3 Projects to do with Green Tomatoes

Well, it is now late October. Let’s be honest, those tomatoes on the vine out there are never going to ripen. Luckily, we have some suggestions for how to use them so they don’t go to waste!

Try these fun, family friendly activities this season and enjoy the memories for years to come. A few of them are also freeze-able, which makes them last all year! Give them a taste, invite friends over to help you eat them, or give them as a gift. Whatever you do, make sure to make good use of your green tomatoes this year with these 3 delicious recipes.


DIY Self Care class- sign up today!

Saturday 1:00-2:30PM PST/ 4:00- 5:30 PM EST
January 23, 2021

Instructor:  Nicole Parish

Treat yourself to a fun, relaxing, self-care experience. Gift as a holiday or birthday present, or host your friends for a safe, socially distanced spa day at home! In this workshop, you will learn how to make four awesome projects for self care using 8 simple household ingredients. We will be making bath bombs, face masks, salt scrubs, and hair masks to use during or after the party!

All students will receive the Zoom recording of the workshop to watch at their convenience for two weeks after the workshop. Participants may choose to observe the virtual workshop and work later, but you may also work alongside Nicole during the demo.

Recipes and a tool list will be sent to participants who register through Sonoma Community Center.


National Pollinator Week: 3 Ways to Help Pollinators

Happy National Pollinator Week! I know what you’re thinking- Pollinator week is every week. Well, that’s true. But this week, we wanted to highlight the amazing creatures that pollinate our fruits and vegetables, and allow us to have healthy, delicious foods. In this post, you will find (at least) three different ways to help your local pollinators, and fun, hands-on pollinator friendly activities to do with your family around.

  1. Food

When I talk to kids about pollinators, I like to ask them what they think pollinators need to live. Their needs are similar to ours! Food, water, and shelter. What do pollinators eat? Nectar, and often, pollen, from flowers. As the pollinators visit the flowers, some of the pollen rubs off on each flower they go to, which is the process we call pollination. This is how plants make their fruits and seeds. In order to attract more pollinators, you should provide a wide variety of food for them- not all pollinators like to eat the same things! Butterflies are attracted to red and orange flowers, and bees’ favorite colors are blue and white. Meanwhile, hummingbirds love trumpet-shaped flowers. In addition, you want to think about the time of year your blossoms are blooming. It is important for a good pollinator habitat to have something in bloom almost the whole year- from February to October when they are most active. 

One thing to think about if you have a garden is letting some of your veggies “go to seed”. For instance, letting radishes flower creates a great food source for butterflies and is pretty to look at until you need to plant something else! 

A fun activity to do with kids is making Pollinator Seed Bombs. This is a quick, simple, messy project that’s good for pre-K and elementary aged kids. Watch Foxberry’s video on how to make this project here:

  1. Water

Like humans and other animals, pollinators need a water source! When thinking about water for pollinators, remember bees can’t really swim! When their wings get wet, they are unable to take off and fly again until they dry off. Therefore, you don’t want to keep a deep bowl out as a water source for bees. One thing you can do is put marbles or rocks in your bowl for the bees to land on and sip from. Using a shallow dish like a plant saucer works well. First, find some rocks from the garden, and arrange the rocks in the dish. Then fill the container with water just up to the level of the rocks. Place it somewhere in the shade so the water doesn’t evaporate too quickly. 

Butterflies, on the other hand, prefer drinking from mud. This behavior is called “puddling”. Butterflies get the salt and nutrients they need from the minerals in the wet soil. You can help these colorful fluttering creatures by creating a butterfly puddle! Again, find a shallow dish, like an old pie pan or plant saucer, fill it about halfway with soil, and mix in water! Make sure your butterfly puddle stays wet all summer so butterflies can sip from it. Place the mud puddle somewhere visible, but where it won’t dry out too easily. If you want to, you can decorate it with pretty stones for the insects to land on or place rocks in a fun pattern in the mud. In the early spring, this is also a great project for mason bees, which require mud to make their nests.  

  1. Shelter

Creating a place where pollinators can live can be a bit more tricky. “Pollinator hotels” are generally used for nesting. Which materials you use for pollinator hotels depends on which pollinators you want to attract. Mason bees, for example, come out in early Spring, around March, and need tubes about ¼ inches wide and 3-6 inches deep. Leafcutter bees, however, come out in the summer and need tubes or holes only 8 millimeters wide! Other materials such as dried leaves and moss can also be used as nesting material and to add an interesting look to your design.

