it's cycles. We plan on including information on the habitats and ecosystems that thrive here as well as planting and growing information for all of the beds. 

Scan codes will be placed all around the garden. All you need to do is use your device to scan the code and click the link to have instant information.

Monday, March 16, 2020

 Jerusalem artichokes

Last year we decided to plant some Jerusalem Artichokes (also known as Sunchokes) in the garden.
They are a perennial root vegetable that are easy to grow. They are planted in early spring and can grow 6-12 feet tall with clusters of yellow flowers on the tops of the tall canes.

They will grow in just about any soil in full sun, and will produce large amounts of knobby tubers at the base of the plant that can be replanted or eaten. We plated 4 lbs last March and harvest about 80 lbs this week!

If replanting it is important to know that they can become invasive, especially if you don't remove all the small tubers, so be sure to plant them in an area that you don't mind having them regrow. If you want to remove all of them, then dig up in early summer when the tubers are small.

Plant them in late winter, early spring as soon as the soil can be worked. Before planting, cut tubers into one or two ounce pieces, with two or three prominent buds. Don't let the pieces dry out before planting. I store the tubers in buckets covered with garden soil until I am ready to plant them. I also left some in the ground over winter and dug them up this week to replant as they will stay preserved in the ground. We just harvested from the two beds in front of the chicken coop and replanted some back in for a new crop for this year. 

To plant, space 12" to 24" apart and bury 3" to 5" deep in the soil.

Jerusalem Artichokes are also a great food source. The tubers are sweet and can be eaten raw, baked or mashed. They taste like water chestnuts and can be used fresh in salads or cooked like potatoes. 

They contain a type of starch called Inulin, which converts fructose in the digestive tract (as opposed to glucose), and therefore is better tolerated by diabetics. It's low starch content also makes it a good choice for someone on a low-starch diet. Inulin can cause gas, so if you aren't used to eating them  introduce them slowly to your diet. 

Here is a good recipe we found for roasted sunchokes:

If anyone is interested in growing some in their garden or wants any to eat, we have a surplus and you are welcome to take some. There are about 10 lbs buried in the bed in front of the chicken coop.

They are covered by a few inches of soil, so use your hands to dig out and please cover up the others when finished so they don't dry out. They do dry out quickly so keep them in a cool place like a basement covered with soil, or in the refrigerator in a plastic bag in the vegetable drawer.

Rob & Cynthia