Ellie's Garden


Intern Profile 

I have always enjoyed working in gardens since I was young and I would harvest small gardens with my grandma, and father. I also wish to work in the garden as the product is going to a good cause.

Two of my personal goals for working at the Dallas Youth Garden this summer are:  
1. Become more self-advocating in the way I ask questions.
2. Produce 90% or more of my target yield.

Two things I hope to learn for working at the Dallas Youth Garden are: 
1. I hope to learn when to harvest crops so they are at their peak, as I often have difficulty determining when vegetables may be ready for harvest.
2. Learn the fundamentals of planning and caring for a garden during the summer.

I think my biggest challenge will be: 
Evaluating when to harvest crops, as I sometimes have difficulty knowing when produce is ripe.

My favorite vegetable or fruit is: 
Yellow squash, because I find it both versatile as well as one of the first vegetables I really started to enjoy growing then cooking with. I personally prefer the straight necked variety as I believe it is easier to cut up into pieces.

I think a leader is: 
Someone who is willing to step up and take responsibility for a group, and someone who leads by example, showing others what to do. 

I hope to contribute this leadership skill to the garden this season: 
I hope to contribute positivity and determination skills to this garden.


Garden Plan

Vegetables and Flowers Planted: 
Marigolds
Yellow Squash
Beans
Cabbage
Tomatoes (delicious and one oregon star on the end)
Carrots
Radishes
Cucumber
Cabbage
Beets
Acorn Squash
Radishes
Yellow Squash
Marigolds
Butternut Squash
Cucumber
Peppers

Rows of vegetables planted: 17


Number of different kinds of vegetables planted: 13


Planned Garden Yield: 331 lbs

Planned Biggest Producer: Yellow Squash

Time Sheet: 

May Days Off: 0
     Extra Days: 0
     Days Late: 0
June Days Off: 0
      Extra Days: 0
      Days Late: 0
July Days Off: 0
    Extra Days: 0
    Days Late: 0
August Days Off: 4
         Extra Days: 2
         Days Late: 0
September Days Off: 
                Extra Days:
                Days Late: 

Total Days Off: 

Final Thoughts: 

My favorite vegetable was cabbage.  
        Because: It's such a pretty plant, I like the way that it grows outward then inward and kinda looks like a flower growing in reverse. It was also the most fun to harvest, because you get to tear off the outer leaves to reach the stem which is oddly satisfying.

My most productive vegetable was zucchini and I harvested 131.2 Pounds. 

My least  productive vegetable was bush beans and I harvested 3.7 Pounds. 

My total harvest for the year was 517 Pounds.

My favorite job was: I loved row weeding, it was really fun picking out the tiny weeds in the smaller rows like carrots, beets, and radishes. There's something that is kinda calming about the repetitive nature of it and really getting to just work with your hands in the soil.

My least favorite job was: I was not the biggest fan of watering. Between the dragging, untangling, and trying not to crush plants with the hose, and then having to walk in between skin irritating plants like the squash was not my favorite.

I  could have done better at:  Managing my tomatoes plants so they didn't grow quite so unmanageable.

I did the best I could doing:  Growing/spacing cabbages to the best of my ability.

The two things I learned most at the garden this year were:   

1. How many different ways to weed there are such as hand pulling near smaller more delicate regions, using a wiggle hoe for the smaller weeds, and then the big hoe for clearing between rows and just cutting the plants.

2. How to trim tomatoes so they produce more and grow less, by cutting off the second forward vine that is right next to the producing vine so you still get the tomatoes, but cut off forward growth without taking too much. 

Bonus: That I love the taste and texture of a good acorn squash soup. I had never had acorn squash before this so it was a nice thing to get to try.



Garden Log

May 9: Finished garden plan and began planting the first 4 rows in the garden including marigolds, yellow squashes, beans, and cabbage.
May 16: Planted 5 more rows and learned how to plant tomatoes.
May 23: Finished planting my garden, and managed to fit in another row of radishes in-between two squashes.
May 30: Watered my garden routinely, and weeded in between rows. Created my garden sign and had the t-shirt voting.
June 6: Planted other side of bean row, and weeded the marigolds, cabbages, and carrots.
June 13: Weeded in between rows, and around squashes.
June 20: Weeded around the garden, laid straw on a few rows and thinned radishes.
June 27: Laid more straw, harvested 2lbs of radishes, and straightened out the tomatoes in cages.
July 4th: Harvested zucchini and radishes, finished straw and watered my garden. 
July 11th: Harvested more zucchini and yellow squash. Watered and weeded my garden, then noticed one tomato plant was dying so I decided to investigate and turn it into my leadership project.
July 18th: Harvested zucchini, cabbage and squash. Weeded out the beets, and bean rows.
July 25th: Harvested zucchini, squash, and beans. Fertilized squashes and tomatoes. 
August 1st: Harvested squash, zucchini, and beans. Weeded along paths parallel to my garden, the beans, cabbages, and the cucumber rows.
August 8th: Was absent from garden all three days.
August 15th: Harvested squash, zucchini, cabbages. Weeded beets, and tomatoes. Came up with an August leadership project.
August 21st: Weeded in between various rows, trimmed tomatoes, picked zucchini and squash. Wrote up my August leadership project. Learned about how our vegetables get distributed and helped out on Monday. 
August 28th: Picked flowers Monday Morning. Weeded around squashes, stopped watering flowers, and picked squash as well as zucchini. Was absent on the 28th.
September 1st: I edited my website to be up to date, and added my pounds collected later today after I see my sheet. Wrote up my September leadership project.

