To celebrate the beginning of gardening season, TTJ had the opportunity to share the joy with some beginning gardeners. Eleven families whose children won their very own raised bed gardens through the Gro-Jericho kids’ essay/drawing contest received frames, stakes, soil, and other useful items just in time for planting.
The winners ranged in age from about just under six to just over thirteen. Their dreams and goals varied from standard northern vegetable crops like peas, carrots, and tomatoes to bed-filling items like sunflowers, squash, and corn. Some of the children wanted to grow flowers. One young man proposed filling his raised bed with “a billion percent dandelions” to help the bees.
Three members of the TTJ Steering Committee delivered the raised beds. What a joyful privilege that was! As we pulled in with a trailer full of soil and a van with their 4x6’ garden frames onboard, children raced out of their homes with eyes a shine, some of them jumping up and down with excitement while others retained a sophisticated demeanor of responsibility. This garden, they knew, would take a lot of care and work.
We got to see where the kids planned to place their gardens. Some spots had an expansive view. Others were tucked into cozy, sunny nooks. One bed would be placed by the family’s trampoline to make it easier to remember to tend it. The young gardeners explained where they’d get water and how they might protect their gardens from deer, bugs, and bunnies. Gardening requires a lot of adaptability. Conditions can change overnight. But the proud owners of these new raised beds have done their homework and they’re ready for the challenge. The TTJ website has already started receiving photos of children with big smiles and muddy hands, and gardens marked out with strings and row labels. It will be exciting to see how their gardens grow!
Wants to grow: Carrots, peas, corn, beans, tomatoes, pumpkins
Charlotte & Aiden-
Wants to grow: Carrots, cucumbers, green beans, and flowers
Hazen and Cally-
Wants to grow: crow carrots, cherry tomatoes, peppers, peas, cucumbers, basil, and other herbs like chives, parsley, thyme, oregano, cilantro, tomatoes, garlic, and some flowers like Zinnias and sunflowers.
Wants to grow: Marigolds to keep pets away, pollinators to get butterflies and bees, bush beans my favorite vegetable, sunflowers they are so pretty, corn cus it is sweet and ground cherries the one tomato I like.
Daisy and Oliver -
Wants to grow: strawberries, flowers, basil , green beans, nasturtiums and spinach
Ziji and Audrey -
Wants to grow: carrots, pumpkins, snap peas, tomatoes, cucumbers, watermelon, dino kale, and flowers
Wants to grow: Black Beauty, Pokedot Blend, roggil riesen, strawflower
Wants to grow: Snap peas, pumpkins, cucumbers, potatoes, carrots, and lots and lots of flowers!
Jackson, Ronin and Bodhi White -
Wants to grow: I would grow roses, peas, sunflowers, tomatoes, carrots, lettuce and pumpkins; 100000000% dandil lion, 4 seed packs dandil lions, tiger lily and peas; daffodils, carrots, irises, sungold tomatoes, peas,
Juniper and Oliver -
Want to grow: tomatoes, peas and corn
Could Jericho build local food sovereignty? And if we did, what would that look like?
The GRO-Jericho Kids Garden Contest is a pilot project that Transition Town Jericho embarked on this spring. This is a small way to reach into the community and start sharing the idea of growing your own food.
With a goal of giving away ten 4’x 6’ gardens, the TTJ team advertised at the Jericho Town Library and The Deborah Rawson Library. The rules were very easy; just describe in writing or draw a picture of what you would like to grow in your garden.
We received eleven entries in the contest and it was decided to award them all a garden. We got several pictures submitted with the contest applications. Pictured here is Bodhi with his artwork. He said he’d like to grow daffodils, carrots, irises, sungold, tomatoes and peas.
Our Steering Committee was excited to meet these new gardeners, as we delivered the beds to all of the homes in the week leading up to Mother’s Day. Later this summer, we’ll be visiting the kids to see how their gardens are growing.
Congratulations to the First Annual Kids Garden Contest winners!
Irene and Dave here:
On April 25, Transition Town Jericho presented a 90 minute hands-on gardening experience at the Jeri-Hill Retirement Community. TTJ donated the 4’ by 6’ raised garden bed, and UVM Master Gardener Eric Hill assembled it on site for about twenty or so people. Besides the JeriHill residents, a couple families and children who entered TTJ’s Kid’s Garden Contest attended as well and eagerly helped move the dirt!
Eric guided folks through setting up the raised bed garden, sharing the following information:
Why use a raised bed? It drains better, warms the soil faster, and adds two to three weeks more growing time to the season. It decreases weed and pests, and helps build better soil.
Building your raised bed garden box
Steer clear of pressure-treated wood. Pine can work; cedar lasts longer. Synthetics are now available as well. Start with 6” depth; you can always go to 12” later on.Four feet across is ideal so you can reach the middle, and it can be any length.You can place the garden right on sod by putting down a layer of cardboard or several layers newspaper; soak it with water before adding the soil. One-half cubic yards of soil will fit into a 4’x 6’ garden
How to site your raised bed
Find a location that is easily accessible, and make sure there is abundant sunlight (ideally more than eight hours per day) in that location. Also, consider drainage in that spot; not too much water and ideally close to a water source for easy watering during dry times.
Lasagna Gardens are a type of raised bed. You build a lasagna garden by alternating layers of carbon and nitrogen source materials. Carbon comes from newspaper, leaves, and straw and nitrogen comes from manure, grass clippings and compost.
Other Factors to consider:
Frost Dates Last frost (mid to late May) and first frost (mid to late October). Spinach and peas are frost tolerant and can be planted outside before most other crops.
Days to Maturity Counted if you seed directly into the ground.
Start plants indoors Eric recommended this to extend your growing season.
Space requirements for the plants If you plant to densely, leaves can’t dry out and might mildew as well as easier access for pests to spread. Trellising is a good option. Experiment!
Layout Tall plants should go in the back (north side) so they don’t block sun from low-lying plants. Eric recommended planning out your garden on paper for added success.
Compost With access to water, air and heat you can make your own!
Water in the early morning (best) or in the evening (next best). If soil is moist two inches down, you can skip watering, Eric said.
Thanks to Eric for coming out and sharing his expertise for this event!