CREEC Greenhouse Youth Group Report, October 2017

CREEC Youth Group had a very productive October. With new students finishing their initial community service hours, they now have the knowledge to really make a difference. The enthusiasm and energy is infectious as the students get more involved in caring for the plants.

Infectious energy

We weeded the many beautiful roses, natives, and heirlooms for nearly two weeks! It was thorny work, especially because blackberries grew in under the tables. I told the new students that this was the hardest job we might ever do—and they managed the task! They learned about all the weeds and many of the self-seeding natives while weeding those thorny roses. They learned how to remove blackberries from a planting bed, as well.
We transplanted most of the trees in 1-gallon pots into 5-gallon pots; they are labeled, mulched, and watered under shade recovering from the move.
We cleaned off the clone table. The many plants rooting on it were potted up. There were roses, many kinds of herbs, trees, and even grapes! We are filling the table back up again, fast!
Acorns of all kinds were collected and planted. The seed pots are placed in a large 1/4-inch metal mesh cage so the squirrels and rats don't eat them. We also planted native cherries, maples, bays, toyons, walnuts, and pine tree seeds. It will be exciting to see what comes up!
The Youth Group continues to keep weeding. The roses were difficult, but everyone knows what the weeds are now. I am very happy to report that the CREEC Youth are turning into compulsive weeders.
We've moved the pepper plants inside the greenhouse, hoping to keep them warm. We are trying to clean and make room for growing seedlings of all kinds starting to grow.
CREEC Youth are propagating winter vegetable starter plants for home gardeners. We have Egyptian walking onions, horseradish, sweet potatoes, and many kinds of herbs for sale now.
The Youth Group has continued to plant around the mulberry tree in the parking lot. We've planted purple passionflower vines on the fence. The butterflies are going to love those!
Twelve students participated at CREEC Greenhouse in October.
The CREEC Youth Group winter hours are Wednesdays 1:30 pm to 5 pm and Saturdays from 10:00 am to 2 pm. Feel free to stop by and see what's coming up. There is always lots to do and see.
Thank you for allowing CREEC Greenhouse to be such a treasure under the bridge, allowing all of us the opportunity to learn about the beautiful plants and trees in the Carquinez Strait region.

CREEC Greenhouse Youth Group Report, September 2017

September flew by at CREEC Greenhouse. We continued to water the recently-planted restoration project plants. Some have not survived the transplant and will be replaced; others are very happy in their new spot under the Carquinez Bridge. CREEC has lots of native plants to attract butterflies.
CREEC planted a mulberry tree a few years back across the road by a fence. Our Youth Group planted sea lavenders, California bee plants, and some other beautiful surprises under and around the tree. October will bring a few more! The butterflies and hummingbirds will love it!
Ms. Iris Wesselmann—Math/Science teacher at Carquinez Middle School, Friend of CREEC, and super teacher who bribes us with marshmallows—visited CREEC with her two classes (one class had 24 students and the other had 28 students). The class of 24 students potted up basil and salvia seedlings—5 flats of each, 60 plants in total! The students now have a better understanding of the life of a plant, and plant root structures, stems, and leaves. They really liked mixing the soil in the wheelbarrow!
The class of 28 students transplanted ash and oak tree from 1-gallon pots to 5-gallon pots so they can grow bigger. Almost everyone re-potted a tree or two. They loaded the labeled transplanted beauties and put them in a shady spot and watered them. Both classes were excited and enthusiastic. We're grateful that the students were able to visit CREEC, the treasure under the bridge—all due to the efforts of this wonderful teacher! Several of her students have completed paperwork and are finishing their ten community service hours to join CREEC's Youth Group.

Reorganizing the CREEC Greenhouse to transition from summer to fall/winter is rather heart wrenching as the remaining tomato and basil plants get sent to the compost pile to make room for new seedlings. We have lots of seedlings of all kinds—from grasses to trees, flowers, and vegetables. Acorns are falling and we are planting them as well as lots of other seeds. Come pick up some basil, and also jalapeno and padron peppers in 2-gallon pots to grow inside in the winter as houseplants.
With reorganization comes storing pots and clean-up. All the plants are in rotation for weeding and potting up, labeling, and grooming. Our students are all learning and are happy to be a part of CREEC. The rose tables were very challenging to groom because blackberries invaded from over the fence! It made some very thorny weeding!
Seven students participated at CREEC in September.
CREEC Greenhouse Youth Group fall hours are Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:00 pm to dark and Saturdays from 10 am to 2 pm. Come by and work with us, check out the restoration sites, or just see what plants are growing and what wildlife is flying around at CREEC Greenhouse!
CREEC is such an exciting place to be a part of. Thank you for letting CREEC Greenhouse continue to be our hidden treasure under the bridge!