We had a great first day of “Garden Club” this afternoon. Sixteen students from grades 3 to 6 explored and harvested vegetables, herbs, flowers, and seeds today. Many exclamations of joyful surprise were heard as they discovered red tomatoes here and there, several tiny watermelons, a large pumpkin (the largest we’ve ever grown at Blue Ball — with a circumference of 33 inches!), and a mountain of beans. We also harvested basil and collected lettuce seeds. We picked green beans to take home and eat, as well as lima beans that dried on the vine. We saved the seeds to plant next season and added the shells to the compost tumbler.
There are several large green tomatoes, tiny hot peppers, and ears of corn drying on the stalks that we hope to harvest over the next weeks leading into fall.
August 14, 2019
Whew…we managed to get our garden work in before the rain returned. We had excellent garden helpers today! We were able to spend all of our time observing and harvesting — way more fun than pulling weeds!
We picked tomatoes, beans, and some basil. There were 30 perfect tomatoes, 12 that were split, and 2 were still green. We picked a HUGE pile of beans. Students predicted that there were 100, 126, or 150 beans. Then we counted them into piles of 20. It turned out that there were 444 green beans!! Check out the photos below…it looks like Jack planted his beanstalk in Blue Ball’s garden!
There are lima beans growing that aren’t quite ready yet, 4 watermelon, 12 pumpkins, and at least 25 ears of popcorn. We found 9 or more swallowtail caterpillars of various sizes/ages on the dill plants.
Claire noted that “the (pumpkin) leaves are really sticky and kind of pointy and a little itchy. When you reach for them they are kind of itchy.”
Franklin found that bean leaves have little fuzzies on the one side that make them act like velcro and they stick to our clothes.
Thank you to all who participated in Garden Wednesdays! Be sure to take a look when you come to Back-To-School Night in a few weeks.
July 31, 2019
What a great morning! It wasn’t too hot yet, and there were not nearly as many weeds to pull. Hooray!! We had 2 students, 1 parent, 2 teachers, and 1 grandchild helping in the garden today.
There was much more measuring and observing today. The tallest cornstalk is 2 yards tall. The ripe tomatoes had circumferences of 4 inches, 5 inches, and 3 1/2 inches. There were 16 ripe tomatoes today and 50 that were not yet ripe.
We harvested MANY clusters of dill seed today. We found several caterpillars of black swallowtail butterflies. Beets planted last time have sprouted. We decided to let the lettuce go to seed. Beans and lima beans are growing but not yet ready to pick, with LOTS of additional flowers on the vines. Several cornstalks have ears of corn growing with pink silk. The patch of wildflowers has many varieties in bloom right now.
We watered the milkweed growing in a pot, and the beets that are sprouting. We also tried to reroute the pumpkin vine from around the dill plant toward the middle of the garden to help keep weeds from regrowing in the empty area. We even found some baby watermelon growing. Thank you all for your help today!!
July 17, 2019
What a hot morning! We had 2 student gardeners, 1 adult cousin, and 2 teachers working hard today. There were so many weeds!! Our helpers did a FABULOUS job getting rid of all of the tall, grassy weeds in the middle of the garden. We could easily see how weeds took over where nothing was planted.
The dill plant is taller than us!! There are some green tomatoes starting, we found an enormous radish, a handful of green beans, and lettuce that had turned bitter. There are some basil plants that did come up and will be tasty with the tomatoes in a couple weeks. Many of the wildflowers bloomed, and a few milkweed seeds did sprout in our big pot. The beans are doing a great job of climbing up our corn stalks, and there are flowers on the watermelon and squash vines. After the weeds were cleared, we planted some rows of carrots and beets.
This morning we had 2 student gardeners, 1 mom, and 2 teachers working on pulling weeds in our garden. The weeds were very wet and slippery with mud this morning. We found several cornstalks — some with beans sprouting next to them, a row of lima beans, a couple watermelon sprouts, some flowers on tomato plants, and dill almost as tall as our students! We planted some pumpkin seeds, hoping they will sprout and spread to block weeds later in the season. Our helpers were able to harvest some dill to take home.
We hope that next time there might be fewer weeds and more time to observe and measure.
