Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Pumpkin Patrol!

We continued the process of getting the beds ready for the first spring seedlings and plants enlisting help from as many community members as possible! One of Mr. Sander's 3rd Grade Science Classes at Promise Academy 2 has been growing Pumpkin Seeds in their classroom and brought them over to the garden to find more space to grow. Traipsing down Madison Avenue with the spindly pumpkin plants in tow, they happily dubbed themselves "The Pumpkin Patrol."

Transplanting seedlings can be a tricky process. Even if you are careful you may lose some of your hardiest plants along the way. For fledgling sprouts that have grown up in the comforts of a classroom, sudden exposure to the elements can often be too much. Be as gentle as possible and if you've got the time "harden off" your plants off by slowly taking them out into the fresh are. This process simply means that you gradually expose your plants to the outdoors in order to help them acclimate. When your plants are coming from one school building to another, you can't always create the ideal conditions. The harsh reality of the outdoors, combined with the fact that our roof can get very windy and we knew our pumpkin plants would have to be packed in well for good soil-to-root contact in order to have a fighting chance in their new setting. For more about transplanting your seedlings outside in your own garden, read this article: http://bit.ly/j13Wfm

We have had some surprises this spring in the garden...like the carrots and beets that survived through the winter! We've also got several herbs that have self-seeded and sprung back to life including oregano, thyme, sage and parsley. Thanks so much to the group of students and teachers who came over to help us start transforming our garden from winter's fallow ground to spring's sprouts. We have had a mysterious arrival of loads of Pansies in many of our vegetable beds which are beautiful and unexpected joys. We've been working to move them from the vegetable bins to a few flower boxes and pots where they can be enjoyed by everyone. We gave the Pumpkin Patrol several potted pansies to take back with them to beautify their own school and enjoy. Stop by the 5th Floor Terrace Garden to see the flowers for yourself.

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