Lots of learning took place in the children's Square Foot Garden.
Our 2021 gardening season began in february while it was still cold outside. Like seasoned gardeners the children planned their gardens on paper, neatly tucking in their favorite vegetables and flowers in square foot plots.
Next we ventured oudoors to build our 1' x1' square foot garden boxes. We discussed how many plants can grow in a square foot. The magic numbers are 1,4,9 and 16. If you plant a tomato, pepper or eggplant, one plant will fit nicely into a square foot space. if you plant lettuces or swiss chard, 4 plants can grow in a square foot. If planting spinach or beets, 9 plants in square foot. And finally if planting carrots or onions 16 plants in a square foot.
As the weather warmed, we sowed potatoes in grow bags, transplanted our tomatoes, peppers and eggplants, and sowed other vegetable seeds. Our swiss chard, kale, collards were growing nicely, then came the animals. One important thing the children learned was that, animals like vegetables as much as we do, maybe even more. The groundhogs ate our kale, then our collards and finally our swiss chard. The deer ate our tomato plants or was it the chipmunks?
Despite the damage that the animals caused in the garden, it became a wonderful learning opportunity.Questions we explored- How can we better protect our garden next season? And do deer really like tomatoes?
As the gardening season progressed we built a bean teepee, and learned that tomatoes can grow upside down.
The plants regrew and we were able to harvest cherry tomatoes, edible flowers like nasturtiums, herbs such as oregano and basil, which we added as toppings on our individual pizzas. We harvested crookneck and butternut squashes and even a cinderella pumpkin. We tasted sorrel leaves, which we discovered taste like sour gummies, and groundcherries which some of the children thought tasted like tomatoes and maybe even pineapples.
We even discovered that blackswallowtail caterpillars like parsley and that potatoes grow on roots under the soil.
A lot of learning and discoveries took place in the children's Square Foot Garden, despite the damage that the animals caused, all was not lost.
If you join us on Sunday, October 17th for our Celebrate Fall festival, you will get to see some of the vegetables which were grown in the children's Square Foot Garden.