Archive for the ‘Lessons We've Learned’ Category

How to cook and save $

Keeping this short. Using an ipad to record and edit this cooking session. Our students did the whole thing, not our best quality but we literally just opened the box, downloaded imovie and started. Can’t wait to see how good these will get when we’ve had a chance to learn more. We have big ideas with this cooking “show” we did. More to come later.

3rd Annual G-3K run

Continuing to connect healthy food and exercise for our youth. 3rd annual event was booked for May 19. Look forward to positive #’s and positive participants.

Summer and growing

Things have changed a lot around the school as summer has arrived. We will still have students tend to the “crops” when they are out doing GYW or GGYW or just hanging around. However, we thought that it was a good idea to pay a “encourage” a student to come by on weekends an the odd day that they aren’t doing GYW. So we have a weekend employee. We’ve still been donating vegetables and we’re just trying to keep track of how things go over the summer. Definitely learning for next year.

Italian Parsley tastes GREAT!!

Rode our bikes with the trailer down to water the garden and finally fix the two weak ABS pipes (never buy thin ones they bend!!!). The lettuce and arugula are growing really well, we are going to have tons in the next week or so. Once they are decent sizes we’re going to transplant some so that they are actually in rows, the initial planting with no cedar dividers made it a bit messy, plus it was exciting for some students and they didn’t take their time. Lessons learned!

Our italian parsley is huge and we were talking about it and thought that we should try it. Normally this is not on the top of GFW students menu, but it tastes really good. Plan is to make a chicken salad tomorrow and put some in, soon it will be made with our own lettuce.

Also, in the top right photo there are two tomato sprouts (both corners) very tiny. Pretty cool that they’ve grown.

Greenhouse #2…prototype

Our student that built the balsa wood greenhouse is building a larger prototype (no screws…yet) of how were are going to build our pop bottle greenhouse. GFW always encourages the “learn from mistakes process”, and this is a perfect example. When we go to build and plan our larger pop bottle greenhouse, we’ll be 100% prepared and have some expertise.

Tomato plant sprouting? Plus, cedar dividers rock.

We installed cedar dividers ($7 to divide 2 boxes) because the string was constantly breaking. We should have done this from the start as it really helps with seeing where we should have planted seeds and also with knowing what is what because the seeds are in the square where they should be. More lessons.

Regardless, we are proud that so much is growing. The ironic thing that we’ve learned is that we have a tomato plant that is growing, not in a pop bottle greenhouse, but just close to it. We forgot to take a picture as we were adding a 3rd ABS pole to prevent the cloche from folding in. Using small ABS requires more of them as they bend too easily or we need to go with the thicker ones. (2–3/4″ ABS was $13).

Watering needed!!

Today we biked down to the garden to lay down the rest of the cloche, and checked out the box that already had cloche on it. We found out that the cloche easily┬áheated up the soil making it dry, considering that it rained yesterday, so we had to water both of the boxes making sure they don’t dry out. We will water lots since it’s going to be sunny for the rest of the week. Since we didn’t have anything good to hold the water in, one of our students cleverly decided to use the pop bottle we had over some seeds as a watering device, after that we cleaned out the boxes that had sticks in both of them, but when we were doing that we found more sprouts, they may be small but they’re growing.

By: A student

Go to the experts

There seems to be a very common theme popping up here. We do something, based on what we’ve read, thought or heard and it’s only partially correct or we need to modify what we’ve done. I”m going to list(GFW likes lists because they are to the point) what we can do a bit wiser next time.

  1. Go to a garden specialty store when you want to check anything. The staff are walking wikipedias!! We took a visit to Gardenworks and learned tons.
  2. Liquid seaweed fertilizer is good, concentrated and not plant specific. We were wise in buying some and believing all we read.
  3. cloches can be made from bamboo poles (triangle and tied at the top with plastic over top, clothes pegs holding it on). We may try building a cloche like this.
  4. Lettuce grows super quick and we’re planting some tomorrow so we can get some results asap.

Wind Beats Cloche

Went by and checked how the cloche did against the wind. I think based on what I saw, the cloche just needs more clamps on the top(used 2 originally)…possibly another pole across the middle. We didn’t install one because we figured the gap was small enough. That being said, there was a part that wasn’t saturated with water and I put my hand in there and it was really warm even though it was chilly out.

Cloche built. Lessons…


In order to help our veggies grow in this colder weather we built a cloche today. Two flexible PVC pipe$8/each, plastic (9×12 2mil) $5.50, copper clamps(8-$3), screws 1/4″(box of 50) $3.50. We went down to Solefood garden to check things out and get some tips/ideas and it’s a good thing we did because a lot of our hunches were confirmed.

  1. build shorter boxes (4 2×4’s high instead of 6 high) as this will save money. Boxes don’t need to be that tall.
  2. we don’t need to put the drainage rock in the bottom, just the filter fabric.
  3. instead of 4×4’s for corner posts we can use 2×6’s, much cheaper.
  4. When adding a cloche keep them low (like the photos above) because they get caught in the wind easier, plus they get warm quicker
  5. Our plan with the rain barrel was to put it high up and then we could attach a timer to make watering easier. We didn’t think it would work due to PSI and when talking to some staff members, this is exactly what they did. However, they aren’t sure if it works yet so we’ll need to recheck that later.
  6. We didn’t shop around for the materials for the cloche, after it was built, we found cheaper ways to construct it (will write about that once we have prices)

SOLEFOOD and B.O.B. have been super supportive in helping us get our garden up and running. Many of their modifications are similar to ours, mostly because we are using their original plans, and I’m glad that GFW is keeping track of our mistakes. As we grow and build more boxes we can become more streamlined and exact with costs and procedures.