This was another wet, cool spring that limited our time in the garden. Students did design and test some “greenhouse” designs. We eventually planted mounds of corn, some marigold seeds, lettuce, carrots, lima beans, watermelon, and cantalope seeds. On Tues. June 4, we looked for corn that sprouted so we could plant beans in the same mounds. We still need to plant some pumpkin seeds. We were excited to see lots of dill and several tomato plants sprout on their own from seeds that dropped last fall.
We have 4 garden helpers signed up to help with the garden over the summer. We look forward to seeing what happens over the next couple of weeks.
Aug. 15, 2018
Today was our final Garden Wednesday for this summer. We had 7 amazing garden student-helpers and a team of third grade teachers. Thank you so much, parents for bringing your students to school in the summer, and students for being willing to do some fun work outside, and fellow teachers for helping to make it happen.
Today we harvested, measured, and observed many things. We found the mysterious eggs from last time have hatched into small squash bugs that are eating the pumpkin leaves. We got rid of the rest of the eggs that we could see, and poured a soapy water solution on the rest to try to deter them.
Most of the corn stalks are 1 to 2 yards tall. some tomatoes were 4 inches around. We found 20 ears of corn that we will pick in the fall. We harvested 5 orange pumpkins today. They were about 19 inches around. We harvested 3 carrots that were less then 2 inches long, 2 more beets, and 9 green beans. We also took home more dill, and deadheaded the marigold plants. We’ve never seen such large marigold plants! We also cleaned up our weed pile mess, and found it had composted itself into usable soil. We moved that back into the garden box and emptied the compost tumbler.
Aug. 1 Addendum
Mrs. Noyes researched what type of insect eggs we found…it appears they are squash bugs (stink bugs). We should have removed them! Hopefully the rainstorm overnight washed them away.
Also, one of our gardeners put the dill we harvested to good use.
Aug. 1, 2018
The weather cooperated and we had 4 student and 2 adult gardeners today. Fortunately, there were fewer weeds, and we spent more time observing, harvesting, and measuring. We observed bean plants climbing up corn stalks. We discovered marigold seeds inside the dead marigold flowers. We discovered tiny red eggs on one pumpkin leaf and newly hatched bugs on another. We’re not sure what they are. We harvested 2 beets…one was 23 cm around! We also harvested 34 carrots, some parsley, and some dill. The smell of the dill reminded us of dill pickles. 🙂 The carrots were all different sizes and shapes. Some were twisted around each other. Here are the measurements of the lengths of the carrots: 20cm, 6cm, 13cm, 16cm, 15cm, 16cm, 12cm, 7cm, 3cm, 10cm, 5cm, 11cm, 8cm, 10cm, 7cm, 9cm, 8 1/2 cm, 7cm, 8cm, 7cm, 8cm, 5cm, 6cm, 9cm, 6cm, 6cm, 6cm, 6cm, 5cm, 2cm, 5cm,2cm. anyone want to make a line plot of this data for next time? Be sure to check out the photos below.
July 31, 2018
We had an eager gardener who wanted to work today. Thank you Mrs. Mergenthaler for facilitating this. Thank you both for pulling weeds, turning the compost, and making observations! Here is what they observed, hypothesized, and concluded:
We saw 6 pumpkins. One measured 21 inches around. We saw 8 carrots and 27 green tomatoes. The corn is 75 inches tall. Next time we might see more carrots, more pumpkins, the pumpkins might be more orange, and the tomatoes maybe will turn orange. “Next year try to keep not as many pumpkins in the garden because there will be more corn, carrots, and tomatoes that could grow then instead of a lot of squash or pumpkins.”
July 11, 2018
What great helpers we had today…4 teachers and 4 students. We pulled LOTS of weeds again, as you can see from the photos below. We pulled out the radish plants and students took home the seed pods to try — they are edible. I’ll be curious what you thought of them. They also took home some lettuce today. Our tallest cornstalk is 57 inches tall.
