Planting Herbs and Writing Tunes at Scotland Rec

We collaborated with a group of young gardeners to start our first plants at our new inspiration garden at Scotland Recreation Center.  We are really excited about our new inspiration garden there, and we are off to a great start building a partnership with the staff and children at the recreation center. I want to thank Whole Foods and their Whole Kids Foundation for generously supporting this project with their Extend Learning Garden Grant.

We kicked off the season by planting six herb plants in two large containers.  It was fun to provide a hands-on activity to start the growing season with the children.IMG_1218

Our first step was to get to know the herb plants by smelling them and touching them.  I chose cold-hardy herbs that the deer avoid, including spearmint, peppermint, dill, lemon balm, lavender and oregano.

Next I had them fill the bottoms of the containers with rocks to help with drainage and to conserve soil.
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The children worked in groups of two to lift up bags of potting soil and pour them on top of the rocks.

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We added water before filling the pot to the top in order to create more evenly moist soil.  We topped off the pots, and it was time to plant.  Each pot received three different variety of herb seedlings.IMG_1243

They suggested we plant the seedlings in a triangle shape, and dug holes first where they thought each plant should live.IMG_1245We finished our gardening by watering of course, but before we watered we added the extra rocks to the top of the soil for aesthetics and as a mulch.   Rocks also hold heat, so they will help keep the soil warm during the cool month of April.IMG_1247 But the fun wasn’t over yet.  We had a nice jam session and made up a few songs about gardening.  The children took turns playing my dulcitar, which is my favorite instrument to bring to the garden because of its light weight and its twangy sound.  One of our Scotland gardeners wrote a short song about planting and pest management.  Listen here:

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The pots looked great and we moved them out to the garden, where they received a nice serenade.IMG_1257

Our next steps together will be to fill the beds and plan the layout of our summer vegetable garden.

Here’s to a spring full of growing together.

Best wishes,

Jake

Getting Started with Garden Composting

As our summer gardening finishes and we begin the transition to fall, now is a great time to start a garden composter to reuse your garden’s organic materials.   We are using a geobin composter at my school garden, which is a low maintenance, inexpensive composter designed for garden waste and a few other materials such as vegetable scraps, fruit peels, shredded cardboard, and coffee grounds.  If you use the geobin correctly, it produces no strong odor and does not attract pests, it will produce rich compost for your garden by the spring.  I definitely recommend it for a first attempt at composting if you have a small home garden.   

Not every weed or plant can go in the composter successfully.  This article gives a great overview of how to incorporate leaves in your composter and what plants to avoid.   A few quick tips from the article are to not put weeds that have gone to seed in the composter or plants that are diseased or insect infected.

Happy composting!