Here is a really great resource on how to make a DIY beneficial insect hotel: https://www.fix.com/blog/guide-to-making-your-own-insect-hotels/

Like this topic? Check out these other resources!

Pollinator activities on KidsGardening.org

City Fruit Pollinator Bingo


Winterization in the School Garden

The days are growing shorter, colder, and darker, and people and animals alike must begin to make previsions. We shed our so-called “summer coats” for heavier, bulkier winter ones. In this time of change it is time to prepare your garden for the coming months.



Just like you probably add a few additional layers to your own bed during the winter time, you can “bundle up” your garden beds too! There are three good reasons to do this. and two different methods we suggest. First of all, covering your beds will prevent erosion, or soil loss, and perhaps nutrient depletion in the harsh winter storms.  Covering the soil will also keep it from getting too compacted. Leaving space between soil particles will make it easier to plant seeds in the spring and help roots and bugs find their way. Thirdly, covering the beds will help to prevent weeds from growing over the Fall, Winter, and early Spring, which will make your job of planting easier later on.

Wedgwood Beds

The two methods we suggest are using cover crops and burlap. Hay works as well, but can have seeds in it which may germinate and be a pain in the Spring. You can also cover your beds with cloches to extend the growing season a bit, but that is for another post!


To cover with burlap, make sure the bed is fully cleaned out of any previous crops and/or weeds.

If you have compost to add, you can do so, as well as adding lime to enrich the soil. If you do this, make sure to use a soil test and follow the instructions on how much lime to use.

Next, cover the soil with burlap and pin it down with rocks or garden staples. In the Spring, you will have rich, fluffy soil to plant in!

Cover crops are another great way to cover your beds. Not only do they provide all the benefits of burlap by holding the soil in place and maintaining space between soil particles, but they also serve to add nutrients to the soil!


Cover crops such as fava beans and other legumes “fix” Nitrogen from the air and store it in their roots. This means the plants have to be worked into the soil to get the benefits. First, you will want to clean out the bed just like with burlap.

Secondly, plant the cover crop seeds as instructed on the packet. Make sure to keep an eye on the plants, and as they flower, chop them up and work them into the soil.

Worm Bin

Does your Learning Garden have a worm bin? If not, it should! If so, have you found your worms seldom make it through the winter? Here are some tips that should help!


Begin by making sure the bin is big enough that the worms can cuddle for warmth. We recommend at least 2x2x2.

Next, move the soil and worms towards the middle of the bin so you can line the inner walls with cardboard.

This will help to insulate the bin, and the cardboard will eventually break down and become part of the worm bin itself. You should also add a few extra layers of newspaper and burlap to the top to retain heat and moisture.

Also keep in mind that if you do lose your worms, their eggs can withstand freezing temperatures and should be able to hatch come Spring!

Chicken Coop

If your Learning Garden contains a chicken coop (lucky you!), then there are a few recommendations we have for helping your fine feathered friends fare the foul frosts. Firstly, you can line the inside walls of the nesting box with cardboard just like with the worm bin. IMG_20181201_141401248_HDR.jpg This will help to insulate the area where they lay and sleep.

You can also add some extra layers of pine shavings and not clean as much out when you do change the litter. This is called “deep litter method”. It helps to keep the roost warm and cozy by allowing the compost to break down and heat up naturally.

Avoid the temptation to install a heat lamp during the winter. Not only can this be a fire hazard, but chickens are actually pretty good at withstanding low temperatures. Creating too much of a temperature difference between their coop and the outside will just make it harder for them to regulate their own body temperature.

Finally, stapling a sheet or two of plastic to the outside of the run can help to keep out the wind, rain, and snow. Be careful to leave a certain amount uncovered to allow for ventilation.


Hope your winter is not too harsh! Let us know if this was helpful to you, or if you have any questions about/need assistance with preparing your garden this season.



Sources and Resources:

Methods of Winterizing your Garden

The Art of Cover Cropping: Sustainable Care for a Happy Garden

Regulating Temperature in a Worm Bin

How to Keep your Chickens Warm in the Winter

Chickens & Body Temperature: What you need to Know


Schedule Fall 2019 Classes Now!

Interested in having Foxberry coordinate your garden? Contact us to schedule Fall programming right away! We offer during or after-school lessons to preschool through 8th grade. Whether you need volunteer coordination, lesson planning, garden maintenance, or delivering programs, we can help. Foxberry’s programs are custom-made for each school or organization. Fill out the form below to let us know what you are interested in and we will set up a meeting  for Fall.