Phoenix Garden

Phoenix School Learning Garden is focused on teaching students agricultural practices with hands-on experiences. Through this blog we hope to educate others and also learn from community members through discussions.


March 2016

Back to work!

Now that all of the students are back from Spring Break, it’s time to continue working on preparing the garden for the Spring! In the morning, we transplanted spinach and bok choy (Chinese cabbage) into two of the beds in the greenhouse. We are finding that this is working better than planting seeds right into the greenhouse beds, as pill bugs have been munching away at the seedlings before they have a chance to get big.

Outside, the beds are starting to look really nice. In Garden Leadership, we turned all of the soil, pulled tons of weeds, and added compost soil to the beds. In addition, we have been adding more mulch to the aisles, making the garden both look better and helping suppress obnoxious weeds.

The weather is getting warmer every week, the sun is staying out longer, and we are working our buns off while having lots of fun!

~Lynn, AmeriCorps Horticulturalist~


Pea transplants

Today on this marvelous March day, RSSA (regularly scheduled student activity) students and myself transplanted snap peas from individual containers in the Greenhouse to garden bed 2. To prepare the soil, we used shovels and pitchforks to turn the soil and leave and added fertile compost soil on top. We turned the plants upside down, gently squeezed the containers, separated the roots of two plants from each other if needed, and added the plant to the soil with a pinch of kelp meal. We figured out that we did this just in time too, and some of the plants were starting to become root-bound (that means that the roots are starting to run out of room in their containers). Because the seedlings have been in the greenhouse, we decided they did not need to be hardened off. Hardening off is when you set plants to be transplanted outside a few days to get used to the outdoors before putting them in the soil. Being in the greenhouse without a heater, however, the plants have already been exposed to a lot of sunlight and low temperatures (using a thermometer, we have found out that at night, the greenhouse only stays a few degrees warmer than the outdoors). We are hopeful that these little babies will do well in their new home and start climbing upwards soon!

~Lynn, AmeriCorps Horticulturalist~

transplant picture 3.17.16.jpg
Snap pea seedlings transplanted outside on March 17.

Branch Spreading – Caitlyn Campbell

Lately, we’ve been learning about the use of branch spreaders to create more space between branches. By doing so, we are improving the structure of the tree. Also, sometimes branches grow too close together, causing the canopy to be too closed. When this happens, there isn’t enough light and air reaching all the branches. With the use of branch spreaders, it allows the branches to grow further apart, opening up the canopy, so air and light have more access to the branches and fruit.

Branch spreading also helps improve the size and quality of the fruit being grown. Branch spreaders can be bought, or you can make your own. Here at Phoenix, Lindley (Ag. Science teacher) saved some money by making them. We went out in our orchard and used them to space apart any young branches that may be too close together. Our goal is to create a larger angle between branches so they can grow more efficiently.

The best part is you can reuse your branch spreaders! Why throw them away? They’re perfectly reusable. So, year after year you can keep your trees healthy and help them flourish.


Grape buds by junior singh

Whats best to wear when composting by KG

What’s best to wear when you are in your garden composting is having boots on like bogs or also rain boot’s. The reason to why you want to wear either one of the boots is you will get a lot of mud, water, and slip around. you also want to wear pants that you don’t mind getting dirty in. For girls you will want to wear your hair up in a bun or pony tail , for boys maybe wearing a hat on your head or nothing at all. You also want to wear a jacket or shirt you can wipe mud onto for when you get mud on your hands or your face. You also want to have a set a gloves you can put on when shoveling the dirt into certain sections for your composting.

Heres an example for you to see.


Lettuce… By Nina And Ashley

Growing Lettuce :

For a fall crop put in cool soil in August by moistening the ground and covering it with a straw.

Make sure the soil stays moist with plenty of rich organic matter. & P.H of 6.0

Test the soil, (Purchase kit) Fertilize& line according to test.


In Spring began setting out lettuce plants about 1 month before the last frost grows between temp range of (45-80 degrees) F. Hot weather makes the lettuce bitter.

Cold weather freezes it.

The students at Phoenix Planted Lettuce to put into our salad bars for lunch. The lettuce comes out real nice over here. The Lettuce is fresh, crunchy, and delicious!


Planting Our Own Seeds. -caitlyn campbell


IMG_2557    Last week, each student in our science class were given a packet of different seeds. We had to read the back of our own individual packets to learn about our seeds. The back included information like when, where, and how to grow the seeds. I had evergreen bunching onions. My seeds could be planted directly outside in the sunlight and they had to be planted 1/4 – 1/2inch deep in the soil.

Out in the greenhouse, each of us took a small starter pot and filled it almost to the top with soil. After that, we sprinkled some magic growing dust onto the soil. Then, using a pencil with marked measurements, we made our seed’s holes. In each hole, we put 2 or so seeds. We made sure to plant a lot because it’s unlikely that they will all survive because the seed packet had expired. Finally, we covered them with soil so they can begin to grow. If we had extra seeds, we continued to fill more starter packs until we had used them all.

Chicken Field Trip! K.H.

I personally really enjoyed the class field trip to the chicken farm last Monday. During the field trip, I sorted chickens based upon their gender, I listened to a local farmer talk about his experiences through his career, and I visited a duck farm and found about how these kinds of farms operate. According to the farmer at King’s Farm, his unorthodox methods in chicken farming has effectively made sure that he will be barred from entering any industrialized chicken farm. He claims that industrial farmers are extremely cautious about who has access to their chickens because of the potential diseases that one might carry with them. I found this to be extremely interesting and it helped me gain a perspective on how local farms are treated by large industrial chicken farms.

At the local duck farm we visited, Ravenfeather Farms, we learned about the various types of ducks and about how to properly breed them and raise them. I also found this to be extremely interesting because I had not previously known some of the facts that I had learned on this trip. This trip helped me realize the importance that local farming can have on a community.


For more information about these local farms, Please visit their website at

  • K. H.

Strawberrys’s By Nina and Ashley

planting beansGrowing Strawberry’s:

  • In order to grow strawberry’s they need 8 hours of full sun a day.

Acidic soil with PH between 5.5 & 6.8. (Clay Soil)

  • Mix in 4inches or more of compost, Rake clay soil into raised mounts to further your drainage. If soil is sandy simply cultivated to remove weeds
  • Mix in a inch layer of RICH compost or rotten manure.
  • Space them 18 inches apart

Be sure to set the plants so their roots are well covered with soil but the central growing bud or crown is exposed to light & could rot. Water them well any type of mulch will keep the soil moist and plants clean.

Plants will start blooming in the early spring. Flowers must be visited by Bees because they can set fruit. Warm sunny weather berries ripen 30 days after blossoms are fertilized.

Here at phoenix we have strawberry’s growing in a small raised bed. 🙂 We all can’t wait to eat them.


Westside Community Garden Planting

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