CREEC Greenhouse Youth Group report February 2018

By Kay Smith

February was quite a productive month at CREEC. The youth group worked a total of 8 days. A great deal of weeding in our demonstration gardens was accomplished. Some may have been a little too weeded, however, it is exciting to get to try new plants in the gardens.

In the weeding and pruning of the gardens we were able to make a large variety of all the different plants. The clone table has an abundance of possible plants rooting.

Visiting my friend, I came across a planter full of tangerine seedlings planted by her neighbor. CREEC Greenhouse usually doesn’t grow citrus trees because of their high water needs, but with all of my new students and all of our Native Forrest about to sprout this Spring, we needed a lesson in how to transplant sprouted trees. The 24″ by 8″ pot of seedlings came up to 57 baby trees, gallons and 4 inch pots. All the new students know about transplanting baby trees now. We can handle our oaks and toyons with care when they sprout!

The demonstration gardens are very nicely weeded and mulched with the exception of the very last bed. We made great attempts but the rain and hail put a stop to finishing. We will just keep weeding(in my Dory voice) The students had a “snow day” when it hailed making ice castles with the 5 gallon pots full of hail from our shade that came down over CREEC’s tables and tables of plants. Our youth group worked very hard to remove the hail from the shade cloth and then stand the poles back up so the plants were safe. James Smith and Roy Rubick Smith came and and helped us with the corner posts because we called. They are heroes!

The students also potted up trees and flowers, herbs and vegetables, and clones as they become rooted. There are multiple flats of seed pots sprouting inside and outside of the greenhouse. We will be crazy with seedlings soon! Students check the acorns every work day; no sprouts yet; buckeyes sprouted though!

The following students participated at CREEC Greenhouse in February, 2018:
Yabisi Rodrigues, Emyah Moore, Lavell McElroy III, Anthonett Myers, Trinity Hill, Travon Stokes, Eleni Panteleakos, Jazarya Foster, Elijah Murphy, and Nakylah Arnold. Besides James Smith and Roy RubickSmith, we have our Ms Sonja New and her husband, Matthew, and Miylek Anthony volunteering to make CREEC Greenhouse ūüíě an even more beautiful treasure under the bridge! There is always lots to do and see at CREEC.

Thank-you to all who contribute to CREEC, and to the board of directors who allow CREEC Greenhouse to be such a positive influence on the youth who participate and the butterfly habitats that are grown. May CREEC Greenhouse continue to educate and inspire people to give butterflies a place to grow long after we are gone!

CREEC Greenhouse Youth Group Report December 2017

December was a busy time at CREEC Greenhouse. The Youth Group had nine work days and were very productive. Even though all of our students aren’t able to be present every work day due to each one’s circumstances, we do have a dedicated group trying to make a difference.

Dr. Dean Kelch continued to bring in more acorns for even more oak trees to sprout. There is the possibility of a very large forest about to be born lurking at CREEC! We also potted up tree seedlings to tree pots and transplanted oaks, maples, buckeyes, bays, and willows to 5 gallon pots.

We cleaned out the clone table. potting up the many different kinds of plants started. Of coarse, we have done our best to fill it up with all kinds of new possibilities to grow. People also call clones “starts” or “cuttings”. It is very exciting to see which plants will make roots and grow into beautiful plants. Pine trees never clone, but almost all the other perennial plants will.

The students spent considerable time recycling soil. We moved our work table and scooped the soil up, using the soil to transplant trees into 5 gallon pots. We were surprised at how much soil had been spilled over time and potted up more than 40 trees with it.

CREEC’s garden starts for your winter garden are looking nice. We have 4 inch pots of broccoli, cabbage, kales, red cabbage and collard greens. we have gallon pots of horseradish. We also have salad planters for cut and grow again consumption. We also have herbs of many kinds. Vegetable starts are $1 each.

On December 9 we did more planting in the Restoration on Dowrellio Drive before CREEC Greenhouse. We took out dead plants and trees and replanted live ones. We also picked up litter. Our previous planting day in June was 103* so quite a few of the big trees didn’t grow. With the cold weather and rain our newly planted babies will grow well.

