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.


November 2016

Nasturtiums in our Garden! A.S.

Colorful, edible, butterfly-like nasturtium blossoms have delighted gardeners and cooks for centuries. At different times in their history, they’ve been considered a vegetable, an herb, a flower, and even a fruit! The name nasturtium comes from the Latin words for nose (nas), and tortum (twist), referring to a persons’ reaction upon tasting the spicy, bittersweet leaves. Renaissance botanists named it after watercress, (Nasturtium officinal in Latin) which tastes similar.

The garden nasturtiums we develop today for the most part are from 2 species local to Peru. The primary, brought to Europe by Spanish conquistadors in the late fifteenth to mid sixteenth century, was Tropaeolum minus, a semi-trailing vine bearing prodded, daintily scented orange-yellow blooms with dull red spots on the petals and shield-molded leaves. As per Jesuit preachers, the Incas utilized nasturtiums as a serving of mixed greens vegetable and as a medicinal herb. In the late seventeenth century, a Dutch botanist presented the taller, more energetic Tropaeolum majus, a trailing vine with darker orange blossoms and more adjusted leaves. Since Spanish and Dutch herbalists imparted seeds to their partners, the pretty, fragrant and simple to-develop plants rapidly got to be broad all through around Europe and Britain.

Nasturtiums are anything but difficult to grow, in spite of the fact that the saying “Be nasty to nasturtiums” is to some degree brutal: pick a very much depleted site with soil that is not very rich in nitrogen (since an excessive amount of nitrogen results in heaps of foliage, yet less blossoms). I get a kick out of the chance to include compost in exceptionally sandy soil, however, to hold dampness. In regions with cool summers, nasturtiums develop well in full sun, yet in hot summer ranges, evening shade and a lot of dampness give best results. Press the huge seeds straightforwardly into the ground after no more ice is normal and the dirt is warmed up. In short-season territories, you can begin seeds inside, yet this for the most part isn’t justified regardless of the exertion, since plants develop and bloom rapidly once the climate turns warm. In the event that you develop trailing assortments on a trellis, prepare and tie them up as required, since they don’t deliver sticking tendrils.

For most delectable nasturtium leaves, keep the plants very much watered, which directs the hotness of the leaves and blossoms. I like to hurl them among sweeter greens like butter head or crunchy Batavian lettuce, as opposed to with other biting greens. They add an invigorating chomp to a great potato plate of mixed greens with hard-bubbled eggs and a mayonnaise dressing, and match well with fish. A modest bunch of the splendid hued blossom petals are heavenly slashed into a shrimp or crab serving of mixed greens sandwich filling, and the entire blooms and leaves make an extraordinary trimming for a platter of flame broiled salmon.

After picking nasturtium flowers for eating, make sure to double check that you’ve washed out any insects that might be hiding within the spurs! I prefer breaking the petals into salads rather than using them whole to keep the flavor less overwhelming, but whole flowers make beautiful and festive decorations. However you use them, spicy-sweet nasturtium flowers are a wonderful way to introduce edible flowers from the garden to both children and uninitiated adults!





Bok-Choi LH

Bok-Choi is a easy winter plant to grow, it’s full of vitamins like vitamin A,B, and also is packed with calcium, iron and folic acid. It grows very quickly and very easily, you don’t have to tend to it that much. It’s a pretty sturdy plant, which is why it’s able to handle the winter weather.


Deer in our garden LH

Deer are a common issue when having gardens. People are usually quick to bring out barbed wire, or things that could be potentially harmful to the four legged visitors. For us however, we are taking the more peaceful route of things, making a 8 foot chicken wire fence. Not only is it safe for the deer, but they won’t be able to jump over it.

However, along with this, I personally think we should spray natural deer repellent around the border of the garden; just as a precaution. A common repellent used is a mix of garlic powder and water. They can’t stand the smell!deer-wallpaper-49img_5426

Plant Competition By CM

We are battling this problem by growing seedlings in separate pots.

Plant competition is one of the most crucial factors in a plant communities, along with resources, grazing, disturbance and mutualism. Think about it, a plant needs a few basic accommodates in order to sustain an adequate life. Those accommodates include light, water nitrogen or phosphorus depending on that plant’s needs.

