Thursday, August 29, 2013

Thank You Farm Families For Working The Farm!

It takes a village to grow a farm. Our community has embraced that thought with so much enthusiasm and excitement and it never stops! During the summer, we have to keep things growing so that we have crops for the kids when school starts back in August. With live animals, we certainly need to supply them with all their needs and of course spoil them with fresh fruits and sorrel leaves. So, here is to the families that kept our farm growing goodness all summer long. Thanks for all that you do for our farm program! We couldn't do it without everyone's support. 
E I E I O.., it's off to school we go.

You too can get involved! Be on the lookout for farm events and your chance to volunteer on our farm.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

It's All About The Chicks

The chickens really do steal the show. They make our farm more of a farm. Live animals intrigue kids, especially our feathered friends. This summer, we had several families sign up to be chicken wranglers for a week. In doing so, they got to harvest eggs and hang out in the coop. The experience was great for all involved. 

Thanks Moss Haven Families for all that you do to help our farm program grow! We couldn't do it without your incredible support! 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Grand Prairie Texas - Making A Difference In The Garden

The City Of Grand Prairie lies between Dallas and Fort Worth Texas. The boundaries of the city run through four different counties with landscapes that vary from Blackland Prairie to the Eastern Cross Timbers region.  This summer, I headed out for a field trip led by Tammy Chan who is the Special Projects Coordinator for the City of Grand Prairie. Tammy has a strong passion for green living and has created many initiatives to help educate and support her community in and out of the garden. In fact she is part of the team who works on the city's green initiative called Green Grand Prairie.
Keep Grand Prairie Beautiful

My mission was to learn all that I could about the garden programs that the city supports. Most of the schools in the city have school gardens. Many of them have plots for the community on their school grounds as well. These gardens are not only teaching kids the tastiness of swiss chard and zucchini, but also the sense of community that working in the dirt teaches.

The Community Gardens have helped seniors grow fresh produce as well as bring crime rates down in communities that were falling apart. Some gardens are on church lots and some on private property that the city borrows to improve the community.  Every garden has to give some of their harvest to the city's  Farmer's Market program that helps fund the green initiatives. They also practice composting, vermicomposting and recycling.

With incredible support from the city, Grand Prairie is definitely leading the way in North Texas with their garden programs. They are creating relationships with the community and the dirt. This farmer was inspired and impressed!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Our Tower Garden

Since we are an American Heart Association Teaching Garden, there are many perks that go along with that.  This Fall, we got to pilot the Tower Garden for their Teaching Garden program. Typically the Tower Garden is used outside. Since there are many schools that can't have outdoor gardens, we are trying this system indoors, next to great big windows with full sun.

If you have ever been to Epcot in Florida, you may have seen their enormous hydroponic garden. The hydroponic system that we are using was invented by the same man who created the system for Disney. It is a pretty amazing system and yet another way to teach our kids to think outside the box, while working on gardening.

We have learned that some things grow as they should and others don't. For example, cucumbers do great, but tomatoes don't. The kids have decided that tomatoes probably need pollinators (like bees) to produce fruit. This is what they came up with, not me. The Master Gardeners who visited this week shared with us that the real reason is that the temperature isn't warm enough in our hallway for them to set fruit. It is really amazing to see the knowledge that the kids acquire from the farm! They have also become big fans of cucumbers, which is a good thing because we were producing them by the dozen.

We are currently starting our second round of crops in our hydroponic garden. We can see what happens with warmer temperatures and tomatoes. More learning on its way!