As always, our pots need weeding. I am happy to report that most of our students know their weeds and are pretty efficient at the job. Each pot needs weeding at least once every few months. It can be quite challenging to keep up, but must be done. I say in my Dorry voice, “Just keep weeding”!

I would like to publicly thank Mrs.Sonja New. On October 28 she stopped by CREEC Greenhouse and asked me about volunteering. I told her about the signing of the legal form and she did. This beautiful human being has made it her business to be at CREEC Greenhouse every work day taking on curb appeal and big  organizing projects. She is amazing, getting her husband to help, getting the students to do more, always helpful and kind, making the plants beautiful, even bringing me coffee! Thank-you Mrs. Sonja New.

The following students participated at CREEC Greenhouse in December, 2017: Levelle McElroy II, Elijah Murphy, Yabisi Rodriguez, Daniel Warring, Mamadou Sisisko, Trinity Hill, Anthonett Myers, Nakylah Arnold, Rosa Stevens, and Audrey Leveque

Thank-you for allowing CREEC Greenhouse to continue to be the wonderful treasure we have in Crockett under the  bridge. I hope more people will come find out all about the wonderful ideas and concepts that we can all do to make habitats for the butterflies and birds too.

CREEC Greenhouse winter hours are Saturday from 10-2 and Wednesday from 1:30-4:30. We hope to see you there. Free Native strawberry plant to new visitors.

CREEC Greenhouse Youth Group Report November 2017

CREEC Greenhouse Youth group worked a total of eight days in November; our Winter hours will continue to be Saturdays from 10- 2 and Wednesdays from 1:30 -5. We may schedule more work days with school being out. I will post additional days should they come up.
November was a busy time of planting passion flower vines and other flowering plants around the mulberry tree and new gate installed by the California State Lands Commission. We planted passion flowers on CREEC’s fence as well.
Our youth group took apart an overgrown water planter and replanted it with new plants. It was quite a task pulling apart those overgrown tulles, but with cooperation and one very bad word from me, the task was completed. We have tulles in 5 gallon pots for sale if anyone wants to start a water garden.
We have planted every kind of oak tree known to grow in California. We’ve also planted toyons, cherries,buck eyes, pines, and many other grasses, flowering plant, and vegetable seeds. We will be potting up some of last seasons sprouted seedlings in December.
The youth group spends at least a third of the time weeding. We weed each section looking for plants needing attention, As the plants show their needs, the students address each issue, either addressing it at the table being weeded or taking the plant to the work area for bigger pots or additional tools to complete the task.
Along with most of the plants at CREEC Greenhouse, the youth group has planted many different winter vegetables  and herbs available for sale during our work hours at CREEC. Feel free to stop by and visit us first.
On that note, CREEC welcomes any pot donations. Drop them off in front of our gate and we will put them to good use.
Should anyone want to support CREEC Greenhouse during this holiday season by giving plants or herbs, feel free to bring a pretty pot and we can pot it up with a plant of your choice. Our students would be delighted in the task.
The following students participated at CREEC Greenhouse in November:
Yabisi Rodriguz,  Trinity Hill,  Anthonett Myers, Nakylah Arnold, Rosa Stevens, Alexa Larson, Madelyn Newton, Elijah Murphy, Audrey Leveque             
December brings the rain and wind and cold. Many plants take this time to rest, even dying back to the roots of the plant until spring. If you visit Creec these plants are marked with blue tags in the pot. The cold weather is also a good time to plant trees and perennial plants. CREEC Greenhouse hopes to replace the trees in the Restoration area just before CREEC’s property on Dowrellio Drive under the Carquenez Bridge on Saturday from 10 -2 December 16. From the freeway, go down Wanda to the bottom of the hill and turn left onto Dowrellio. Drive to the end and park. CREEC Greenhouse is on the left. We hope you can come.
Thank you, to the board of directors for CREEC, our generous sponsors, C&H Sugar and Phillips, as well as our Friends of CREEC for allowing this wonderful place to be such an important part of what we do. The beauty and wonder are at CREEC Greenhouse waiting to be discovered by everyone. Come get dirty with us and see what is growing at CREEC Greenhouse.

