Our Outdoor Classroom is Officially Open!

Today we officially opened our outdoor classroom and hosted our very first storytime in the garden. This is truly a dream come true! We are thrilled to begin to offer educational programming to families throughout the Lowcountry in a natural outdoor setting.

Tomorrow our website will include a list of all programs available and a link to sign up. Upcoming classes will include yoga in the garden, arts and crafts, weather talk with Dave Williams ABC News4, storytime, and gardening classes exclusively for our new Katie’s Krops Growers. We will continue to add programs monthly. All participants must register in advance, and space will be limited. To provide an enjoyable experience for all attendees each class will be open to children in a specific age range. We are actively seeking a sponsor for our classroom to expand programs and be able to keep all classes free of charge.

The DuBose Middle School Katie’s Krops Garden Makeover!

We are thrilled to share we are one step closer to creating a new beautiful expansive Katie’s Krops garden at DuBose Middle School! Our wonderful team of volunteers braved the cold to remove the old decaying beds, remove the weed-filled soil, and created a fresh, clean landscape for us to construct the new garden yesterday. Next Saturday, we will start building the new garden beds and laying the groundwork for the students at DuBose to feed their neighbors in need.

How can you help?

1.) Do you have an impact drill and the skills to help us build a few raised beds? Come join us on Saturday morning! Sign up here- https://www.signupgenius.com/go/409054DA5AE29A6FE3-dubose2

2.) Make a donation to help us build out the garden beds, line them with weed block, fill the beds with nutrient-rich garden soil, and lay irrigation. Every dollar helps! https://katieskrops.networkforgood.com/…/125226-help…

3.) Spread the word and help us gain the support we need for these students and teachers.

Thank you to everyone who has supported our efforts! The students and faculty are so excited about their garden transformation!

Katie’s Krops Bringing Educational Programming to the Lowcountry with New Outdoor Classroom

We are excited to announce the addition of an outdoor classroom to our flagship garden, bringing, hands-on educational programming to the Lowcountry in a safe and socially distant manner. The new outdoor classroom is located at the Katie’s Krops flagship garden on the campus of Crossroads Community Church. It will open to the public on March 22, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and storytime with Katie’s Krops Founder, Katie, to follow. 

“This has been a longtime dream to be able to further empower children by teaching the fundamentals of gardening, sharing how to cook with the harvest, using the garden as inspiration for art classes, learning about the environment. With my college degree completed, I am thrilled to be returning to Katie’s Krops full-time and expand our offerings” share Katie Stagliano.

This is a new venture for us at Katie’s Krops. Classes will include science, art, and crafts, cooking, storytime in the garden, yoga, gardening basics, to name a few. In addition to classes, the classroom will allow for field trips to the garden.

Our Katie’s Krops Master Gardener Lisa is excited about the outdoor classroom and beginning to teach educational programming, “Being outside is always such a wonderful experience, and when you add the component of an outdoor classroom, I believe that the whole experience is enriched even further.  The availability of such a valuable resource is very exciting for me, especially as a Master Gardener, for one of my personal goals is to continuously find ways of working with children in an educational environment.”

A class schedule will be on after the official opening. Pre-registration is required, and classes will be capped to ensure social distancing. The majority of programs will be free of charge. We are actively seeking a sponsor for the classroom to expand offerings and keep programs free of charge for all families.

Our Soil³ Compost Fundraiser to Help You Grow

Ready to get growing this spring? Don’t miss our new Katie’s Krops fundraiser perfect for gardeners!

Our Soil³ Compost Fundraiser offers you $20 savings on each cubic yard BigYellowBag of compost that you purchase. And while you get quality compost for your garden – you also support Katies Krops because we get $15 for every bag that you buy! The bag will be delivered directly to YOU!

Soil³ compost comes in a BigYellowBag that means no mess! The bag is tied shut, so if you don’t use the compost all at once, you can keep the rain out. This makes it easy to have quality compost handy anytime you are planting something new or filling a container. Plus, it is more cost-effective than buying lots of small bags of compost, and you don’t have to tote all those bags yourself. Delivery is simple and complies with social distancing.

The regular price for a cubic yard BigYellowBag of Soil³ humus compost is $199.99. With our discount code KatiesKrops1 you will save $20 and pay $179.99 plus tax. Delivery is included! Please make sure you only order online at Soil3.com with our code KatiesKrops1This special code is valid from March 16-30 and is available in South Carolina, Georgia, North Carolina, and sections of Tennessee. Click here to order https://shop.soil3.com/discount/KatiesKrops1

And a shameless plug, if anyone would like to donate a bag for our garden we would be extremely grateful!!! Thank you for helping us grow!

