Tag Archives: gardening

Silver Award Girl Scout Upcycles Wooden Pallets to Make Garden Beds

Silver Award Girl Scout Scarlett Montgomery-Anderson from Grand Junction upcycled 16 wooden pallets to make more than a dozen garden beds for nonprofit organizations and members of her community. Those who received the beds include Karis, Inc. at The House, First Congregational Church, and Grand Valley Unitarian Universalists. Scarlett hopes those who receive the beds (and benefit from them) will discover low-cost methods to grow their own food. Scarlett also did a planting demonstration with Grand Valley Unitarian Universalist’s youth, showing them how to plant and care for their new garden.

The idea for this project came about at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Scarlett, along with help from her mom, made her own garden beds out of pallets. After learning how her family could benefit from growing their own food, Scarlett wanted to make more garden beds to help those in her community, especially during these challenging times.

Through completing this project, Scarlett earned the Silver Award, the highest honor for a Girl Scout Cadette. Also, as part of her project, she is encouraging others to make garden beds out of wooden pallets. She created a “how to” video and it is now posted on Girl Scout of Colorado’s YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/tDcsodKvBbU

We want to hear how your girl is using her Girl Scout skills by taking initiative, caring for the community, and Girl Scouting at home. She can send in her story here.

Girl Scouting at Home: Complete Step Five of the Junior Gardener badge Part Five of Five

Girl Scouts of Colorado’s Outreach Program team has five fun activities to help you complete Step Five of the Junior Gardener badge, which is to grow your own garden. Over the next few days, we’re going to share our favorite tips and tricks to planting a great garden, no matter how little space or money you have. So far, we have learned about sourcing seeds, windowsill gardens, container gardening, and companion gardens. For the last part of this series, we are going to learn about square root gardening.

If you have access to bigger pots, a raised bed, a bit of yard, or a plot at a community garden, you can practice square root gardening in order to get the most veggies for your space.

Different types of plants need different amounts of space. For example, you can plant 16 carrots or radishes in one square foot of soil, but one zucchini needs at least two-square feet to itself. To help make sure your spacing is correct, you can make your own seed tape!

Seed Tape Activity

Materials Needed:

  • Square root gardening chart
  • Toilet paper/Facial tissue/Tissue paper/Paper streamers (white is ideal, but any color is fine)
  • Cornstarch
  • Water
  • One Pot
  • One Wooden spoon
  • Seeds
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Paintbrush
  1. Gather your materials. We used crepe paper streamers, but any thin, easily dissolvable paper is fine (toilet paper, facial tissues – so long as there’s no lotion or aloe, tissue paper, etc.)
  2. Make the cornstarch paste. Add one cup of water and one tablespoon of cornstarch to a pot and place on your stove over medium heat. Whisk until boiling, then turn off water, and let it cool completely. It will be thick and gel-like when finished.
  3. Once your paste is cooled, we can make the tape. I am using carrot seeds, as they are super tiny and ideal for seed tape, but feel free to use whatever seeds you have. Refer to the square root gardening chart to determine how far apart to space your seeds.                                       .
  4. Measure out one foot of your paper. If you’re using something wider, cut it in two-inch wide strips.
  5. Measure the distance you want your seeds and mark it on one side of your strip .              
  6. Using a clean paint brush, dab a dot of your cornstarch paste on each dot.                                  
  7. Place one seed on each dot of paste. 
  8. Line the edge of your strip with a thin layer of paste, enough to stick, but not so much that you dissolve the paper. 
  9. Fold the strip in half and let dry. 
  10. Plant in your garden at the depth recommended by the seed packet.

