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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.

Month

December 2016

About Micro greens By NA

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Ever wonder what Micro greens are and how to grow them? Maybe your wondering what the benefits of having and/or eating them could be.

Micro greens are a universal name for any green vegetable or herb that has edible leaves and is harvested at a cotyledon growth stage which is when they are young. You  could grow probably any lettuce or herb as a micro green. Common micro greens are basil, mustard, arugula, cabbage etc.

When growing micro greens you typically scatter seeds on top of a inch of soil that is in a tray. You do not put a extra layer of soil on top of them. Leave as is and mist with water. After you put a cover over it to keep it moist and dark for the next few days. Check them frequently until you start to see roots, then keep the cover off permanently. You must harvest your micro-greens based on how your crops look. Micro greens are simple to grow but must be harvested quickly to enjoy on your salads, stir fryers and other dishes.

Home growing micro greens can help with no exposure to pollutants. Another benefit is all the nutrients that they provide, such as Vitamins K,C, and E. They actually carry more nutrients than mature plants. Micro greens are high in fiber and high in Lutein and Zeaxanthin.

Here in AG. Science we are growing our own. I’m growing Lemon Cucumber micro greens it will take 8 days before they grow and two weeks before I can harvest. I can’t wait to see how they turn out. I’ve learned a lot about how to grow these little sprouts and all of there benefits. Everyone should start growing them in there own homes.

 

Combating Nutrient Deficiencies By CM

The fertilizer we added to the top soil.

We recently tested the soil in each of the greenhouse beds and discovered that the beds were incredibly nutrient deficient. Oddly enough they had just enough nutrients to keep alive the crops that we had. To combat the nutrient deficiency we added compost to the soil. After adding it in we turned the soil to evenly distribute the nutrient rich compost with preexisting soil.

After adding in the compost our garden coordinator, Kate, thought of using some of the fertilizer left behind from past coordinators. She decided to add a complete fertilizer that she hopes will add a significant amount of nutrients to the top soil. Unfortunately this fertilizer could have been exposed to the elements because it is undetermined exactly how old it is. Overall, this process should bring us closer to a more productive and healthy garden.

The Right Bugs for the Right Garden-EM

In the garden you will see many bugs. But do you know which ones are good for your garden? Lady bugs are “Bug Police” that will eat the aphids that eat your garden and vegetables. Pray-mantis are another “Bug Police” that eat most of the other bugs that are in your garden.

Spiders are the big “Bug Police” that eat many bugs along side the bat. Different types of spiders hunt different ways. in the air, in the water, under ground, many ways to get their lunch.

Worms They help your garden grow and not destroy them. giving nutrients back to the plant to grow and thrive. Just remember do not kill the good ones.

Why Microgreens? By CM


Microgreens, often confused with sprouts, are packed full of good flavor, variety, and nutrients. Due to the variety of the types of microgreens you can grow they are often referred to a “vegetable confetti”. The variety comes from the ability to use many different kinds of plants such as salad greens, leafy greens and edible flowers.

The process of growing them is fairly simple but defiantly takes time and effort. It takes roughly 2-3 weeks to grow them and in some varieties it may take just under a month. You have to start with a good spot in direct sunlight and also a small container filled with soil, old takeout boxes and pie tins are often used. You press the seeds into the damp soil and then put a thin layer of soil on top. You must be sure to water your greens with a delicate mister twice a day while never getting the soil too wet. Making sure to give them at least 4 hours of direct sunlight per day. Doing all of this will make sure for a healthy harvest.

You will know it’s time to harvest when the first “true leaves” show up. This is not the same as sprouting. You’ll notice that between the seeds original sprout (cotyledon) that a leaf will grow. This is the first true leaf. Once it is there you’ll know that you are ready to harvest your microgreens. You’ll need to grab your scissors and snip them just above the soil line.
But why do this instead of grow sprouts? Well, sprouts are often grown completely in water in a warm environment. This is the ideal place for bacteria and E.coli to grow. So even though it may only take 7 days to grow and eat sprouts the risk of getting foodborne illness is extremely high making eating sprouts raw a very risky decision. Since microgreens are raised in an open area that lacks humidity, you will not have a Bactria problem. So even though the processes takes much longer you may be thankful in the long run.
We hope to soon make use of microgreens in our garden as a healthy, much tastier alternative to sprouts.

Our Transplanting Process By CM

The seedlings a few days after planting.

Recently, we have transplanted some butter lettuce seedlings into the greenhouse garden beds. The young plants were at high risk at not doing well with the transition because of how delicate they were. For a more smooth transition we made sure to be very gentle while planting the seedlings. Our reason for planting the seedlings so early was to help speed up the growing process and to feed hungry lettuce eaters.

After a few days our plants have been doing very well. We hope that our plan has worked and that harvest time is very soon.

Making Our Garden Wheelchair Accessable By CM

We have been working on making our garden wheelchair friendly by improving the heights of the garden beds in the greenhouse. There is a specific height and width that the FDA establishes for garden beds. The established height for persons in wheelchairs is between 27-34 inches, the width is 48 inches. This is to allow for students and volunteers to be able to help out in our garden.     All of our beds were either too tall or too short to meet the FDA’s height guidelines, although the width was just fine. To reach our desired measurement we needed to take off a board on the ones that were too tall and add one to the beds that were too short.
Our Beds now meet FDA’s established height and width guidelines which will benefit those who come to school here and those that volunteer. Our next step is to improve our greenhouses floors by also making them wheelchair accessible.

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