The garden is winding down, but you still have time to...
Sow Fast-Growing Greens
As early in the month as possible, plant some seeds of fast-growing, cool-season greens. A good example is mesclun salad mix (the small-leaf lettuce that comes in various shapes, sizes, colors and flavors often used in finer restaurant salads). Seed packets usually are available at home centers and nurseries. Depending on weather, you could have a salad party with students later in the month!
Weed, Weed, Weed.
It’s important to remove weeds now before they go to seed. Children love pulling out the “bad guys.” Show them the shape of the weed leaves to look for, and let them go at it.
Speaking of Seeds…
Some plants are beginning to form seed pods or are dispersing seeds already. Have students find examples in the garden. Seeds are formed from flowers, so encourage them to look at plants with flowers or that had flowers earlier this summer. If yours is a vegetable garden, challenge them to find the seeds. Depending on the plant, seeds may or may not be part of what we eat. For example, seeds are found inside a tomato. When broccoli that isn’t picked in time, the buds we eat grow into flowers that then make seeds. (Mind-bender: Technically, a vegetable that contains seeds is a fruit. That makes a tomato a fruit!) Now is an excellent time to
• Collect seeds, especially those of native plants, to grow next year
• Teach the plant lifecycle
• Teach the parts of a seed
• Teach how seeds travel
By mid-September, the growing season for warm-weather vegetables is coming to an end. Cool nights won’t help their flavor. Harvest tomatoes, peppers, squash and cilantro to make garden salsa with your class. What a great way to encourage healthy eating habits! The recipe can be found in Our Generous Garden. A bountiful harvest? Donate excess produce to area food pantries, which always are in need of fresh vegetables. Have a flower or native plant garden? Consider making bouquets for elderly neighbors, nursing home residents, or even as a ‘Thank You’ to local business that have supported your garden efforts. Compost any plant material that’s not diseased.
copyright Anne Nagro