Square Root Gardening Chart:

TYPES OF PLANTS NUMBER OF PLANTS PER SQUARE FOOT
16 carrots, beets, radishes, leaf lettuce, green onions
9 onions, turnips, spinach, peas, snap peas, parsnip, bush beans
4 pole beans, head lettuce, garlic, romaine, asparagus pea, corn
2 cucumber, celery, basil, potatoes, swiss chard, kale
1 peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage
½

 (THESE PLANTS NEED AT LEAST 2 SQ FEET EACH)

Summer squash, pumpkins, winter squash, melons, zucchini

 

We want to hear how your girl is using her Girl Scout skills by taking initiative, caring for the community, and Girl Scouting at home. She can send in her story here.

Girl Scouting at Home: Complete Step Five of the Junior Gardener badge Part Three of Five

Girl Scouts of Colorado’s Outreach Program team has five fun activities to help you complete Step Five of the Junior Gardener badge, which is to grow your own garden. Over the next few days, we’re going to share our favorite tips and tricks to planting a great garden, no matter how little space or money you have. So far, we have learned about sourcing seeds and windowsill gardens. Now, we are going to learn about container gardening.

There are plenty of vegetables that thrive when grown in a pot, including tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, lettuce, carrots, and other root vegetables (if it’s a deep pot). Herbs and flowers also do well in a container garden. The best part of container gardening is that if there is unexpected weather that could harm your plants, you can bring them inside, and you can grow plants that would otherwise not survive a cold winter, or a hot summer outside.

For a container garden, you will need: various sizes of pots, soil, seeds or seedlings, water, and a sunny spot outside, like a balcony, porch, or deck.

Step One

Find a place for your containers. It is a lot easier to put your container gardens together in the place where they will live, as the filled pots will be heavier to move. Make sure the amount of sun the pots will get matches the amount of sun your plants will need.

Step Two

Determine if your pots have draining holes, and if they do not, ask your caregiver to help you add some. This will probably require tools. You need at least two holes to ensure good drainage. Three is better.

Step Three

Add more drainage potential with rocks, upside yogurt cups (don’t cover your holes), or smashed up water bottles.

Step Four

Fill your pots with soil. Potting soil is better suited than general garden soil.

Step Five

Add your seeds or plants.

Step Six

Thoroughly water your garden.

Step Seven

Enjoy your garden. Here are some examples of container gardens.

We want to hear how your girl is using her Girl Scout skills by taking initiative, caring for the community, and Girl Scouting at home. She can send in her story here.

Girl Scouting at Home: Complete Step Five of the Junior Gardener badge Part Two of Five

Girl Scouts of Colorado’s Outreach Program team has five fun activities to help you complete Step Five of the Junior Gardener badge, which is to grow your own garden. Over the next few days, we’re going to share our favorite tips and tricks to planting a great garden, no matter how little space or money you have. In Part One, we learned all about sourcing seeds. Now, we are going to learn about windowsill gardens.

If you don’t have a yard or a balcony, there are plenty of plants you can grow right inside your home! Some plants need lots of light, and some don’t need very much at all! Herbs, like basil, oregano, dill, thyme, rosemary, parsley, and cilantro, are plants that do well in a windowsill garden! African violets are a plant that does not like a lot of direct sunlight and thrives in a windowsill garden.

Windowsill Garden Activity

Materials Needed:

  • Small containers like pots or cups (make sure they have holes in the bottom, and something to catch water that spills out)
  • Soil
  • Seeds/Seedlings
  • Water
  • Sunny window

The examples are building an herb garden, but you can use any seeds/plants you want.

Step One: Gather your materials.

Step Two: Poke holes in the bottom of your cups and label each cup.

Step Three: Fill your cups with soil. We used an organic garden soil from a hardware store.

Step Four: Plant your seeds according to the directions on the packet. Most herbs don’t need to be very deep.

Step Five: Place your cups in a shallow water tight container, and place on your windowsill.

Step Six: Don’t forget to water your new garden!

Step Seven: Keep the soil moist until the seeds sprout, then water according to the directions on the seed packets.

Step Eight: Enjoy your windowsill garden!

Here are some more examples of windowsill gardens.

