Washington Youth Garden

Washington Youth Garden The Washington Youth Garden, established in 1971, maintains an educational food garden on the grounds of the US National Arboretum and delivers year-round science programming.
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Founded in 1971, we are one of the longest standing educational youth gardens in the country. We are located at the U.S. National Arboretum - 446 acres of green delight located a few miles from the Capitol in Northeast DC. The Washington Youth Garden is a project of the Friends of the National Arboretum with support from the U.S. National Arboretum.

Founded in 1971, we are one of the longest standing educational youth gardens in the country. We are located at the U.S. National Arboretum - 446 acres of green delight located a few miles from the Capitol in Northeast DC. The Washington Youth Garden is a project of the Friends of the National Arboretum with support from the U.S. National Arboretum.

Mission: Using the garden cycle as a tool, the mission of the Washington Youth Garden (WYG) is to inspire children and families to engage in self-discovery, explore relationships with food and the natural world, and contribute to the health and well-being of their communities. The primary goals of our programs are to: a) educate youth and families about the relationship between food, its origins, nutrition, and health; b) connect children (and adults) to the natural world as a place of wonder, exploration and resource for their personal growth; c) expand interest and public awareness of urban gardening and gardening with children.

Operating as usual

The WYG and FONA team worked hard in 2020 to shift our focus and continue to support our community.  Check out our End o...
01/12/2021

The WYG and FONA team worked hard in 2020 to shift our focus and continue to support our community. Check out our End of Year Report!

Happy new year from our FONA family to yours! Thanks to your support last year, we were able to provide critical education and food resources for our community and connect people to nature during the pandemic. Check out our 2020 End of Year Report! https://bit.ly/fona-endofyear

Washington Youth Garden

It’s winter and our honey bees are hibernating inside their respective hives until it will get warm again! As you can se...
12/23/2020

It’s winter and our honey bees are hibernating inside their respective hives until it will get warm again! As you can see everyone is inside because the temperatures are too low and there is nothing for them to forage right now. The garden team and Toni from @dcbeekeepers have helped prepped these ladies for the next few months. This includes making sure they have supplementary food (sugar/water), doing mite tests in the fall, treating for said mites accordingly, and sending them lots of love!
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We had to do a few treatments for our bees at the demonstration garden (Parsley & Basil colonies) because in October they both tested above the acceptable mite threshold, which is not good. This involved formic acid treatment, more tests, and also oxalic vapor treatment. Feel free to direct message us if you’d like more information about these processes or about our bee program in general!
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Big thanks to DC Beekeepers Alliance and all our other WYG family members for your help & support with our beehives!
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The next photo was taken of a frame we were able to look at when we did a hive check on a warm October day — can you spot the Queen?! 👑

✨ Major meal inspiration ahead ✨ As our fall produce distributions have come to an end, we would just like to give a HUG...
12/10/2020

✨ Major meal inspiration ahead ✨ As our fall produce distributions have come to an end, we would just like to give a HUGE thank you to all of the awesome families who shared pictures of their meals with us using their garden produce. We are so inspired by their creativity in the kitchen! 🥬🍠🍅🥕

Dreaming of warmer days?  Thinking of your school or community garden efforts for next year already?  This summer's Inst...
12/10/2020
Summer Institute for Garden-Based Teaching Virtual Training — Washington Youth Garden

Dreaming of warmer days? Thinking of your school or community garden efforts for next year already?

This summer's Institute for Garden-based Learning went virtual, which means you can participate, even if you missed out on it the first time around. Check out all the school garden expertise around DC in the 5 webinars, or plan out your own school garden using all the resources in the course website.

Check out the website to access all the great (and free) resources. Thanks to OSSE for helping us offer this program virtually in 2020, and many thanks to all our presenters!

You can edit the text in this area, and change where the contact form on the right submits to, by entering edit mode using the modes on the bottom right. 

A fun, seasonal treat! 🥥🍌 (*need pumpkin emoji 😩*)Mr. Thomas first made this for students and parents last Fall at @kipp...
12/04/2020

A fun, seasonal treat! 🥥🍌 (*need pumpkin emoji 😩*)

Mr. Thomas first made this for students and parents last Fall at @kippdc_connect and @kippdcspring and it was a huge hit! When I tried it this week, I’ll say I should have followed the directions a little closer and chilled my coconut milk first 😬🥴 but I chilled my whole drink after making it and it was still delicious.

I love a good smoothie so I always have a stockpile of peeled and sectioned bananas in my freezer. It’s a great trick for bananas that might be farther along in their ripening journey (which means they’re sweeter, too). The recipe calls for 10.5 ounces which I eyeballed at a little more than one banana.