June 27, 2018
Happy Summer! The rain stayed away this morning as 4 students and 2 teachers worked on ridding the garden of weeds. “There were a lot of weeds,” said Addie. We also planted more corn and beans. We found several tomato plants. A dill and a parsley are growing, and the marigolds look great. We found some unusual pods and realized they were attached to the radishes we had planted. The radishes never formed due to the weather conditions when we planted them, but flowered and formed pods. Mrs. Noyes researched and discovered they are the seed pods and are edible. Maybe we’ll try some in a couple weeks. https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/vegetables/radish/radish-seed-saving.htm
Thank you to our hardworking weed-pullers. There should be fewer weeds next time!
May 24, 2018
It was a loooonngggg winter and a cold spring. We did get some carrots, radishes and beets planted in early May. In the past two days we did major weeding. Today we planted corn, and transplanted tomatoes, peppers, basil, dill, parsley, and marigolds that we had started in our classrooms. Mrs. Noyes’ ELA class did a super job with all the planting tasks. Thank you to Mrs. M.’s class for helping with the weeding.
We found some surprises in the garden this spring. Onions planted several years ago came up. Some lettuce came up on its own. And the other year, Mrs. Dissinger’s class read Sophie’s Squash and planted it in the corner of the garden. This year her descendants sprouted.
Photos by Sara and Damian.
Nov. 3, 2107
The beginning of the year was super-busy. We harvested corn, lots of tomatoes, and some banana peppers. We enjoyed some salsa and look forward to popcorn later in the year. We are running an experiment to see if we can grow vegetables in October…radishes sprouted, and are larger in the cold-frame than out of it. Today we cleaned up the rest of the garden for the winter and prepared our compost tumbler (Thank you Mrs. Leed!!). We look forward to watching the nutrient cycle in action.
August 9, 2017
Wow! Another gorgeous day for garden work! We have been very fortunate this year. Eight students and three teachers arrived this morning anxious to see how the garden grew, and boy did it ever! Thankfully, there were no weeds to pull this week. See their photos and observations below.
The garden is growing very fast. There was a lot of basil growing in the garden. There were a lot of pumpkins and not a lot of tomatoes or banana peppers. There were tons of pumpkins that were starting to grow. I found a pumpkin that was 7 1/2 inches around. Also another pumpkin was 15 1/2 inches around. We found a pumpkin that is 6 1/2 inches in circumference. The banana peppers are 6 inches long. We picked 38 green beans. A bean is 7 1/2 inches long. There are 9 corn stalks. The tallest corn stalk is 106 inches tall. A small tomato that I found has a circumference of 3.5 inches. There were 7 pumpkins. We found a caterpillar and it is 2 1/2 inches long.
July 26, 2017
Today we had pleasant temperatures and cloudy conditions for our garden work. We had 8 enthusiastic student gardeners and 3 teachers helping. We were happy to see fewer weeds today! This gave us more time to write down some observations:
We saw two baby pumpkins. We saw pretty yellow flowers. The tomato leaves feel lumpy. We saw marigolds. The sunflowers (we did not plant these! They came up from seeds dropped in prior years) are about 60 inches tall. Corn is about 79 inches tall. There’s not many weeds, more plants. The sunflower plant’s leaves are so soft. There is probably a watermelon or pumpkin (there was quite a debate about what the green and white striped globe could be) that is 5 inches tall. The garden feels like a jungle when you step into it. We picked basil, lettuce, and beans. The beans feel soft and bumpy. There are 207 tomatoes! We counted 39 pumpkin flowers and predict we might get 20 pumpkins. There are curly things coming off the pumpkin plants. The garden looks like a jungle. A bean is 6 1/2 inches long.
July 12, 2017
Another great gardening day. It was warmer, but cloudier than last time. We had 8 wonderful student weed-pullers, assisted by all of our third grade teachers. There was lots to do and observe, and everyone went home with some lettuce and basil, and a few were able to take home our 4 radishes. See below for today’s comments and photos.
The bean plant in the back corner is 34.25 inches tall. One of the corn plants is 39.25 inches tall. Right now the weed pile is 2ft 2in. tall. We counted 34 tomato plants. (We did not plant that many!! Lots of them came up from dropped tomatoes last year…we are looking forward to making salsa!)
June 21, 2017
We had a great day for gardening, with low humidity and 9 outstanding helpers. We weeded, measured plants, and harvested lettuce. See below for their measurements, comments, and photos.
