Harden ‘em Off
Seedlings grown indoors need time to ‘toughen up’ before being planted in the ground. You’ll want to ‘harden off’ seedlings by gradually exposing them to outdoor conditions like wind, direct sunlight, lower moisture and cooler temperatures. About two weeks before planting outdoors, move seedlings outdoors to a partially shaded spot and then move them back inside at night. This is a perfect ‘job’ or reward for student helpers.
Add a Literacy Component
Connect language arts to the garden by reading a favorite book and creating a garden based on that theme. You might try a Peter Rabbit garden for younger children or even a Harry Potter garden. Get children involved and get creative! Before planting warm season crops, read Our Generous Garden (or Nuestra Huerta Generosa in Spanish) or Our Super Garden (Nuestro Super Jardin) to get students excited about how their garden can change their community and eating healthy by eating what we grow.
Transplant Warm Season Crops
In late May, transplant warm season plants like tomatoes, squash, eggplant and peppers into the garden. You may have to cover them at night if evening temperatures drop below 45 degrees.
Harvest Cool Season Vegetables
Now is the season for radishes, spinach and leaf lettuce. Have student helpers harvest these crops and make a spring salad to share.
Extend the Season
Plant additional rows of beans, lettuce, cilantro and other fast-growing plants so you have a steady supply through summer.
Thin ‘em Out
It’s hard to do, but give seedlings (review the seed packets) space to grow by pinching out weaker plants. Thinning the plants will result in bigger, more robust plants that produce more fruits and vegetables.
copyright Anne Nagro