Thursday, September 1, 2011

Mary, Mary, quite contrary... does your garden grow?

Here is a series of photos showing how the NCS garden changed over the course of the summer.

What changes do you observe over time?

June 8:

June 28:

 July 12:

 July 18:

July 23:

August 2:

August 5:

August 17:

August 31:

Here's a (sort of) "time lapse" video using most of the above photos:

Video Clips

What were YOU doing on your last day of summer vacation?

We know what this family was up to!!

Learn directly from four current and former NCS students about the data they collected at the garden.


Last Family Data Collection

Thanks to the help of many NCS families, we now have a summer's worth of data, photos and videos! We'll be working to upload some of these to the blog, and will also be making use of them with the students at school.

Here are some samples of the fabulous work done by the Monson family just yesterday (August 31):
(Click on the photos to enlarge them.)

The whole garden:

This side of the garden was watered only by natural rainfall all summer:

This side of the garden was also watered with water from our rain barrels:

Do you observe any differences between the two sides?

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

School Begins Tomorrow!

I just wanted to take a moment to thank all of the families who helped tend the New Century School garden over the summer.  It has truly been a wonderful experience watching the garden change and grow over the past few months.

With school starting tomorrow, Mr Gundlach and the 2/3 students will be organizing and looking over all of the data collected this summer and will be providing you with updates on what they find, and what continues to happen.


Monday, August 22, 2011

Abundant Harvest

The summer has been good to the NCS garden. 
We have been picking (and still are) many zucchini from both sides of the garden.  And what a treat it is!

NCS students eating some of the zucchini they harvested, YUM!

The beans have are hitting their peak as well, and they are equally delicious!
The beans have been the one area where the data collectors have begun to see a big difference in the two sides of the garden.  While all the plants look very healthy, it seem the rain barrel side is definitely out producing the rain only side.  Last Friday, hardly any beans were harvested from the rain only side, while over 2 dozen were collected from each of the rain barrel plants that were measured.

The corn should be ready for harvest soon, and we will get a glimpse of the damage the beetles have been doing inside of the ears of corn.  They are still very present in the garden.

School will be starting next week, and soon you will be getting some blogging action from the students themselves.  I, for one, am very excited to hear about what they think about their seeds they planted in the last days of school.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Zucchini galore (and beans soon!)

The garden is in full swing!  Vegetables are being picked and others are coming up right on their heals.
When I visited the garden on Tuesday the zucchini had just been harvested the day before.  But fear not!  If the numerous flowers are any indication - there will be many more in the near future.

The beans are also gearing up to be harvested very soon.  I saw lots of beans growing and many more blossoms to keep the gardeners busy in the near future.

Ah.... but all is not well in the garden.  The corn is being invaded.  Evidently us humans at NCS are not the only ones awaiting a scrumptious corn on the cob treat (and they are not as patient)  Get ready for a big EEWWWW!!
 Yep - the Japanese beetles really like the corn.  They have eaten the silk off of every ear and it doesn't look like they will stop there.  Does anyone want to guess what those yellowish spots on the leaf above the beetles are?  I think we will be seeing more beetles in the weeks to come.

Overall the garden is looking great.  The bountiful growth on both sides makes you think about how much watering a garden really needs and how much water would be saved when that water comes from a faucet instead of rain barrels.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Busy days in the garden

What a busy week we had in the garden.  The week started with a much needed weeding party!

Thank you to all who helped!  The garden looks beautiful and in true reduce, reuse, recycle spirit the two PACKED bins of weeds were a yummy treat to one of the NCS families chickens.
a little weedy snack for the chickens
The same day, we also thinned out the zucchini.  Armed with a shovel, ready to dig those zucchini out, I quickly learned that all I needed was two hands and a little pull. 
Turns out, those big zucchini plants have quite a small root structure.  I was amazed that such tiny roots could supply the plants with all they needed to produce such a large plant.
rotting zucchini fruit
One problem that we have been noticing with the zucchini, is that some of the fruit have been rotting on the vine before they fully develop.  Any suggestions or ideas?

Overall, the garden is doing great.  Gardeners have noticed that the rain barrel side (on right) generally has fuller plants with more flowers, while the rain only side seems to be producing larger zucchini so far.  Interesting.
Ears of corn with silk coming out the top have appeared on both sides.

And, beans are growing here and there.  Yum!
I cant wait to report what this weeks gardeners find.  If you cant wait until next week, stop by the garden and explore yourself.  We would love to hear what you see!  (don't be afraid to hop the fence and take a gentle look under the leaves, that is where most of  mother nature's magic happens)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

So Much Growing Going On

So many changes have been taking place.  Some big and some so small that if you aren't looking you might miss them (like I did!)
look at the garden grow!!!

