Readying the Garden for Cold Weather
November 15, 2013 - The gardeners took advantage of a beautiful fall day to enjoy snack and a walk or run along the Yellow Brick Road. Mrs. Tina brought some buckwheat seeds and a child-friendly rake. The gardeners spent some time loosening and then smoothing the soil in the raised beds. Mrs. Tina gave each gardener a small handful of seeds to scatter and cover. When the raised beds are no longer being used for produce and winter is coming, a cover crop is planted. Cover crops help by adding organic matter, increasing usable nitrogen, preventing erosion, keeping weeds to a minimum, and preventing soil compaction. The Clover Buds gardeners then worked on a special Thanksgiving craft, to be completed next week. The Grizzly Gardeners checked their Berlese funnels (insect catchers) from last week and went on a lichen hunt. They learned that lichens represent a symbiotic relationship and are comprised of two, or sometimes three different organisms: one, an alga or cyanobacteria, to make food out of carbon dioxide and water via photosynthesis, and the other, a fungus, to provide shelter and moisture. Then, the Grizzly gardeners played a puzzle game to work together and learn about symbiosis.
Mrs. Regina and Mrs. Tina helped the children plan to keep the raised beds' soil in good condition this winter by planting a cover crop of buckwheat.
Often mistaken for mosses, lichens are one indicator of air quality. During the industrial revolution, entire swaths of forest lost lichens due to air pollution. In recent years, there has been a resurgence in lichen growth in most of these areas.