We want to hear how your girl is using her Girl Scout skills by taking initiative, caring for the community, and Girl Scouting at home. She can send in her story here.

 

Girl Scouting at Home: Complete Step Five of the Junior Gardener badge Part One of Five

 

 

 

 

 

 

Girl Scouts of Colorado’s Outreach Program team has five fun activities to help you complete Step Five of the Junior Gardener badge,, which is to grow your own garden. Over the next few days, we’re going to share our favorite tips and tricks to planting a great garden, no matter how little space or money you have.

There are four basic parts of a garden: plants, soil, water, and sunshine. You can achieve this with as little as one cup, some dirt, a few seeds, and a windowsill; or you can plant a raised bed garden in your backyard, your own plot in a community garden, or in pots on a porch or balcony. There are endless combinations that make great gardens!

Seeds are usually available for purchase at your local grocery or hardware store or garden center. If your family cannot afford seeds, there are still a few ways to get them, including seed libraries. You check seeds out from the library, plant them, and save seeds from the fruits and vegetables you grew and return those seeds to the library. To find a seed library near you, visit the Seed Library Database. With the help of your caregiver or troop leader, you can also participate in a seed swap with other Girl Scouts across the country. Additionally, there are a lot of seed swap groups on social media, just be sure to take Girl Scouts of the USA’s Internet Safety Pledge first.

Did you know that you can grow new food from food you buy at the grocery store? GSCO Media Star Myla shows you how to regrow vegetables from scraps!

Here are the steps to regrow vegetables from scraps:

  • For vegetables that still have an attached root or stem, you simply cut off roughly one to two inches from the bottom (or top). These are then placed in a container with water covering around half of the plant. The root should be placed down in the water. If it has a stem coming off the top, then the spot where you cut goes in the water.
  • Change the water every few days until you see a few inches of new growth and roots, then plant in soil.

Some examples of scraps you might do this with are celery, carrots, onions, beets, romaine, or bok choy.

Another way to regrow things is to save the seeds from them. After you cut open the vegetables, scrape the seeds into a bowl, and save them for later. Simply treat these like you would a pack of seeds you bought. Plant them in some soil and water when necessary. If, like me, you planted them in a small starter container like an egg carton, then you will need to transfer them to a larger container as the roots develop and the leaves get bigger. Because they are coming from seeds, these will need a little more time and patience to grow. Please also know that many vegetables from grocery stores are something called a hybrid plant. Hybrids are two species of a plant that have been combined to make a new plant. Most hybrid seeds will not sprout, but that is okay because it’s all about trying! Some things you can try this with are peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, melons, or pumpkins.

Some other fun things you can try regrowing from scraps could be:

  • Potatoes: Simply peel a two-inch section of a potato that has at least three eyes on it. Let them dry out overnight before planting at least four-inch deep in soil. An eye on a potato is a spot where you can see a root sprouting. They kind of look like white growths on the potatoes.
  • Ginger: This amazing root is full of flavor. Just take a small section of the root and plant it with the small buds facing up.
  • Garlic: To grow more of this flavorful bulb, simply take a single clove and plant it root down in some soil. Soon, you will have some new shoots. Trim these back and soon you will have a new bulb. Repeat for endless garlic.

For a real challenge, try some fruit trees! Please keep in mind these will take a few years before producing any fruit. They are also trees, so make sure you give them space.

  • Cherries: Clean off the pit from a cherry. Plant in a small lidded container with nutrient rich soil. Cover it and place it in the fridge for around 12 weeks. Then, plant this in the ground.
  • Apples: Let the seeds from an apple dry out. Plant outside. Please note that seeds from the same apple can produce different types of apples.
  • Peaches, Plums, and Nectarines: Dry out the pit and plant them in nutrient rich soil that gets plenty of sunlight.

We want to hear how your girl is using her Girl Scout skills by taking initiative, caring for the community, and Girl Scouting at home. She can send in her story here.

