I have a little garden helper this winter. When it's warm enough we go out into the vegetable garden and clean up from the fall. We're excited to be able to go outside and start planting this spring!
After planting our bulbs in November, we were planning on them staying nice and chilly during the winter. Instead, Northern Virginia had a warm December and that helped the bulbs start to grow. These pictures were taken in mid-January. Normally, we should not see these yet!
The flower garden was created so First and Second grade students could plant bulbs. Bulbs are planted in the fall, grow roots and get stronger during the winter, and they start shooting out of the ground in the spring.
Check out this website, Kids Gardening, to learn more about bulbs: http://www.kidsgardening.org/node/12167
The First Graders planted daffodils and the Second Graders planted red tulips.
We were gone from our blog for a while, but we're back and ready to tell you about a BIG project we worked on this fall. We promise we will be around more, now that we are preparing the Mason Crest Garden for the spring planting.
Back in November, with the help of a lot of big-hearted people, we were able to transform a boring patch of grass into a flower garden! It took A LOT of hard work and a good amount of money, but we made it happen. We are really looking forward to the spring when everything wakes up and starts to bloom.
Here is the BEFORE picture. See?! Just boring grass.
Our tomatoes are splitting! This happens when tomato plants get an influx (a lot at one time) of water. A week ago, we had a large amount of rain fall on our garden because of Hurricane Joaquin. All summer, the garden was pretty dry because of the lack of rain, so our tomato plants got used to the dry weather. When Hurricane Joaquin brought so much rain to Northern Virginia, the tomatoes were shocked! The inside fruit of the tomatoes swelled with water and grew faster than their skin. The skin couldn't keep up with the growth so it split.
Split skins don't mean the tomatoes are trash, it just means they need to be eaten pretty soon after they are picked.
The Mason Crest Garden is getting ready for the Fall! That means we have to pull out the summer plants to make room for new plants that like the cold weather and grow throughout the Fall and Winter.
The cucumber planter was full of dead vines (they completed their life cycle) and a small, struggling squash plant. We also had a basil plant that had completed its life cycle and a dead pumpkin plant. The pumpkin vine was infected with Vine Bores (a bug that gets into the pumpkin vine and eats the healthy material so the plant can't grow. )
Here are some before and after pictures:
And the winner for "Best Camouflage" goes to our garden's Praying Mantis! Check out these pictures. Can you find it in this first picture? Scroll down for more close-up pictures!
Here is a website to check out if you would like more information about the Praying Mantis:
After introducing this website to a class of 5th graders, I was shocked to find out some of them didn't know where the garden is!
We just HAD to take a trip outside so they could see where it is and look at all of the wonderful plants growing.
This is a picture of some of our harvest. We even saw a huge praying mantis!
All summer, the Mason Crest Garden has struggled to produce a juicy, red tomato. For a while, I thought our neighborhood deer were stealing our fruits. But, don't worry! I have finally been able to pick some beautiful tomatoes along with the summer's last cucumbers and a couple of peppers!
The marigolds in the garden are still full of blooms and look great! We are hoping to do a fun, hands-on project with the 4th graders and using the marigold blooms to dye fabric and yarn. Stay tuned to see how the project goes and what the students can do with products from the garden.
The Mason Crest Garden has had a wonderful summer! It was a hot and dry, but here's a list of what the garden produced:
Over the summer, one of our teachers pickled some cucumbers to give students an example of one way cucumbers could be eaten. Other vegetables were given to students who were attending the Kindergarten summer program. They loved taking home the cucumbers and tomatoes and surprising their moms with a flower!
The summer garden will continue to produce for a few more weeks and then we will clean it out and get it ready for the fall. Our Fourth Grade team is looking forward to using all of the marigolds in a fabric-dying project, just like the Native Americans and colonists. We will post pictures of our project later this fall!
Thanks for stopping by and checking in on the Mason Crest Garden. We hope you check by periodically to learn about what's new in the garden and how it's being used by the teachers, students, and community. Our goal is to make 2015-16 a BIG year!
The Mason Crest Garden is lovingly cared for by the staff and students at Mason Crest Elementary School in Annandale, VA.