Keeping that in mind how might we find undesired plants or weeds to be a disturbance in our garden? When you allow harmful undesired organisms to thrive near your desired crop then you may find the desired plants lack in nutrients.  Some weeds might even be poisoning your plants! A weed called nut grass, for instance, have chemicals that are released from their roots that are harmful to surrounding plants.

Sweet Meat Squash- LH

Sweet meat squash is a round, grey squash that is harvested before winter and is often used in cooking. It’s seed life lasts 3-4 years, and can grow to be 10-15 pounds like a pumpkin.

People also say that it tastes much like a pumpkin, and is commonly used in cooking and baking; the most popular dish being (sweet meat) pumpkin pies.

Here is a recipe I was able to find on the internet, it had several views and people seemed to like it a lot.

3 cups of cooked sweet meat squash
2 1/2 cups of milk
2 eggs
1 tsp of cinnamon
3/4 tsp of allspice
1/2 tsp of ginger
1/8 tsp of cloves
1/2 tsp of salt
2 tbsp of vanilla extract
5 tbsp of flour
1 cup brown sugar
2 pre-made shallow crusts

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees or the recommended temperature for your crusts. Scoop out the guts, peel and cube the sweet meat squash. Put in boiling water and cook until tender. You can roast the squash at 350 degrees, 45 minutes or until soft.
2. In a blender (or you can use a bigger bowl and use a hand blender), put in 1 cups of cooked squash, all spices, salt, eggs, vanilla and 1 1/2 cups of milk. Blend until smooth and pour it into a large bowl. Add in remaining 2 cup of cooked squash and 1 cup of milk, blend again until smooth and it to the rest of the mixture in the bowl.
3. Stir in flour and sugar until thoroughly combined. Pour batter into pie shells and bake for about 1 hour or until center does not jiggle.

The creator of this recipe can be found here

I myself preferred sweet meat pie over pumpkin pie.


Spaghetti Squash- AS

img_20161109_120604Spaghetti squash, also known as vegetable spaghetti, is a group of cultivars of Cucurbita pepo. The fruits color ranges from an ivory to a yellow/orange color. The orange ones contain higher carotene. It’s center is filled with many large seeds. It’s “flesh” is a bright-colored yellow and/or orange. When the squash is raw it’s flesh is solid, but once cooked it turns it falls out and turns into strings, like spaghetti noodles.

Spaghetti squash can be cooked in a variety of ways; baked, boiled, steamed, or microwaved. It can be served as a substitute for pasta, with or without sauce. The seeds can be roasted like pumpkin seeds. It contains many nutrients, including folic acid, potassium, Vitamin A, and beta carotene. It averages 42 calories per one cup serving.

These plants are monoecious, with male and female flowers on the same plant. Male flowers extend upwards from the vine and have long thin stems. Female flowers are short with round growth under the petals. That round growth turns into squash if it was successfully pollinated. Spaghetti squash plants may cross-pollinate with zucchini plant.

And here’s a recipe that uses spaghetti squash called Garlic butter chicken squash:


  • 1 medium-large spaghetti squash
  • 2 cups chopped chicken, cooked via your favorite method!
  • loads of butter
  • loads of garlic
  • loads of parsley or basil
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • 1 dash of pepper
  • loads of grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Bake at 375 F for about an hour, just until you can pierce it easily with a knife.
  2. Let cool, slice open, take out seeds
  3. Then use your fork and scrape away. If it seems really hard to scrape out the squash, return to the oven for another 10 minutes. The squash shouldn’t be mushy — taste it — it should still have a nice, slight crunch.
  4. Add loads of butter and garlic to a saucepan on a little less than medium
  5. Add your parsley or basil, let it cook down.
  6. Toss in the squash, season with salt and pepper.
  7. Add as much grated Parmesan as you like.

The Magic of Photosynthesis, EM

img_20161109_120912Photosynthesis is the key to plant life and tree life. Water,sunlight and Co2 is the ingredients to make food that the plant and tree uses to grow and thrive.

To understand what plants do to grow is how gardeners can grow plants better. Monitoring your gardens intake on water, sunlight, and carbon dioxide can improve the plants growth. Giving the plant not enough supplies can have the plant stop growing and can even die. Giving the plant to much supplies can have the plant swell and drown the plant in water.

Plants also have different types of limits of supplies. So always research your plant to see their necessity for photosynthesis.

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