2016-2017 Truro Children’s Community Garden Highlights

When: Wednesdays at 4 p.m. (off season); Thursdays at 3 p.m. July-August
Where: Back deck of the Truro Public Library
Description: Maggie began the children’s garden in 2010 with Executive Director of Sustainable Cape, Francie Randolph. Randolph receives local Cultural Council grants to employ a gardener who works with the Truro Recreational Program teaching K-6 elementary school children during the weekly garden program. Classes begin with a game of Tag Your Fit. Children take home goodie bags to share what they’ve grown with their families. The young gardeners also deliver excess produce to the Truro Central School for their school lunch program.

Every year has a new art-related theme from November-January with a February art opening at the library. Last year’s theme was “Bee Diversity” and the children drew and painted different bee species. Selections from the exhibit travel to the Barnstable County Fair and to the Truro Agricultural Fair. Each year the children’s artwork is seen by an estimated 15,000-20,000 people.

June 19, 2014

Today’s air temperature measured 75° and the soil measured 65° in the shade and 80° in the sun. After harvesting more strawberries and eating some for energy, two teams of children, The Green Bean Group and the Kale Group, moved to different areas in the garden.

Jill lead the Green Beans in harvesting baby kale which helped make room for the other kale plants to grow, because plants need sunlight, water and SPACE to flourish. She then took her group to the northwest part of the garden and the children to choose a shape that they’d like to plant their radishes. Maya and Xanti designed triangles and Anya decided on a circle. Jill reminded them to “zip it up” when they were done planting their radish seeds.

Drake instructed the Kale Group in how to remove some leaves from the bottom of the tomato plants so that none would be touching the ground. Those leaves could be prone to fungus diseases because they receive the least amount of sun and air circulation. They also learned about tomato plant suckers that grow in the notch between the stem and a branch. They are the second leaves and they can become wet and most of them were removed.

Next, it was time to thin the beets and carrots to 2 finger widths apart and talk about plants that are deep green or red being super foods and keep people healthy. After nibbling some mint we also found out it GIVES YOU EXTRA ENERGY!

Sweet Surprises and Transplanting–June 12, 2014

Nico took note of a 61 ° windy and cloudy day with a soil temperature of 63 °. We started with a SWEET SURPRISE – lots of ripe strawberries for the picking and eating! Next was time to harvest all the white and red radishes to take home in goody bags.

Jill brought some jellybean tomato plants that she grew from saved seeds from last year’s harvest. She asked her group to measure a trowel width apart before digging holes to transplant a few tomato and pepper plants.  The kids remembered from Stephanie at the Truro Central School garden to pinch the stem near its base and gently pull it out of the pot. Then they said to make pants with the roots of the plant before placing it in the ground. Drake’s group did something similar in the south bed with 10 cucumber plants.

The kids dug deep in the north bed and sprouted potatoes were placed along the sides before filling in the dirt. Also some rows of mesclun seeds were planted. Pumpkin seeds went into seed trays for this year’s pumpkin patch! Robin photographed some nice watering moments too.

  • Harvest ripe fruits and vegetables
  • Transplant tomato, pepper and cucumber plants a trowel width apart
  • Pinch plants near soil to pull out of the pot and separate roots in two
  • Place sprouted potatoes in the side of a trench and fill in with soil
  • Plant mesclun in shallow rows in shady spot
  • Plant pumpkin seeds in seed trays
  • Water

Play and Learn–May 8, 2014

On an overcast 57° day we took a look at the sprouting radishes and kale plants while Drake and Francie explained the importance of thinning, so that the healthiest plants can survive. We planted Danvers Carrot seeds in rows and Muir Lettuce seeds near the kale so that the shade from the kale will help protect the lettuce leaves in the hot summer sun. Then we placed some netting that Jill brought over the plants to protect them from being eaten.

We played the bean game with different utensils to help learn about natural selection. The idea of the game is that each kid gets a utensil, a knife, fork, or spoon and then must try to pick up as many beans off the ground as they can in 30 seconds. We played several times so the kids could try each type of utensil to see the difference. What happened? Which utensils made it easier or harder to pick up the beans? We found that even though the knife looked cool, it was very hard to move a bean from one place to another. Results of one round: spoon – 22, fork – 8, knife – 0. So our natural choice is to SELECT THE SPOON for this task. We used Scarlet Runner Beans and Pencil Pod Black Wax Beans from the seed library for this game.

We ended with lots of watering and a rousing game of Tag, You’re Fit!

  • Thin around new sprouts
  • Plant lettuce seeds near kale plants
  • Place netting over new sprouts
  • Play bean game
  • Water the entire garden
  • Play Tag, You’re Fit

Year of the Worm–May 1, 2014

Wet but not raining and 52°… a good time to talk about worms! They like to dig deep when the soil is still a little cold, so we couldn’t find any today.

We checked on the snow peas that were just beginning to sprout. We noticed some of the kale seedlings had been affected by the cold. Then Drake and Jill handed out seeds for more planting. Three children sowed White Icicle Radish (from Dave’s Greens) and French Breakfast Radish seeds in rows in the first bed while three other children planted a border of Mixed Kale seeds at the opposite end. The Truro Seed Library is providing some nice varieties!

Then we headed inside to discuss the benefits of worms and to start drawing some. We looked at a few fun worm books: Worms by Valerie Bodden, Green Kid’s Guide to Organic Fertilizers by Richard Lay and of course Diary of a Worm by Doreen Cronin to get ideas. For example, worms make compost that helps the soil in the garden and worms eat organic things (leaves) in the dirt and then poop. There’s lots more to learn about worms in the coming months!

  • discuss benefits of worms
  • measure peas
  • plant kale seeds one finger length apart as a border 1/2″ deep
  • make six rows 1/2″ deep and sprinkle in radish seeds
  • cover seeds lightly with soil and water

Beginning–April 17, 2014

Many new beginnings today: new dirt, new teacher, new seeds! Paige measured the air temperature at 39° and the soil temperature at 50°.

Thanks so much to Greg Morris from Cape Cod Excavating for delivering a truck load of compost for the garden!

We welcomed our new Agricultural Expert & Co-Coordinator, Drake from Pure Joy Farm today. While we miss Anna and Amora, we look forward to learning from Drake and getting to know her and Diesel the dog.

We noticed some kale plants had made it through the winter (and they weren’t even under the greenhouse tent). After pulling any left over weeds from last year, Jill coordinated a well-organized system for each child to bring in a shovelful of compost to the garden beds without bumping into each other. They liked aerating the soil with their hands and rakes.

Next Drake measured each child’s pinky to make sure they knew where a half inch was (usually right at the top line). Then some kids planted Oregon Giant Snow Peas from the Truro Public Library’s Seed Library a half inch deep and a hand width apart. They’re located right next to the fence and will be in the shade in a few weeks. Jill planted some kale seedlings and Drake added some spinach seeds too.

  • Weed beds and spread compost evenly and aerate gently
  • Plant snow peas a half inch deep and a hand width apart in shady area
  • Plant kale and spinach in a sunnier area
  • Gently water seeds and seedlings