June  Leadership Project:

Problem: The Dallas Youth Garden team needed a means of identification as well as an opportunity to advertise who we are. 
Solution: A team T-shirt that will explain our relation to the DYG, as well as a fun slogan to promote our specific year. 
Test/Activity: Designing a T-shirt by asking for input and developing ideas, then requesting sizes, ordering, and delivering products.
Results: A group T-shirt. 
Communication: We communicated very early on potential slogans as well as colors, and then voted around May 30th and asked for sizes on June 24th. I also plan on wearing my T-shirt when it arrives 
Leadership Skill: I believe I got to practice the leadership skills of communication and teamwork as there was a team of three of us that needed to work together to accomplish our goal, to do this we created a group chat where we discussed potential designs, how to ask for input, and then who needed to be doing what in the group.

July  Leadership Project:

Problem:  One of my tomato plants is yellowing and wilting in on itself, and I'm not sure why so I need to figure out the cause and seek a solution. 

Solution: After research I have found that it could either be a cause of over or under watering, or a type of bacteria eating away at the plant. In the first two cases the solution would be being more attentive to how much I water it, and if it is a disease eating away at it, then treating or disposing of it would be the solution.

Test/Activity: Break off a branch and cut out a cross-section to see if the veins were brownish red which is caused by bacteria, if-else then attempt to be more cautious of how much I water it and to do it steadily. I will also take pictures of it every day I work out there to monitor the progress.

                  July 11th                                         July 14th                                          July 16th                                       July 18th                                         July 23rd
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Results: After preforming the test I realized that the cross sections did not resemble the bacterial infection, and proceeded to continue watering to see if there would be any change in growth, however after a couple weeks with little to no change I took the research further and found a different supposed reason for the crop to be so stunted and malformed, which was the curly tops disease that typically passes from beet hopper insects to tomatoes. The best thing to do, if it is the curly top disease, would be to remove the plant before the disease passes off to the neighboring plants which I did on July 25th by removing the entire plant and putting it in the furthest corner of the compost pile.


When comparing my logging pictures to the Curly Top Virus I think it is very likely infected by the curly top virus.
tomato pic 2 
Image source: Koike, S. T., & Gilbertson, R. L. (2010, August 24). Curly Top Disease Occurring on Coastal Tomato and Pepper. Retrieved July 30, 2020, from https://ucanr.edu/blogs/blogcore/postdetail.cfm?postnum=3352

Communication: I communicated about my leadership project to the group on July 25th.

August Leadership Project:

Problem: A lot of people might not know how to cook acorn squash.
Solution: Research and developed recipes to cook acorn squash and post them on this website.
Test/Activity: Follow the recipe I create to see if it works out and is a legitimate recipe.
Results: I cut the squash in half and baked one savory side, and one sweet side, both were good. I then decided to try another method of preparing it and took the savory side mashed it up with some cream and chicken broth and turned it into a soup that was also very pleasant. 
Recipes:
                                                                                                        Sweet Baked Acorn Squash:
 INGREDIENTS:

1 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
A pinch of salt (to bring out the sweet flavor)
 DIRECTIONS:

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2) Cut open an acorn squash from top to bottom, and scoop out the seeds. 
2.5) Optionally you can score the inside of the squash so that more surface area will be covered.
3) Pour the oil in one half of the whole squash and rotate it so the oil coats all of it.
4) Sprinkle the brown sugar over it until evenly spread out. 
5) Sprinkle a touch of salt over the sugar to enhance flavor. 
6) In oven safe dish place squash flesh side up in the preheated oven for about an hour to an hour and a half.
6) Take out of oven, let cool, enjoy!


