Learning Opportunity - Kids In The Garden

We have had a very fun, adventurous, and long week so I was feeling quite exhausted today. Since it was a nice rainy day I took the opportunity to rest! I even took a nap!! Kaliah wanted to let me rest too so she decided to go out to do the garden harvest today! Those that have been following us for a while know I like to let her go do the harvest on her own so she can learn. Yes, there have been times we lost a fruit or plant, but that is how she learns! Today we had a learning opportunity. She picked two ears of corn that weren't quite ready. They were in fact in the milking stage but the tips were still a bit pointy and not plump. I showed her what to look for, how the silks weren't dried out yet, how the tips felt more triangled vs round, etc. so now next time she will harvest them at just the right time. She also accidentally cut the bean vine that was wrapped around the corn in the process of harvesting. I'm a bit sad about that admittedly but of course, I didn't tell her that. I just simply, calmly, and lovingly explained how next time it is important to be careful and look at everything that is around when harvesting and explained that the top half of that bean vine is no longer connected to its roots and will die off. I didn't want her to feel bad. I just wanted her to learn. I encourage you to let your littles do this too! You may lose a few things and that is okay because you are giving them so much more.

I also wanted to display the difference between a tomato plant in a first year BTE garden and a second year BTE garden. Same seed pack, same variety..... both plants are healthy looking and producing. The one in the first year BTE garden is producing much smaller fruits. Still juicy and tasty. Just small. The ones in the second year BTE is producing larger fruits. Not grand but certainly good. I expect next year to see grand tomatoes in that garden. ;) The reason for this is because the first year BTE is planted in the native soil below all the woodchips. The woodchips have not yet broken down, therefore, there is no 'compost' material feeding the plants. The worms and millipedes have yet to take over the area, the mycorrhizae association has yet to take place. In the second year BTE garden, this process has begun. The chips are composting down, the worms and millipedes are present....every time it rains the plants are getting a drink of compost tea. We did use some homemade compost in some of the planting holes in the first year BTE garden, particularly where the cucumbers and squash are, but we did not do this for the tomatoes simply because of time. You can see the difference clearly. But it's still important to allow the plants to grow as the roots are working the soil and the plants play an important part of readying the soil for the next round of plants. It is part of the growing process.

So...if you have a new BTE garden, don't give up. Be patient. You will see results by year 2. By year 3 it gets better and better.

She also found a missed Armenian cucumber that got pretty big. She was totally impressed. Haha. I know that feeling when I go out to harvest and find something totally awesome.
lol. And we DID have a few good handfuls of blackberries but somehow only 3 made it inside to me. tehehe. I'm so happy she had access to fresh, juicy, organic blackberries right from the plant as she was out there harvesting. She enjoyed them. :)

With lots of loveKindred Acres
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