Pumpkin puree is the star here, rich in vitamin A, fiber, plus other antioxidants and minerals to keep your skin glowing, eyesight protected, and heart healthy. 🧡

And I used my own version of pumpkin pie spice (which you can often find at grocery stores, but I didn’t have on hand) — allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and a dash of ground cloves and cardamom.

#PumpkinPieSmoothie #SeasonalTreat #HealthyCooking #CookingWithKids

11/24/2020

This is a week for gratitude for the 2020 season, and the amazing team we have over at Washington Youth Garden and Friends of the National Arboretum.

First up is the garden team, led by our Garden Manager Xavier, and our Garden Coordinator, Emilia. Thanks to their efforts, we grew a record 3,950 pounds of produce in our 1 acre demonstration garden, and school gardens. Through the heat, the humidity, the rain, the cold, this team pulled off this amazing effort with unfailing optimism and ingenuity, even when the cucumber beetles came home to roost!

Of course, we also had substantial help from the whole team, but especially from a few key folks: Jake, who stuck around through June to help with all the busy spring work and support Xavier's transition; and several of our Green Ambassadors, Mariyah, Gabe, and Tiponi who kept working with us all fall.

We look forward to next season, when we'll have our new BCS tractor from the start of the year, a crop plan originally designed for crop production, and (fingers crossed everyone) the return of volunteers into the garden. A huge round of applause to the garden team for what they have accomplished this season!!

PS. Want to support the garden? We have a fundraiser live right now to build new raised beds in a part of the garden that often floods out the in ground beds. Check the link to learn more and to donate. https://donate.seedmoney.org/5231/washington-youth-garden

#givethanks #urbangardening

Produce distribution update!🥕🥬🧅Next week will be the last week for free produce distribution! The demonstration garden a...
11/13/2020

Produce distribution update!
🥕🥬🧅
Next week will be the last week for free produce distribution! The demonstration garden and partner school gardens are finishing up for the growing season. There are still some veggies in the ground, and lots of cover crop that will protect and nourish the soil in our beds, but for the most part things have slowed down in preparation for winter (just like nature 🌱).

Be sure to mark your calendars or the distribution days:

🔸Wednesday 11/18, 9am-12pm at
KIPP DC Webb campus
1375 Mt Olivet Rd NE
@kippdcschools

🔸Friday 11/20, 2pm-4pm at
Friendship PCS Armstrong campus
1400 1st St NW
@fpcsarmstrong

Take a look at Ms. Alli at the @fpcsarmstrong garden, packing up fresh goodies for the community. The other photos are of some of the produce that will be available to pick up including:
Kale
Chinese cabbage
Carrots
Radishes
Mizuna (and other leafy greens)
American persimmon
...and more!

Will we see you next week?!

The smiles in this partner school update are sure to brighten up this rainy day! ☀️🌱 FoodCorps Service Member Ms. Alli h...
10/29/2020

The smiles in this partner school update are sure to brighten up this rainy day! ☀️🌱 FoodCorps Service Member Ms. Alli has had a blast in the @fpcsarmstrong garden with students at socially distanced open garden hours! Students have had so much fun getting outside to plant 🌱, harvest 🥕, and water 💧while exploring everything the garden has to offer.

DM us if you are an Armstrong family interested in signing up for a 45 min gardening slot with Ms. Alli (one family at a time, socially distanced, and masked).

#gardeningwithkids #schoolgarden #fallgarden #growinggreendreams

FALL 🍂 CROPS.It is mid October and the season is definitely slowing down. Compared to the summer, our harvests have been...
10/17/2020

FALL 🍂 CROPS
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It is mid October and the season is definitely slowing down. Compared to the summer, our harvests have been smaller. But that’s okay because that’s what nature does! As it gets cold, many plants finish their lifecycle or start getting ready to go dormant for the winter.
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However some veggies like the cool weather! Right now we have radishes, turnips, carrots, leafy greens, and cabbage growing at the demonstration garden.
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Sweet potatoes were dug up a couple weeks ago which are now curing (processing the sugars to have a sweeter taste) and we still have lots of luffa growing!
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What fall crops are you excited about eating this fall? 🎃🍁🌾
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#washingtonyouthgarden #youthgarden @fonarboretum #dcgreenspaces #nationalarboretum #urbanfarming #fallcrops

Hey, hey did you know? October is National Farm to School month AND Growing Healthy Schools month in DC! So much to cele...
10/13/2020

Hey, hey did you know? October is National Farm to School month AND Growing Healthy Schools month in DC! So much to celebrate in our school gardens and families homes.