                                                                                                      Savory Baked Acorn Squash
 INGREDIENTS:
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Clove garlic minced    
1 tsp salt 
A sprinkle of Italian seasoning

 DIRECTIONS:
1) Preheat oven 400 degrees
2) Cut open an acorn squash from top to bottom, and scoop out the seeds. 
2.5) Optionally you can score the inside of the squash so that more surface area will be covered.
3) Mix oil, garlic, and salt together to help prevent garlic from burning. Alternatively you can just replace garlic, salt, and Italian seasoning with garlic salt. 
4) Pour the oil mixture in one half of the whole squash and rotate it so the oil mixture coats all of it.
5) Sprinkle the italian seasoning over it till evenly spread out. 
6) In oven safe dish place squash flesh side up in the preheated oven for about an hour to an hour and a half.
7) Take out of oven, let cool, enjoy!

                                                                                                     Creamy Acorn Squash Soup
 INGREDIENTS:
Savory Baked Acorn Squash (see other recipe)
2 Tbsp Heavy Cream
1 Cup Chicken Broth (or Vegetable broth)
Garlic salt to taste

1) Prepare the Savory Baked Acorn Squash recipe posted above.
2) Scoop out the seasoned and baked flesh of the squash into bowl.
3) Mash squash till no big chunks remain, or blend in a blender or food processor with some chicken broth, but make sure to cool down if doing those methods.
4) Add the chicken broth and heavy cream and mix thoroughly.
5) Optionally you can pass through a mesh strainer to get out any chunks or unwanted seasoning pieces from the Italian seasoning. 
6) Taste to check for temperature and taste. Heat in pan to warm up, and then adjust your ingredients according to taste, add more garlic salt if needed.
7) Enjoy!


Communication: I told the group about my squash recipes on Tuesday the 24th. 

September  Leadership Project:

Problem: Gardeners want to make sure they are using their space to maximize benefits which calls for an understanding of what varieties and crops work best for the soil, 
climate, and watering conditions as well as several other less noticeable factors. In my case I wish to explore which variety of tomato plant variety is best suitable for our gardens. (Oregon Star or Delicious varieties)

Solution: One solution is to test them in the garden and see which grows best in our soil, and produces the most comparatively, as well as how difficult they are to work with or not. Then to use the results to perhaps plan out better tomato harvests for future uses. 

Test/Activity: At the start of the gardening season I purposefully planted a row of mostly Delicious tomatoes, but also included an Oregon Star variety on the end so I could compare the plants and determine which one works best in our garden. I then spent the summer mentally documenting the differences and which variety produced the most tomatoes, produced earliest, and was more manageable. 

Results: I found that both tomato varieties grew pretty well, and produced quite a bit few tomatoes. The Oregon Star variety did seem to start ripening a little earlier, and also had more malleable limbs which was very nice to work with getting them back in cages in comparison to the Delicious plants that has limbs that would be fairly difficult to maneuver back in the cage without snapping as well as simply growing more upwards than outwards. The Delicious variety on the other hand had a tendency to grow outside of the cages even with careful management, the Delicious variety also appeared to grow more in general which produced more tomatoes than the Oregon Star.  In conclusion though it may be personal preference I preferred the Oregon Star for the ease of working with the vines, as well as the quicker ripening.(I had about 3 or 4 red tomatoes from the Oregon Star before I had even one from the other tomato variety even with having more tomato plants of the Delicious variety planted.)  I imagine the Delicious variety would be a valuable addition to many gardens given how many tomatoes it produces, but given the time constraints and having to balance where to put our time I at least was unable to fully take advantage of this and many vines would either snap, fall to the ground, or take the plant with them while falling, even with supports. I then got curious as to what other people have thought about the two varieties and found that one reason the Oregon Star may be more manageable is due to it being a determinate tomato plant meaning it will only grow to a fixed height and will tend to grow up instead of out. In comparison the Delicious variety is a producer of some of the  largest tomato production as well as having a appropriately delicious taste, but these benefits do come with a few potential downsides. Those downsides being that it is an indeterminate variety meaning it can keep growing if not being trimmed back constantly which can be a difficulty when balancing time between all the crops, also the weights can often be too great for cages to support if this growing continues too far. It really is a pretty clear correlation between the produce the varieties create to the amount of work they require the Oregon Star being less demanding, but also less productive, and the Delicious being a potential bigger producer, but at the cost of more time and dedication. One tip for dealing with the Delicious is to start pruning earlier by cutting off the "suckers (axillary shoots between the stems and the leaves)" as one site recommended which can reduce how large these plants can get and make them more manageable (https://www.gardensalive.com/product/delicious-tomato)
Sources: 
Oregon Star- https://www.gardensalive.com/product/delicious-tomato
Delicious- https://www.worldtomatosociety.com/tomato/oregon-star/

Communication: I plan to communicate about my findings on the 5th.

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