October 2017 CREEC Greenhouse Youth Group Report

CREEC Youth group has had a very productive October. With new students finishing their community service hours, they 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 2 weeks! It was horribly pokey, especially so because blackberries came from under the tables to bramble. I told the new students that this was the hardest job we might ever do, if they could manage this task! They learned all of the weeds and many of the self-seeding Natives in weeding those pokey roses. They learned how to remove blackberries from a planting bed as well.
We potted most of the trees in 1 gallon pots to 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, grapes! We are filling it back up again, fast!
Acorns of all kinds were collected and planted. The seed pots are put 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 just keep weeding. The roses were hard, but everyone knows what the weeds are now. Inside and outside the greenhouse our CREEC Youth are turning into compulsive weeders, I am very happy to report.
We’ve moved peppers inside the greenhouse, hoping to keep them warm. We are trying to clean out and make room for up and growing seedlings of all kinds starting to grow.
CREEC Youth are propagating winter vegetable starter plants for home gardeners. We have Egyptian walking onions, horse radish, sweet potatoes and many kinds of herbs for sale now.
The youth group has continued  planting around the mulberry tree in the parking lot. We’ve planted purple passion vines on the fence. The butterflies are going to love it!
The following students participated at  CREEC Greenhouse in October, 2017:
Tony Neely Jr., Trinity Hill, Anthonett Myers, Yabisi Rodriguez, Madelynn Newton, Audry Leueque, Tara Mahannah, Alexa Larson, Jazarya Foster, Jadelyn Evans Rivers, Armanii Wehr, Nakylah Arnold
The CREEC Youth Group Winter hours are Wednesdays 1:30 -5:00 and Saturdays from 10:00-2:00. 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 Region.

CREEC Greenhouse Youth Group report September 2017

September, 2017, just flew by at CREEC Greenhouse. We have continued to water the restoration plants. Some have not survived the transplant and will be replaced, others are very happy in their new spot under the bridge. With the rain, we will get started. CREEC has lots of Native plants to bring back our butterflies.
CREEC planted a mulberry tree a few years back across the road by a fence. Our Youth Group planted Sea Lavenders and California bee plants and some other future beautiful surprises under and around the tree. October will bring  a few more! The butterflies and humming birds will love it!
Ms Iris Wesselmann, Math/Science teacher at Carquinez Middle School, Friend of CREEC, Super Teacher who bribes us with marshmallows! visited CREEC with her classes(24 and 28 students) The 24 group class potted up seedlings of basil and salvia, 5 flats of each, !60 plants in all. They understand the life of a plant, root structure, stem, and leaves.They really liked mixing the soil in the wheelbarrow! The 28 group of students potted 1 gallon pots of ash and oak trees to 5 gallon pots so they could grow bigger. Almost everyone repotted a tree or 2. They loaded the labeled transplanted beauties and put them in a shaded spot with water. Both groups were excited and enthusiastic. CREEC, the treasure under the bridge, is being found out! due to the efforts of this wonderful woman! Several of her students have completed paperwork and are finishing their community service to be a part of CREEC’s Youth Group.

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CREEC Greenhouse Youth Group report August 2017

In month of August the CREEC Youth Group has been very productive.
We’ve removed the hay bale garden from in front of the greenhouse, transplanting the Salvias of many kinds and chamomile plants to pots. Then we staged and filled up tires with soil and planted a beautiful garden in the same spot. Dr. Dean Kelch¬† picked the plants and designed the garden, filling the tires and planting some of the many plants with us. We mulched and watered and the project is splendidly beautiful’ with butterflies and bees and humming birds visiting. Everyone should come and see!
We’ve also staged a “Plant Sale” area for Saturdays’ 10-1 advertised Plant Sale at CREEC. Although almost all of the plants at CREEC are for sale, we’ve put a large collection of Natives, flowers, vegetables, herbs, and trees all together for browsing. We have sweet potatoes in 1 gallon pots. CREEC has a great variety of beautiful plants, something for everyone.

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CREEC Greenhouse Youth Group report, July, 2017

by Kay Smith

CREEC Youth Group has taken on many tasks this month. We have mulched all of the restoration plants and water them 3 times a week. We’ve begun potting up the oak acorns planted this Spring into 4 inch tree pots. Last year’s acorns are moving into 5 gallon pots. we’ve removed part of the hay bale garden and replaced and planted 1 side of our new tire planter garden. There are still 2 very large salvias in the hay bales to move before completing the rest of the tire planters.