Corn is 24″ and 26″ tall. The width of our lettuce row is 31″. Our pumpkin plant is 17 inches across. Our spinach plants are 5″, 6″, 7″, 5″, 3″, and 2″ tall. The dill plants are 8″ and 6″ tall. The squash is 20″ and a tomato plant is 8″ tall.
“I saw that our plants are growing fast.” “I saw that there were a lot of weeds.” “I saw that the corn was very tall.” “I saw that the plants have heart-shaped leaves.” “All the corn plans looked healthy.” “I saw that all the corn grew a lot and lots of the plants grew really big!” “I saw that the plants grew slow.” “I saw lots of corn and a whole lot of weeds.” “Today we were pulling out weeds. It was fun. It felt like a great day to pull out weeds.”
In the last weeks of school, we planted corn, beans and pumpkin seeds. We had grown tomatoes, peppers, and herbs from seeds in the classroom. These were transplanted into the garden.
August 3, 2016
We again had five super-helpful gardeners this morning. There was lots to see and harvest today. We harvested one onion, one carrot, a bunch of beets, basil, and beans. The carrot measured 26 1/2 inches from the tip of the food part to the top of the greens. A bean was 6 1/2 inches long. The helpers were so disappointed that there weren’t as many weeds to pull today, that they asked if they could pull the weeds in the memorial flower garden in another part of the courtyard! They pulled out LOTS of thistles! Take a look at the garden during Back-to-School Night (Aug 24 K-3 &MDS, Aug. 25 Gr. 4-6), and we’ll see everyone when school starts on the 29th!!
July 20, 2016
We had five fabulous helpers in the garden today. There was excellent teamwork happening…pulling weeds, measuring very tall plants, catching beetles, and harvesting beets and basil. We found lots of baby chili peppers, a few green tomatoes, some skinny green beans climbing up the cornstalks, Bernice has two babies, and there are a few pumpkins beginning to grow. We harvested three beets. We decided to let the others grow now that there is more room. One small onion got pulled out. Here are measurements the students took today: The biggest squash leaf is 12 inches. Biggest pumpkin is 5 inches. Biggest squash circumference is 11 inches. The tallest corn is 100 inches. The tallest tomato plant is 39 inches tall. A beet was 5 inches.
July 6, 2016
We had five student gardeners working hard today. There were lots of weeds again– next time there shouldn’t be as many. Besides pulling weeds, today we caught Japanese beetles in cups of soapy water — they were feasting on the leaves of our beets and basil. We also dead-headed our marigolds, and took several measurements. Squash leaves are 8″, 9 1/2″, and 9 3/4″ wide. The corn stalks are 60 inches/152 centimeters tall. Some of them have bean vines climbing up them. Spicy pepper leaves are 2 inches long, and the butternut squash has leaves of 3 1/2 and 2 1/2 inches. We noticed the beginnings of a squash and also discovered that squash leaves and stems are quite prickly! We harvested the rest of the lettuce, many basil leaves, and one beet. We decided to let the rest of the beets grow bigger.
When we finished outside, we checked on our pot of potatoes. Unfortunately, two weeks is too long to go without water, and the plant parts had shriveled up. We dug around in the soil and discovered the original potatoes had rotted away. There were a few tiny new potatoes (an inch or less across). The students practiced drawing conclusions and making a new hypothesis: perhaps my next class should try starting potatoes in the pot at the beginning of the year.
June 22, 2016
We had nine student gardeners today. They worked very hard pulling lots of weeds, observing, and harvesting some early vegetables. Here are their observations: The corn is growing and the beans are growing on the corn to support it. The plants are very tall. The corn is 39 inches tall.
Cherry Crest Adventure Farm is participating with Rohrer Seeds to promote Ag Week. They are giving away pumpkin seeds to children every Saturday in June. Plant the seeds, grow the pumpkins, then sign up in October to participate in contests at Oregon Dairy or Cherry Crest. (Or enter it in the New Holland Fair!)
We had a very busy school year. In May, third graders took turns preparing the garden for planting. When the weather cooperated, we planted the “three sisters” along with some other vegetables. We are looking forward to Garden Wednesdays throughout the summer.