Rose ~ North Carolina

Katie’s Krops Growers begin with the organization for various reasons. In 15-year-old Rose Stoehr’s case, it has become a family tradition. Older siblings Jackie and John preceded her, and while both have moved on to college, the garden they helped tend for years at Hawk Ridge Elementary, a public school in Charlotte, North Carolina, is still growing. Mom Carrie is a teacher at the school as well as the garden coordinator, and Rose started participating in 1st grade; eight years later, she has moved on to high school but is still an active Katie’s Krops Grower and the youth lead responsible for the Hawk Ridge Garden.

The first Stoehr sibling to join Katie’s Krops was Jackie. She and some 4th-grade classmates at Hawk Ridge wrote the grant application, and she continued working in the garden for many years until she left for college. John then spearheaded the garden for a year until he left for college as well, leaving Rose to take charge. Both Jackie and John say they learned a lot about gardening, whether they were lugging bags of dirt, planting seeds, watering, weeding, picking produce, and performing all the tasks involved in maintaining a healthy garden. Both also learned a lot about their community, its needs, and that the fresh produce is very much appreciated at the food bank since most of the food they have is canned.

With her siblings off at school, Rose is now the lead Katie’s Krops Grower. From starting seeds in the wooden raised beds in March to the final harvest in November, the garden produces tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and various greens. These crops are donated to the Second Harvest Food Bank, whose recipients are thankful for and enjoy the 400 to 500 pounds of fresh produce grown annually. This bounty is produced in 9 raise garden beds totaling 336 feet; herbs grown in pots are also donated. Growing the food provides students with an opportunity to volunteer while working outside in the dirt, weeding, and planting. Rose enjoys that and feels good that these donations help others.

Volunteer gardeners are recruited from the student population each year. Carrie recently made a video to recruit volunteers this growing season and now has six students per day helping in the garden. Limiting the number of students is needed to ensure that they are socially distanced while they work. It’s a fun learning experience for those who participate each spring and fall; as with most school-based gardens, students do not participate when school is not in session, but Rose and her mom keep the garden going during the summer.

The Charlotte area has a relatively long growing season. The heat of summer definitely results in a bumper crop of bugs, too, which must be dealt with along with some damage to the garden in the form of trash and uprooted crops that is done by a few kids. Fortunately, those issues are not too frequent or harmful. The gardeners do have a source of water for their crops, making watering in the Charlotte heat a lot easier. Rose estimates that she personally spends 5 to 7 hours a week while the garden is being established in the spring and then 2 to 3 hours each week during the summer and fall growing and harvesting seasons.

Rose is the last in the line of the Stoehr siblings, but even when she graduates high school and heads off to college in a few years, she hopes to continue helping in the garden during the summer and to do her best to remain a part of the garden and work to engage future students in learning about gardening and continuing the work of Katie’s Krops.

Update on our 2021 Grower Search- Phase Two

Thank you to everyone who applied to become a 2021 Katie’s Krops Grower. Our selection committee will start evaluating all of the applications tomorrow. We received a large number of applications for the three spots we have available in phase two. We allow for ten days after the deadline for the post office to deliver all applications from across the country before we start the process of selecting our new Growers. Thank you for your patience. We know there are many children anxiously awaiting an answer.

West Carrollton High School~ Ohio

Not all Katie’s Krops gardens are grown in backyards. Sometimes they are community-based at a church or school. One such garden is the Pirate’s Patch; named after the school mascot, it’s located on the grounds of West Carrollton High School, just south of Dayton, Ohio, and is where students from the school raise food guided by Judi Brooks. Judi is officially the Computer Lab Coordinator but incorporates her love of gardening and love of students into teaching the students about growing vegetables and helping the community.

The garden got its start several years ago when Judi and Lori Balazs, a colleague at the school, were interested in creating a garden where students could experience growing vegetables and use the garden as a community service for the students to raise and donate to the homeless in Dayton. Science teacher Mike Newman was familiar with Katie’s Krops from his time in Summerville, SC, the organization’s hometown, joined in and challenged his students to write essays to use for applying for the first Katie’s Krops grant. Using the funds from the first grant, Mike and his students planted radish seeds in the classroom, experimenting with different growing methods, and later transplanted them in the Pirate’s Patch. A couple of years later, Judi assumed the leadership role and has worked with student and community members to continue the work in the garden through Katie’s Krops.

Various students are generally involved with the garden, including Environmental Science students, the National Honor Society (NHS), football and volleyball teams, and anyone interested in growing food. Unfortunately, this past growing season was not “normal” due to Covid19. All West Carrollton’s students had 100% remote/hybrid learning, so they were not able to help in the gardens. Darn Covid! That did not deter Judi and others. They continued growing to provide over 1,000 pounds (a garden record) of fresh vegetables to the St. Vincent de Paul shelter to feed their residents. This included pumpkins, squash, tomatoes (from plants provided by Proven Winner), potatoes, sweet potatoes, beets, kale, beans, cabbage, cucumbers, carrots, celery, radishes, turnips, and various varieties of lettuce.