We have new students completing their community service, learning the weeds, and the way to propagate plants. Most are happy and enthusiastic to be a part of CREEC.

The following students participated in CREEC in July:
Tony Neely, Jr.
Davonte Williams
Dmien Shyne
JaiLynne Howard
Nakylah Arnold
Rosa Stevens
Jazaria Foster
Marlaysia Neely
Daysha Williams
Emyah Moore
Miylekah Olyjini
Kalia Griffith
Gabrial Botta

Richard Moody did some tree removal and planting, mowing, weedwacking, and tool repair.

CREEC Greenhouse Youth Group report, June 2017

by Kay Smith

Our youth group came and planted lots of plants and trees on June 3rd in the restoration planting. We have been watering and mulching those plants as well as the second planting on June 17. Some of the trees have lost green in their leaves, others are happy to be planted. Like people, some take change better than others. Most of the plants in both plantings are showing signs of new growth and recovery from transplant shock. I am happy to report that all are mulched and marked so that we can water.

After the planting on June 3, we mulched and watered. Then school got out soon after that and the students were too busy to come to work. We only worked 7 days in June, mostly watering, mulching, and staking trees. We made some clones and basil seedlings and weeded a little.

Hopefully in July the youth group gets back on track. Summer work hours are Mondays and Thursdays from 7:30 am to 11:30 and Saturdays from 10-2.

CREEC has a lot of tomato plants free to good homes! (just make a donation to CREEC to keep up the good work!)

The following students participated at CREEC in June:
Tony Neely, Jr.
Nakylah Arnold
Jazarya Foster
David Martinez, Jr.
Zomaria Steely
Terrance Ramsey, Jr.
Gabriel Botta
Geovani Ramirez
Damien Shyne

Richard Moody worked at repairing fences, wagons, wheelbarrows and water leaks and weed whacking.

Thank-you for allowing CREEC to continue being such a big part of our week.

CREEC Greenhouse Report May, 2017

CREEC Youth Group was very productive this month; we worked a total of 13 days. Most of our time is spent weeding. There are always weeds to go after in potted plants, demonstration gardens, fence lines, or pathways. Next time grabber is the seedlings of the moment. Everything from grass to trees sprouts this time of year. Along with the toyon and milkweeds and oaks of many kinds, CREEC also has tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, okra, Egyptian walking onions, pumpkins and a wide range of herb plants for the garden. My hope is that people stop at CREEC first to see if their garden’s needs might be met and see also our beautiful Native and drought tolerant plants.
May also brought a lot of clean-up and reorganizing. We succeeded in filling the recycle, non-native green waste, and trash cans every week. We cleaned out sheds and reorganized some pot storage areas. There is still a lot to work on, but we think we’ve made a difference.

Planting natives next to the greenhouse near the “Nantucket”

The most important project that CREEC Youth worked on was picking out the plants and trees for our Restoration Project on the property located just before the CREEC Greenhouse property owned by C&H Sugar! We pulled, weeded, and staged about 200 trees and plants for the project. All of us are VERY excited that our plants are out of pots and into their own soil, to grow and be beautiful for all to see on Dowrellio Drive in Crockett! We will be mulching the newly planted area as soon as possible as they were planted on June 3.

The class from Carquinez Middle School that visited in April from Ms Wesselman’s math-science class, came again. Although only 5 students chose to return, they were very motivated and happy to get busy and pot up some valley oak seedlings. Then they spent some time weeding, racing to see who could fill up a 5 gallon pot first of 5 specific non-native invasive weeds. Then we all looked at the okra and marigold seedlings that they potted up in April, excited that they were plants ready for the garden. After they went to see the fish pond and went back to school. I hope they had as much fun as I did!
The following students participated at CREEC in May:Tony Neely, Jr.
Nakylah Arnold
Darrea Dorsey
Rosa Stevens
Devonte Williams
Geovani Ramirez
Tarrance Ramsey, Jr.
Lucius Libby

Richard Moody provided services in tool repair and maintenance.
Thank-you for allowing CREEC to be such a big part of our world! We are most excited to be a part of the new restoration!

By Kay Smith