Thursday, July 28, 2011

A Perfect Day for Pumpkin Planting

This past Wednesday Vestal Summer School students planted pumpkins. It takes 100 days for pumpkin seeds to grow into mature pumpkin plants, so we are hoping to have a bumper crop of wonderfully orange pumpkins just in time for Halloween.
We also have a batch of pumpkins that we planted earlier in the summer that should be ready for harvest at the beginning of the school year in September.
Keep an eye out for vines in the garden pathways and the bright blossoms and pumpkins to follow!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Summer Gardening: Week 4

For our fourth and final week of summer gardening, students enjoyed art in the garden. Students were busy painting stepping stones and bird houses to help give the garden some unique Vestal personality. The bird houses also help to encourage more birds, insects and other critters to utilize the garden as their home. We were able to use plants from the garden as art supplies. Students learned about how plants can be used to make natural dyes. We collected brightly colored flowers and leaves and pounded them onto white cloth. The pigments from the plants stained the cloth, creating beautifully colored wash clothes.

During our snack time with OSU Nutrition Extension, students prepared an Asian Chicken Salad, using fresh lettuce from the garden and a variety of other vegetables including green onions, carrots, and cilantro.

Thanks to all who participated in summer gardening! Summer gardening at the Vestal Community Garden was a huge success and we are sad that the four weeks are up. Students learned about gardening, soil and compost, worms and insects, and art in the garden. They also harvested and tasted many new fresh vegetables and were able to take home bags of fresh veggies to share with family and friends. Now we are looking forward to the start of the school year in September, when all Vestal students will be back in the garden.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Summer Gardening: Week 3

For our third week of summer gardening, students learned about worms and insects. We went on a "bug hunt", looking for worms, insects and other critters that live in the garden. A few students found 15 different types of critters living in our garden. It's amazing to know that our bountiful garden that supports a variety of insects including beneficial pollinators, was once just asphalt. Students also learned about insect body parts and made their own insects out of construction paper.
For snack with OSU Nutrition Extension, students made Dragon Flies and Butterflies using celery sticks, peanut butter, pretzels and raisins.
In preparation for an art project next week, students collected and pressed flowers.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Summer Gardening: Week 2

For our second week of summer gardening, we focused on soil and compost. Students made their own "compost pile" in a cup, learning about decomposition and what ingredients are needed to make compost for the garden. We also learned about the different components of soil and how different plants grow best in different types of soil. With the warm weather, students helped to water the school garden beds everyday. It is quite a task to water 22 garden beds! While we were watering, students discovered they can create small rainbows if they lightly spray water toward the bright sun.
During our snack time with OSU Nutrition Extension, students prepared Personalized Pasta Salad, using broccoli and snap peas fresh from the garden. On the last day of Week 2, students took home a big bag of lettuce to share with their families.