Last week, Center High School’s garden club toured Kansas City Community Garden’s Beanstalk and greenhouse. Typically, we host tours through the Beanstalk between March and early November when the plants are alive and growing. Still determined to come out and visit, I warned them that the Beanstalk will look a lot different during the winter months.
We started our tour looking at the plants that had died back and talked about how at the end of the growing season the plants produce seeds. These seeds can then be harvested and saved or naturally fall off the plant, growing a new plant in the warmer spring months.
Garlic Chives going to seed
Licorice plant seed pods
They had fun exploring the inside of the luffa and discovered that the gourd seeds are found nestled inside the spongy plant.
Then we looked for the plants that were still alive and growing. We found kale growing under row cover and talked about how to extend the growing season for plants. This is done by adding a thick layer of straw mulch and covering the plants with row cover. If the winter is not to terribly cold this technique will keep the plants alive and continuously growing through the winter and into spring.
To my surprise, we found a few herbs that survived the freezing temps. Students took turns smelling the leaves and guessing the name of each herb.
This plant had them all stumped. Visually looking similar to the lavender herb, some said it smelled like, “butter”, “maple syrup”, and others “bacon”. They were all surprised to find out it was in fact a curry plant.
Center High School has a greenhouse at the high school and is very interested in eventually using it to grow, so we stopped in to chat with Stacy our greenhouse manager.
Stacy talked about the steps she takes to grow the vegetable transplants that we sell in the spring and answered student’s questions they had about greenhouse maintenance.
We wrapped up our winter garden tour up by replanting basil transplants they could take and enjoy at home.
I had a great time visiting Center High School’s garden club. It was fun to see their wonder and enthusiasm for learning and the the Beanstalk garden did not disappoint!! There was still so much to explore and learn about even in early months of winter.
Thanks, Center High School garden club for visiting Kansas City Community Gardens!