In addition to helping feed the community, an important goal of Katie’s Krops, the garden provides many educational opportunities while building unique relationships for both the students and adults. Students have an opportunity to learn how food is grown and how it tastes fresh from the plant/vine without the use of chemicals. Some are leery of digging in the dirt and getting their hands in the soil, especially when it gets under their nails, but when a student harvested a 5-pound sweet potato in 2018, it was “game on” to see what everyone else could find in hopes of topping that weight. They’ve learned that as the growing season ends, you can pick the green tomatoes and let them ripen indoors as well as make a cake with them, which Judi did. They enjoyed eating it and were a bit disbelieving when they found out what was in it after they finished and had requested another one.

The students learn other skills too. They are responsible for weighing and photographing the produce as it’s harvested, entering the amounts in a spreadsheet. By analyzing the results, they learn what was most and least productive, providing the information they need to decide what is best to plant during the next growing season.

Pirate’s Patch is a 24 by 78-foot area of raised beds constructed of cinder blocks, including footpaths to reach all crops. Trellises using PVC pipes allow for vertical gardening, and even the holes in the cinder blocks are used to grow root vegetables and lettuce. Many large pots lining the walkway provide more growing opportunities. A new high school will be built within the next few years, and plans are being developed for a new greenhouse and space for gardening. In the meantime, cold frames and adding more vertical growing areas are the immediate goals for the current garden.

The Connie Sue Parsons Memorial Butterfly Garden, located in the school’s courtyard and created in memory of a school secretary, provides additional learning opportunities as the students experience the life cycle of butterflies. The students are able to observe all four stages of the butterfly’s life, from an egg to a caterpillar to a chrysalis and finally to the emergence of the butterfly. Environmental Science students receive their own eggs to care for and observe. A butterfly cage in the school library’s media center provides an additional indoor opportunity for any student or staff member who is interested in observing the process.

The students are currently learning through a hybrid model of 2 days at school and three days remotely, so the hope and plan is that they will once again be involved in the garden this coming growing season. 

Mark Your Calendar for our Soil³ Compost Fundraiser Available for our Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina Friends

Mark Your Calendars! March 16th to 30th~

Spring will be here soon, and we are all ready to get our hands back in the dirt. So, you don’t want to miss our new fundraiser perfect for gardeners in South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, areas of Tennessee! Our Soil³ Compost Fundraiser offers you $20 savings on each cubic yard BigYellowBag of compost that you purchase. And while you get quality compost for your garden – you also support Katie’s Krops because we get $15 for each bag that you buy!

Please make sure you only order online at Soil3.com with our code KatiesKrops1 from March 16 to 30th – so you get a $20 discount and your purchase helps us end hunger.

We all know that soil quality is critical to successful gardening and Soil³ compost is excellent for all your plants: vegetables, annuals, and perennials, ornamental beds, container gardens, as well as topdressing your lawn. It helps retain moisture so you grow stronger, healthier plants. And it contains slow-release, natural nutrients so your garden vegetables and other plants grow bigger and faster. We love Soil³ compost!Soil³ compost comes in a BigYellowBag that means no mess! The bag is tied shut so if you don’t use the compost all at once you can keep the rain out. This makes it easy to have quality compost handy anytime you are planting something new or filling a container. Plus, it is more cost-effective than buying lots of small bags of compost and you don’t have to tote all those bags yourself. Delivery is simple and complies with social distancing.

The regular price for a cubic yard BigYellowBag of Soil³ humus compost is $199.99. With our discount code KatiesKrops1 you will save $20 and pay $179.99 plus tax. Delivery is included! The fundraiser will run from Tuesday, March 16 to Tuesday, March 30. Order online with this link and the $20 discount will automatically be applied: https://shop.soil3.com/discount/KatiesKrops1 You can share this deal with anybody you know, but they must use the code to order on soil3.com for us to get credit. Thanks for your support and happy gardening!

And I have to include a shameless plug. If anyone would like to donate a bag to Katie’s Krops, we would be THRILLED!

Garden Treasure Tomatoes & Amazel Basil Inquiries

Based on recent newspaper articles, we have received a large number of calls, emails, and inquiries asking to order tomato plants/seeds and basil plants and seeds. Katie’s Krops does not sell any plants; we are a non-profit that empowers youth across the country to grow a healthy end to hunger one vegetable garden at a time.

To inquire about ordering seeds/plants, please contact our friends and supporters at Proven Winners if you are interested in ordering seeds and plants. Please use this link to order plants and seeds or call 815-895-8130. https://www.provenwinners.com/plants/search?keywords=tomatoes&hardiness_zone=All&duration=All&flower-color=All&light_requirement=All&available_online=All

Please DO NOT Accept Any Facebook Friend Request from Katie’s Krops

As we are working hard to feed our neighbors in need, a hacker has cloned our Facebook page to access your personal information. Please know our Facebook will never send out a friend request. It is only a page that you can “like” or “follow.” We ask that you please report it and block it if you received a request. Thank you.