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.


January 2017

Pruning your Trees By NA


What is pruning? It is the most common maintenance procedure.  Pruning is when you trim your tree by cutting away the dead and over grown branches or stems.

Why should we prune our trees? We prune our trees to shape, train, and control the size. Also to remove the damaged branches and renovate them. It helps to keep the insects and decay organisms out of the tree.

There are three different types of pruning. There’s thinning, heading, and shearing.

Thinning is selective removing, by removing bulks such as an entire cane or section. Because you are doing it in bulks you are less likely to end up with clusters of branching than you are making a headed cut. Thinning opens up the shrub which helps prevent disease and also reduces the overall height.

Heading you cut further back to a head or shoot. Heading stimulates the bud just below the cut and promotes branching which fills in the shrub

Lastly, Shearing which is non- selective heading, people use shearing when doing unnatural cuts. It is appropriate for formal hedges or square form. Shearing stimulates many buds to produce new growth, so you’ll be repeating the job regularly once you start.

The goal with pruning is to end up with a natural look. You never want to force a tree to be something that it is not. You have to learn and know the natural growth for a tree. Is it a cane, mounding, or does it have a upright shape.   In class we have been going outside and observing our trees to see what kind of tree it is and what kind of pruning it may need. You want to pay close attention to the way the tree is suppose to go. Make sure you start early and train your plant and also keep up with it and prune every year.



Micro greens- HL

We started planting our micro greens on December 12, 2016. We planted them by spreading seeds on two inch dirt, then spritzed them lightly with water, so the water wouldn’t disturb the seeds, and then added a cover. On December 14 Kate covered my lettuce in vermiculite, to keep the seeds warm and trap moisture for the seeds, and put it on a hot pad. When we got back to school after the winter break, and a cold front on January 6, some of the micro greens were good and ready, such as the arugula, the cucumbers and some of the different lettuce mixes. Others, however, such as the basil, had rotted and had to be  disposed of. Then still some other lettuce mixes, and parsley still had not grown fully. We tried a variation of techniques like adding vermiculite to some, putting some on heating pads, and even putting some in with other plants. The ones that did the best were the ones that were put on the heating pads.

My red sails lettuce mix was still not growing (besides a few sprouts), even though it was put on the heating pad, and was one of the more pampered. It was said to grow in 7-10 days, so, that discouraged me some. I believe it was because it was one of the older seed packets we had. Some things you can do that make your micro greens more likely to grow are, as we learned, putting them on heating pads to keep them warm (if you’re growing them when it’s not so warm outside), keeping them in a controlled environment, such as a green house, giving them good air flow, planting them in the spring (so they get more sunlight), and planting newer seeds. Some things I would like to experiment with given the chance to grow them again would be, putting a clear cover on them, growing them in a warmer environment,  or even putting them under warming lights.

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