August 5, 2015
We had another beautiful, sunny garden day with eight great student helpers. These are their observations: The sunflowers are still growing. One flower is 16 inches long and 4 inches around. One sunflower stalk is 2 inches wide, and 3 1/2 meters tall, and it has a big yellow sunflower at the top. We harvested tomatoes, carrots, and beans today. Whoever eats it shall be satisfied and happy. There are lots of female pumpkin flowers, and some males too, so we will have pumpkins. The marigolds are doing good and have lots of flowers. One of the corn stalks is 108 inches tall.
Some of the things we wonder: Why didn’t beans grow as well last year? How many beans are there this year?
July 22, 2015
We had a beautiful sunny (not too humid) day for gardening. Our helpers today observed the following: The tallest sunflower is taller than the building and is around 4 meters/156 inches tall. Maybe it will become 200 inches tall. We picked LOTS of beans again today. The longest bean was 8 inches long. One of the boys thought a rotting bean felt like applesauce. We also pulled weeds and picked lettuce today. There are still many japanese beetles having lunch in the garden, but they are not reducing the harvest. How big is the tallest flower? Exactly when is the first pumpkin going to be ready? (Our hypothesis is that it will be ready in late September or early October.
July 8, 2015
Many of our gardeners are away this week, but we had one very good student helper, three teachers, and a teacher’s sister to help today. We pulled lots of weeds, and observed Japanese beetles eating lunch among the leaves. Our sunflowers are growing very tall. Lily and Mrs. Williams measured the three main sunflower plants. A leaf was 26″ long. The smallest stalk was 65″, the medium one was 74″, and the tallest was 105″ tall! We have “a jungle of bean” plants. We harvested 4 gallon-size bags of beans today. The longest bean was 8 1/2 inches long! We also harvested some lettuce and spinach. We are looking forward to carrots and beets sometime soon.
June 24, 2015
Today was our first Garden Wednesday of the year. We had 5 student gardeners today. The first thing we observed was that the wind from last night’s storm blew over one of the cold frames onto some plants. Here are the rest of our observations: It is a sunny day. I see a lot of bean plants. A sunflower was 56 inches tall. Everything is growing. The radishes are huge. One of them looks like it was eaten. Some of them have started to split. The radish is 6 inches tall and 5 1/2 inches around. Tomato plants are 36 inches tall. We pulled a lot of weeds.
We planted corn in mounds (complete with buried fish heads), then planted beans and pumpkin to complete the “three sisters” as the Native Americans did. Many beans had “volunteered”, or sprouted, from last years’ dropped seeds.
We have planted some vegetable and herb seeds in containers, and plan to sow early vegetables in the garden under our cold frames. After the last frost in mid-May, we will plant the rest of the garden with corn, beans, and squash the way the Native Americans did.
Students will review the scientific method as they ask questions, make hypotheses, plan the best way to test them, collect data, and draw conclusions. We should be able to harvest some lettuce, spinach, and radishes before the end of the school year. Students may help harvest the corn, beans, and squash next school year if their fourth grade classes pair up with the then third-graders.
Watch for information near the end of the year about helping with the garden over the summer. See below for photos from last summer.
Student observations 8/6/14 (the last Garden Wednesday for this summer):
The circumference of a tomato is 12 inches. We found a bean that is 9 inches long. The tallest sunflower is 272 cm/ 108 in. tall. The tallest cornstalk is 67 in./168 cm tall. The circumference if a pumpkin is 22 in./56 cm. A pumpkin leaf is 33 cm/ 13 in. across. The pumpkins are fuzzy like a peach, but a little poky. We hypothesized that they are “a little poky” for protection.
The students harvested tomatoes, peppers, and beans today. They measured all the beans and made a tally chart and then a graph to find the shortest (minimum), longest (maximum) and most frequent length (mode) of the beans. See the photos below for their graph. Thank you to all the students, parents, and teachers who helped tend the garden over the summer!
Our garden has produced several pumpkins. We have measured their circumference, and this week will weigh them and compare the weights to the circumferences. We chose one to enter in the New Holland Fair. Be sure to stop by the exhibits and take a look. We are looking forward to harvesting our popcorn this month. Once harvested, we will work on preparing the garden for winter.