Lettuce Growing Companions

GFPlettucechallengeWe have exactly two weeks remaining in the Lettuce Challenge and are looking forward to the 2016 Buttercrunch Awards, Wednesday, June 15, 4 pm at the GEC.  Last year the GEC hosted a showcase in our gallery of student lettuce plants, and we hope to see you there again this year.

The theme for this year’s Buttercrunch Awards and gallery is Lettuce Growing Companions.  Expect to see a colorful representation (and perhaps a potluck of tasting samples) of Lettuce Companion plants (carrots, radish, runner beans, cucumber, and strawberries) featured in the gallery alongside our lettuce because as it says on our favorite image of companion planting “A Diverse Garden is an Abundant Garden”.

companion-plantingWe hope to have a large cheering section for our young gardeners, their families, and teachers!   In the meantime, don’t forget to send us photos or questions to share from your lettuce growing adventures, innovations, experiments, and art projects.  Then check out our own growing notes and Buttercrunch spotting challenges below.

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This year, we are doing a little experiment exploring companion plants.  Can you spot the three Buttercrunch plants hidden among the Endive lettuce, African Blue Basil, Kale, Parsley, Rosemary?  This planter was arranged and planted by a fifth GEC volunteer, we can’t wait to see it grow.  We are curious to see how the parsley and lettuce grow together, as they are traditionally listed as poor growing companions.  Pictured below are some photos submissions of lettuce experiments with sub-irrigated pop bottle planters for lettuce and microgreens, closeups of spotting and removing aphids from Buttercrunch leaves, and an example of a vermicomposting experiment, compost was added around lettuce peat pots.  Good luck growers!  We look forward to seeing more photos from your school and student gardens

 

 

 Want to help with the Lettuce Challenge Buttercrunch Awards?

Please take a minute to answer our anonymous survey.  CLICK HERE so we can better reach our goals (teachers, community members and parents, we want to hear from you, whether or not you participated this year)

GOAL 1:  Encourage novice gardeners by challenging them to grow something edible, and take steps towards good nutrition
GOAL 2:  Have a showcase for our garden growth:  a celebration day (with awards!) for our new skills, and a venue to share the challenges and benefits of gardening in schools
GOAL 3:  Help school communities improve their gardening, and enrich their curriculum by connecting them to gardening resources and local partners

We also have a volunteer task list for those who want to help organize/decorate the gallery, prepare awards or welcome judges, provide/serve healthy refreshments, or collect feedback for Garden Fairchild Challenges at the GEC in the future.  Please email us at youth.director@gecgreenwich.org if you would like to be more involved.

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Here’s a different planter to practice spotting Buttercrunch lettuce:  two of our familiar plants are hidden among Endive Lettuce, Basil, African Blue Basil, Kale, and Thyme

 

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Family Nature Play | Windowsill Lettuce Challenge 2/15

What can you expect at this Sunday’s Family Nature Play?  Building with bottles, and a bonus for the birds for the first five families to identify the mystery photo (see below).  If you can’t join us on Sunday, we can reserve a DIY kit with your name on it.

Cos Cob weather.gov predicts:  “Partly sunny and cold, with a high near 13. Windy.”  But it’s a fresh, green, 71 degrees in the greenhouse.  Come play!  Workshop demos will take place at 2:00, 2:30, 3:00, and 3:30, and build time is approximately 15-20 minutes.  Please pre-register at http://gecgreenwich.org/familynatureplay.html $10/family.

In the workshop:  Build and take home a windowsill pop-bottle planter, with lettuce seeds.  It's your chance to join/support the lettuce challenge.  Check in with us in April, sharing photos from your windowsill garden, and be recognized as part of our special community recognition at the Lettuce Challenge awards on April 19th.
In the workshop: Each family can build and take home a windowsill mini pop-bottle planter, with lettuce seeds. It’s your chance to join/support the lettuce challenge.  In April you’ll have the opportunity to share photos from your windowsill garden experiment.  You can be recognized as one of our special community supporters at the Lettuce Challenge awards on April 19th.  Plus, it’s a recycled sub-irrigated planter (click for photo)!  What cooler way to geek out about the capillary action of soil, and what better excuse have you got this weekend to practice sharp tool skills and play with ‘dirt’ with the family? (Photo from Second Sunday Pollinator Workshop)
playful treasures hidden in plants for sale
You can also search for playful treasures hidden among our plants for sale.
Help us test out our Lettuce Challenge school workshop stations.  See anything growing with a "warm glow"?
Help us test out our Lettuce Challenge school workshop stations. Can you see anything growing that has the color “warm glow”?  (Pollinator photo contribution)
Check our our resources and use our art supplies in the classroom area.  We hope they will help you become better aquainted with the Lettuce Challenge, better windowsill gardeners and spring garden planners, and adventurous salad eaters.
Check our our resources and use our art supplies in the classroom area. We hope they will help you become better acquainted with the Lettuce Challenge, and maybe….  (Pollinator Artwork by Allison N.)
With green thumbs we'll be better windowsill gardeners, ready for spring gardening, and maybe even become adventurous salad eaters.
With green thumbs we’ll be better windowsill gardeners, ready for spring gardening, and maybe even become adventurous salad eaters.
Plant measuring and sketching.
Practice plant measuring, observation, and sketching.
Our teen pollinator photo challenge:  Can you find this mystery spot in the horticultural building?
HERE IT IS!  Our teen pollinator photo challenge: Can you find this mystery spot in the horticultural building?  (Mystery Photo Credit Pollinator Isobelle N., CMS)
Bonus:  first five families to sign up will get one of these suet feeders we made today with the mushrooms.  then pack up warm and take a hike on the trails with the family.  Backyard bird feeder watch
Your Bonus: The first five families to find the location of the mystery pollinator photo will get one of these suet feeders we made today with the mushrooms (our first experiment with the Cornell Lab’s Tallow recipe!).   Bundle up nice and warm, bring your binoculars, and take a hike on the trails with the family after you play in the workshop, because it’s the 18th annual Great Backyard Birdcount weekend – go citizen scientists!
If you can't join us on Sunday, but would like to support the lettuce challenge, please contact Deanna at youth.director@gecgreenwich.org to order a GIY (grow it yourself) Lettuce Challenge Kit (to pick up at the GEC) or consider becoming a member or joining our annual appeal.
If you can’t join us on Sunday, but would like to support and be a part of the lettuce challenge, please contact Deanna at youth.director@gecgreenwich.org to order a GIY (grow it yourself) Mini Lettuce Challenge Windowsill Kit for $10 to pick up at the GEC.  Supplies and building instructions for a pop bottle planter are included, with lettuce seeds.

If you would like to continue to support the GEC in our mission to promote horticulture, conservation, and the arts, and our new school outreach programs, please consider becoming a member, or donating to our annual appeal at www.gecgreenwich.org.