Elyssa, 4th grade student at Southampton Elementary planting purple and green kale.

Elyssa, fourth grade student at Southampton Elementary planting purple and green kale.

Fit4Kids certainly hasn’t let the cool weather slow down garden activities at our partner schools! We’re all still actively engaged in garden activities – both inside and out. Students have learned the importance of properly winterizing the garden, not only to help plants survive during the colder months, but to ensure that the garden will produce healthy and delicious produce in the Spring.

Before the first frost students prepared the gardens by cleaning out the beds and planting cold-tolerant winter plants (lettuce, kale, collards, spinach, chard, bok choy, mustard greens, radishes, carrots, beets, etc.). Students also planted durable Austrian Winter Peas, which we use to add nutrients to the soil and ultimately produce a great deal of organic material that will be composted and made available for our spring gardens! To help keep these plants warm, students covered the beds with remay, a white, porous sheet that lets in all the things a plant needs (light, water, and air), while simultaneously trapping heat under its covers.

Now that we’re half way through these winter months, it’s a great time to start mulching in our garden beds. Mulching in mid-winter won’t undo any damage that may have been done, but can surely prevent any additional harm caused by fluctuating spring soil temperatures. February is also an ideal time to think about birds. Be sure to keep your feeders full so you can attract birds to your garden all year long!

 

Source: http://pss.uvm.edu/ppp/articles/febtips4.htm

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