Girl Scout Gold Award candidate installs “Grow Tower” at high school in Colorado Springs

Girl Scout Gold Award candidate Emma P.  installed the first of two “Grow Towers” in the library of Palmer High School in Colorado Springs on September 30, 2019. Emma is working to earn the Gold Award, the highest honor in Girl Scouts.

Emma describes her project:

“Ever since I was a little girl, I have always been deeply interested in climate change and determined to help address it. For my Girl Scout Gold Award project, I wanted to pick a project that would help address climate change in my community. I decided the library at my high school, Palmer High School, would greatly benefit from a new environmental project, the installation of two hydroponic ‘Grow Towers,’ an indoor alternative growing system. ‘Grow Towers’ are vertical, hydroponic (plants grown in liquid instead of soil) growing systems, which grow various herbs, vegetables, and other plants in less than 3 square feet. This project has many important ramifications for my entire school. The cafeteria and culinary classes will utilize the fresh herbs and vegetables in their programs. I also plan on tying these towers into some science classes and am considering starting a new horticulture class to further educate and involve students in similar projects. Along the way, I have been working with teachers, administrators, and student groups to help maintain my project and work toward expansion. I have also met with and arranged for representatives from two community organizations (Pikes Peak Urban Gardens and Colorado Springs Food Rescue) to give presentations at my school about their organizations’ work. I am hoping students will feel more connected and interested in similar local work. Ultimately, I am hoping these towers will help the Palmer community learn about the importance of locally sourced and healthy food options within schools and students will feel a sense of empowerment in addressing climate change.”

A special thank you to the Colorado Springs News-Gazette and Fox21News/KXRM-TV for joining Emma for this event and sharing her story.

Open only to girls in high school, the Girl Scout Gold Award is the most prestigious award in the world for girls—and the most difficult to earn. The Gold Award project involves seven steps: 1. Identify an issue, 2. Investigate it thoroughly, 3. Get help and build a team, 4. Create a plan, 5. Present the plan and gather feedback, 6. Take action, 7. Educate and inspire. Of the skills learned through Girl Scouts’ Highest Awards, leadership, organization, and critical thinking are the fundamentals of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience. Universities and colleges offer scholarships unique to Gold Award recipients, and girls who enlist in the U.S. Armed Forces may receive advanced rank in recognition of their achievements.

Gold Award Girl Scout: Kyra TerLouw, Grand Junction, “Container Gardening Initiative”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

I created vegetable container garden kits which included soil, seeds, nutritional information, and a bilingual “how-to” brochure, after experimenting with container gardening myself. I partnered with Community Food Bank to distribute the kits to low-resource families, with the hope of inspiring them to eat healthy produce at low or minimal cost, as well as teach their kids about good nutrition.

How did you measure the impact your Gold Award project made on your target audience?

I kept track of the number of kits distributed and collected personal testimonies from family members who received them, as well as gathered feedback from food bank volunteers. A total of 39 kits were given to families in the community.

How is your project sustainable? How will your project continue to impact after your involvement?

Families can continue and expand upon the container garden idea, so that friends, neighbors, and future generations will be positively impacted. My container garden brochure will also be distributed to future Community Food Bank families to inspire a greater number of people. A local church plans to duplicate my garden kit project next year. Library displays placed in Grand Junction High School and Central High School were donated for future educational use.

What is your project’s global and/or national connection?

Healthy eating and living on minimal resources are global issues. People all over the world, not just in my community, struggle with limited access or affordability of healthy food choices.

What did you learn about yourself?

I learned to believe in myself and ask for what I need, that organization is a strength of mine, and communication is very important to getting things accomplished on schedule. I learned that an idea can become a reality with hard work and perseverance. I also learned how to project my voice… becoming more confident and believing in myself helped.

How will earning your Gold Award impact you in the future?

