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3501 New York Ave NE
Washington, DC, 20002
United States


Washington Youth Garden

I'll eat what I want!

April Martin

In light of today’s rather silly holiday (because we think you should be able to eat what you want any day), this blog post will be devoted to food preferences for a few different creatures that enjoy the Washington Youth Garden.

1. Ground hogs:  We are plagued by these resourceful rodents here at the Washington Youth Garden.  Lettuce, tops of radishes, and cabbages have all provided a tasty meal for the local critters.  They are picky!  Once, in a single plot of kale, they ate the Dinosaur variety to the ground and left the Red Russian variety standing tall.  Every organism has a purpose in the ecosystem, but it would be great if we could utilize some natural pest management systems to lessen crop damage.  We have a fence around a portion of the garden and some row covers; further tips would be appreciated!

2.  Bees: We all know that bees love to munch on pollen and slurp nectar, but when they smell smoke, all they want to eat is honey!  Beekeepers smoke the bee boxes when they remove the honey combs because it signals the bees to rush into their hives and collect as much of the precious honey stores as possible before they evacuate their “burning” home.  As their abdomens fill up, the bees become heavy, drowsy and even lose some of their flexibility, making it difficult to bend abdomens and push out their stingers.  I liken it to the peaceful post-Thanksgiving-dinner stupor.  Less aggressive bees equal less painful stings for the beekeeper! 

First you take the busy bees…

…and smoke them!

Thanks for sharing, bees!

3.  Humans:  Nearly every field trip, we overhear a parent talking about how their child would never eat that vegetable when it was served for dinner.  There is something magical about picking it right from the plant, close to the earth.  Thyme flowers, lemon balm, fennel??  We try it all!  As we ran our “Where does food come from?” program this week, we even got to spend some time at the asparagus beds slipping in a few nutrition tips.  At the end of the field trip, a British 2nd grade visitor shared this lovely feedback:

I learned that asparagus loses a bit of its healthiness when it goes in a can.

A classmate added this effusive accolade for garden learning:

I hope my mom and dad take me here on vacation, if not every vacation. 

Cheers and Happy Mother’s Day weekend!