FEBRUARY and MARCH Crop Planning for the School Garden
February in the School Garden is a great time to observe seasonal changes. Days are getting longer, soils are warming, buds are breaking.
Phenology is the study of observing and recording these seasonal changes from date the California From currants flowering to the first siting of a Western Bluebird. Earth Partnership for Schools has developed a curriculum for creating Phenology Wheels . Students create first and last logs of observations then highlight a couple of these observations every month on the wheel.
This is also a wonderful time to look at seed catalogues and dream about the garden. There are some fantastic small organic seed companies out there like the very local Bohemian Seeds which is a run by a west county farming collective that includes our fabulous Program Director Sue Davis. Ask for their seeds at local farm and garden outlets. I highly recommend a couple of other small, family run, organic seed companies-Uprising Seeds and Adaptive Seeds. They are both located in the Pacific North West. Beware though for you will probably want everything in their catalogues!
Seed companies will sometimes share last years’ catalogues with you so you can share with students. Save for rainy days and let students create collages of their dream gardens.
Planting: Time to direct sow into the garden: spinach, radishes, turnips(Japanese White can be eaten out of hand) and peas-how about a pea tunnel like Dunbar School Plant inside or on a protected outside table: lettuces, leeks, spinach, kale, chards and Asian greens.
BareRoot berries are in the nurseries- an economical way to purchase strawberries and raspberries. Look at when they ripen as with a school garden often best to get fall harvest rather than through out the summer. February SOW DIRECTLY: Peas for Pea Tunnel, spinach, radishes, turnips, peas, beets, Asian greens (bok choys; mustards) START INSIDE: Onions, lettuce, brassicas (broccoli, cabbage, kale, cauliflower, kohlrabi), peas, leeks, Asian greens MAINTENANCE: Plant bare root fruit; asparagus. Continue pruning; spray for peach leaf curl; compost on strawberries and other perennials. Organic mulch on any bare soil. Prune deciduous trees, cane berries, grapes
March is a great month to plant potatoes. Potatoes could not be easier to grow. They do will in containers of any kind-old wheel barrels, garbage cans, large nursery pots. A fun project that captures the child’s imagination is a Potato Tower! This link will walk you through the basic steps. If you do a tower place gopher wire at base of tower to protect from gophers. Towers can dry out so make sure they get plenty of water.
CoolBeans-would love to hear from bean growers and seed swappers if you did any trading with other schools. Any photos very much appreciated. Coming soon will be the 2019 list of cool heirloom beans for you to grow, eat and swap with other school gardens!