The Gold Award helped strengthen my leadership and communication skills, both of which are needed in the “real world.” Opportunities to take charge, speak publicly, and help others are everywhere. Earning my Gold Award has made me more self-confident.

Why do you feel the Gold Award was an important part of your Girl Scout experience?

The Gold Award personalized my Girl Scout experience. I was able to work on a project that I was passionate about, while making a difference in the community on a much larger scale than I had ever done before.

How did earning your Gold Award help you become a G.I.R.L. (go-getter, innovator, risk-taker, leader)? 

Earning my Gold Award helped me become an innovator. Using vegetable container gardens to address the need for low cost, healthy eating options among families with minimal resources was a new idea in my community. I took my love for gardening and shared it with others who could benefit from growing fresh produce. Another way I became an innovator was through the process of searching for support materials. I realized that much of the published materials about container gardening were for flowers, not vegetables. This discovery led me to develop my own informational brochure.

**IMPORTANT NOTE: This blog represents only a small fraction of the hard work, dedication, and requirements that go into earning a Girl Scout Gold Award. It is simply a brief summary, which is meant to inspire Girl Scouts to Go Gold in the future. For more information on earning your Gold Award, please email highestawards@gscolorado.org

Gold Award candidate fights hunger with container gardening kits

Girl Scout Ambassador Kyra T. from Grand Junction is working to earn the Gold Award, the highest honor in Girl Scouts. For her project, she partnered with the Grand Junction Community Food Bank to provide their clients with vegetable container gardening kits. Each kit contained soil, seeds, nutritional information, and a “how-to” brochure, which she created after experimenting with container gardening. GSCO asked Kyra to describe her project in her own words. She wrote, “By creating and distributing container gardening kits, my hope is to influence healthy food choices among low-resource or struggling families so they are able to provide their children and themselves with healthy produce at low or minimal cost, as well as teach their kids about good nutrition. Container gardens are suitable for a variety of plants and can be grown on a windowsill, a front porch, or balcony, making them suitable for many types of living environments and easy for families to use.”

Thanks to News11/KKCO-TVand Grand Junction Daily Sentinel for sharing Kyra’s story with their audiences.

Troop 2692 earns Bronze Award with Xeriscape Garden project

Part of being a Girl Scout is learning the skills needed to plan, coordinate and execute projects that contribute to your community. Junior Girl Scout Troop 2629 displayed their leadership by planting a Xeriscape garden at Pine Grove Elementary to earn their Bronze Award.

The Bronze Award is the highest award possible for Junior Girl Scouts. The pursuit of this award began in early 2009 and finally came to fruition during Memorial Day Weekend. All 12 girls worked over the holiday to ensure this project was completed before summer break.

The girls selected a Xeriscape garden because part of the Girl Scout Law is to “use resources wisely.” The girls know that is the purpose of a Xeriscape garden and want their work to serve as a shining example of how lovely a Xeriscape garden can be.

The garden would not have materialized without the support of the Pine Grove staff and especially Principal David Minter. Over a 2 ½ year period, Minter championed this project with the Douglas County School District to gain district approval.

In addition to DCSD, several organizations made this project a success:

* A grant from Colorado Garden Show, Inc made this project possible

*Underground Sprinkler Corps donated the installation of our sprinklers

*Master Gardener, Julie Pfankuch, donated her expertise and countless hours

* Nick’s Garden Center donated plants

* Pine Lane Nursery Garden Center donated plants

* Tagawa Gardens donated plants

* Walmart supplied most of the compost

Troop 2629 is proud to be of service to the Parker community.

 

Row 1: Kelli M.; Meredity M.; Ashley L.; Mary D.
Row 2: Emily V.; Olivia R.; Abby U.; Lauren M.; Leah M.; Katelyn K.; Kristen H.; Macy D.
Row 3: Troop Leader Wendy R.; Troop Leader Suan H.; Troop Leader Kim L.