Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Jack's Carrots

Carrots are always one of the most fun vegetables for kids to grow themselves. Here's proof of that from Cheri, our Renee's Garden Accounting Manager, who describes how her young son Jack grew his own this season:
Last year my 5 year old son Jack fell in love with the purple carrots (and many of the other vegetables) that were tested in the Renee’s Garden trial gardens. So, this summer he decided to grow his own carrots--not only the purple ones he loves so much, but also the yellow and orange carrots from Renee’s Sunshine Mix and even the adorable little Round Romeo carrots. Unfortunately we planted the Mini Jack pumpkins (he had to plant those of course!) too close to the carrots and we lost the Round Romeos under the pumpkin plants. However, Jack had great success with the other three varieties and they have made him into a confirmed vegetable lover.

The process started in early June with Jack and his 2 year old sister, Jenni, preparing the raised bed in our front yard. They weeded the bed and then raked in the new soil. Jack then carefully scattered the carrot seeds in rows. I then thinned out the carrot seedlings a couple times during the summer: Jack wanted nothing to do with “throwing away” his yummy carrot plants! After checking them constantly and excitedly throughout the summer, Jack finally began the best part: harvesting his carrots in late August (unusually cool weather and a lack of warm sunshine lengthened the growing period).

Jack has since pulled and enjoyed a couple of full-grown carrots every few days. The longer they’re in the ground, the bigger and sweeter they’ve become. He has harvested some truly amazing carrots. One was nearly as tall as he was from the tips of the greens to the bottom of the carrot! He had another that looked as if it was tie-died purple and orange.

Jack has had so much fun sharing his crop with the neighbor kids (who have watched the progress all summer) and showing the carrots off to his friends at school. While he says all the carrots are “super yummy”, his favorites are the purple ones. He loves to show the other kids how good they are because none of them had never seen a purple carrot before. Once Jack has harvested the last of the carrots, he’s going to start all over again and plant a fall crop of the same varieties. This time the pumpkin plants won’t interfere with the Round Romeos!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Announcing the 2010 Renee’s Garden Photo Contest Winners

Congratulations to the winners of the 7th Annual Renee's Garden Photo Contest. Thanks to everyone who sent in photos for our contest - we had so many beautiful entries it was very difficult to choose just a few winners.  We enjoyed seeing them all. To see more of our favorite photo entries (and download them as desktop wallpapers), view our Flickr photo gallery. To view last year's winners, click here.

1st Place Winner:  “Chianti Rose Tomatoes
susy_morris_chianti_rose_toSusy Morris,
Malvern, OH  
 "I've been enjoying growing things in the garden from your seeds for the first time this year." Susy's gardening blog, Chiot’s Run,  documents her life, cooking, travels, photography, and cats.

2nd Place Winner:   “Sunflower"
Becka Silva, Oroville, CA
becka_silva_sunflower_renee"All of my sunflower seeds are from Renee's garden. I am starting a small farming business and the sunflower was my inspiration for the name, Girasole Farm. Girasole is the Italian word for sunflower. Most all of my summer garden was was started with Renee's seeds. Everything from zucchini, carrots, corn (YUM), butternut squash, cucumbers, watermelon and cantaloupes. I grew some gourds last year which were featured on a local house/garden show."

Honorable Mention: “Lounging Tri-Color Zucchini
Amy Bond,
Chico, CA
“These two Tricolor Zucchini enjoyed some quality time by the lake before cooling off in a refreshing salad. When picked young, these zucchini have a soft yet crunchy texture and delicate taste that makes them the perfect addition atop your summer salad."

 Jan_Fetlercontest-SweetPeaHonorable Mention: “April in Paris" Sweet Pea
Jan Fetler,
Elk Grove, CA
“I am a gardener and a small-flock chicken farmer--both activities work well together.  Chickens will eat garden waste and their manure feeds the garden. Grown in a raised bed with a strong trellis, my sweet peas reached 6 feet and were covered with sweet fragrance.”

Jan's chickens devouring a sunflower. Jan's chicken website: The Poultry Project

Honorable Mention: “Blue Borage"
Shelley Cornell, Florida  

“I don't think I had one seed that didn't germinate and not only that, when the Florida heat virtually melted this beauty, there was a ton more to take its place from self seeding.  The beautiful pink and blue flowers that opened up on a plant covered in blue flowers. The other pic is of a bee on the Blue Borage, which is exactly why I wanted to grow it - I wanted to attract pollinators.”
Bee and Borage

Kid’s Garden Photo Contest Winner
Thomas and Amy Pelkey,
Harrisburg, Oregon
“The boys each planted their own Renee's "Super Sugar Snap" which is their favorite "green" vegetable along with broccoli.  Thank you for the excellent Sugar Snap! It will be in our garden again this late summer/fall as well as an order for seeds next year.“
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