At first glance the shear size of the garden is evident.  A total of 9 zucchini were harvested this week!
Can you count the number of zucchini on just this one plant?
And from the looks of things there will be many more to harvest in the weeks to come.
Everything is growing very well and the rain we received the last 3 mornings should help keep it up.  The gardeners this week have started to notice a few differences in the two sides.  One is the number of flowers and fruit growing on the zucchini plants seem to be greater on the rain barrel side.  Not by much - but there is a difference.  Also they noticed that the bean plants seemed to be fuller on the rain barrel side as well.  We will have to keep and eye out to see if those differences become even bigger.
flower on left and bean on right?  you decide!

Speaking of beans - we found what we think to be a bean starting to grow.  What do you think?

The corn wins in my book for the biggest and the smallest change (that I missed on first inspection)
Not only is it outgrowing some of our current and future students...
...we have tassels to report on the corn growing on both sides.
And now for the change that I read about in the data collection book and had to go back to get a picture of...drum-roll please!

Tiny little ears of corn have started to grow!  One thing to note about this is that while they are growing on the two remaining plants on the rain barrel side - I could not see any on the rain only side...yet.  We will have to keep our eyes peeled!

One last thing I would like to mention is the weeds - oh do we have weeds.  If you look at the first picture you can see them in the background.  To combat these unwanted plants we have decided to do a large scale weeding tomorrow (Monday) at noon.  So if you are free and would like to get a closer look at whats growing and help pull a few weeds - stop on down to New Century School.  I will bring drinks and a few snacks - but you may want to bring some glove to wear and any tools you may think will help.  Hope to see you there!!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Flowers Appear in the Garden!

Wow!  The garden sure is getting big.  The plants have been loving all this wonderful hot summer weather.  Even only one day of rain has not hindered the rain only side.  Everything is growing well on both sides.

Flowers are blooming on both the zucchini and bean plants.  Do you know what comes next?  Well, here is a preview of things to come when I took a glimpse of the garden today...
Yep, that is the first zucchini harvest!!
And there are many, many more beginning their transformation into yummy zucchini for us to eat.
Do any of you have favorite things you like to eat with zucchini as an ingredient?  I have a feeling the gardeners in the upcoming weeks are going to need lots of ideas to put all of the zucchini harvested to use.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Flower Buds Appear! (and some other guests)

The plants are beginning to flower...almost!!!

can you spot the beginnings of a zucchini flower?

what about a tiny little bean bud?

And let's not forget about the corn.  Ever hear the saying "knee high by the fourth of July"?  Well it looks like our corn is right on track.

 One thing that surprised me about the garden was the lack of a difference between the two side.  I couldn't believe there appeared to be no difference considering we went almost 2 weeks without rain.
Rain only

with watering from the rain barrels

The weeds also seem to be doing well in this hot weather and once again  the weeks gardeners will have their work cut out for them.  Lots of crabgrass and lambs quarters are all around the garden.  I think we may be putting down some mulch to help with the weed control.

This past weeks gardeners also saw some bunny evidence left behind.  Can anyone guess what that could be?  Lets hope they were just peeking in and don't have any plans to taste our beautiful garden.

One last thing to report is the presence of another unwanted guest.  Japanese Beetles.
munching on the corn leaves

hanging out on the zucchini plants

Stay tuned!!  Things are really starting to kick into gear at the New Century Garden!!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

What a difference a week makes.

I could hardly believe my eyes when I stopped by for a quick watering of the garden today.  This hot weather seems to be just what the plants needed to get a great start.  I almost believe I could watch them get bigger if I just stood there long enough.
There are a couple things to note this week. 
One is the lack of difference between the natural rainfall side and the side that gets extra help from the rain barrels  Aside from the lesser of number of plants that originally came up on the natural rainfall side,  all the plants seem to be growing at the same rate.
Another thing, was the lesson learned about the nature of corn.  While you can definitely tell it is corn now, because it is in the grass family, it looked a lot like the unwanted grass that was coming up in the garden, and some of the corn seedlings disappeared during the weeding. Some of the plants that got weeded were the plants that were flagged for data collection on the rain barrel side.  Luckily, there were two corn plants left, and they were newly flagged to become our data collection plants for the rest of the summer.
Speaking of weeds, they are doing great in this weather as well.  Looks like next weeks gardners will have some work cut out for them.

Lets not forget the beans and zucchini.  They both are doing great.  It looks like we may have some flowers on the plants to report in the near future and in no time at all we will be collecting our first harvest!! 
Exciting things happening in the New Century Garden. 
Fell free to stop by for yourself and see how the seeds the students planted are growing, growing, growing.