We are always hearing how much folks are enjoying their produce from our free distributions. Well now is your chance to show us what you’re making! Tag or DM us and you’ll be entered to win a WYG tshirt. 👕 They are SOFT and so comfortable 😎

Featured here is a roasted tomatillo salsa with pinto beans (tomatoes from WYG) for tacos! 🤤

Find us at @kippdc_connect tomorrow 9am-12pm and @fpcsarmstrong 2-4pm Friday.

#HealthySchoolsDC #FreeProduce #farmtoschool #recipes #mealprep #foodstagram #yum

Garden 🌱 Transformations!.Parts of the sensory garden at the Washington Youth Garden have gotten a little wild and weedy...
10/10/2020

Garden 🌱 Transformations!
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Parts of the sensory garden at the Washington Youth Garden have gotten a little wild and weedy since we are a small staff at the moment — (we miss our volunteers so much!)
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One goal this season has been to transform some of these patches into more food growing spaces. In one patch there are carrots, radishes, and greens growing and in the other there are onions surrounding an apple tree.
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The team had to weed, mulch, and put compost on these patches in order to get them ready. Check out the before photos and the giant pile of compost!
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#washingtonyouthgarden #youthgarden #nationalarboretum @fonarboretum #urbanfarming #dcgreenspaces #growingfood #dcgardening

The Garden Science team has been prepping for virtual Garden Club to start this week. But it wouldn’t be the same withou...
10/05/2020

The Garden Science team has been prepping for virtual Garden Club to start this week. But it wouldn’t be the same without the ability to be hands on! Here are the materials that each student will receive in the next week, in addition to a Grow at Home kit. Ms. Rita, Mr. Thomas, Ms. Alli, Ms. Serah, and Ms. Allie have created covers for the journals and written prompts inside so it’s easier for kids to engage.

We can’t wait to see you soon! If you’re a family member of a @kippdcspring @kippdcnortheastacademy @centercitypcstrinidad @hendley_es or @fpcsarmstrong student who wants to join Garden Club, head over to @gardenclub_wyg to register your child. 🤩

#GrowingGreenDreams #GardenClub #HandsOnLearning #GardenScience #Explorations

This female praying mantis was hanging out a leaf below the luffa this morning when Emilia and Allie saw her and took a ...
09/29/2020

This female praying mantis was hanging out a leaf below the luffa this morning when Emilia and Allie saw her and took a closer look. What do you notice about her? 🧐🤩

#GardenScience #InsectConnection #PrayingMantis #Thorax #Abdomen #Antennae

Ehren, our Youth Program Educator, grew these gorgeous cobs of Glass Gem & Cherokee Long Ear popcorn!Both varieties were...
09/28/2020

Ehren, our Youth Program Educator, grew these gorgeous cobs of Glass Gem & Cherokee Long Ear popcorn!

Both varieties were revived by the late Carl Barnes, a farmer from Oklahoma who devoted his life to recovering & preserving ancestral varieties of corn lost during the forced displacement of multiple Indigenous nations, known as the Trail of Tears.

They’re not rainbow colored after they pop but they’re still a beautiful (and delicious) piece of edible history 😋

🌽🍿🌽🍿🌽🍿🌽🍿🌽🍿

Popcorn is easy to grow, taking about 90-100 days from planting to mature. Unlike sweet corn which has to be checked for ripeness and picked within a “short” window, popcorn can be allowed to dry on the stalk and picked whenever you’re ready!

Kernels can be popped in a microwave or on the stovetop.

Remove the kernels, place in an airtight container, and store in the freezer for the most consistently and completely popped popcorn!

#washingtonyouthgarden #growathome #growyourownfood #popcorn #corn #heirloom #dcgardens #homegrownveggies #gardening #communitygarden

It was a busy morning in the garden today.  We flipped a cucumber bed for lettuce seedlings, weeded out a whole lot of w...
09/26/2020

It was a busy morning in the garden today. We flipped a cucumber bed for lettuce seedlings, weeded out a whole lot of wire grass, and distributed 176 Grow-at-Home kits to teachers. It is great to see their excitement for hands-on activities in this digital world.

But, you get no pictures of that today- just some lovely snaps from around the garden. There's also beauty in the fall.

#flowers #gardening #gardeningwithkids #fallgardens #falladventures #backtoschool

Fall squash is here!!! 🍁🍂What’s your favorite way to make squash? Here is FoodCorps Service member Ms.Alli’s favorite sw...
09/23/2020

Fall squash is here!!! 🍁🍂What’s your favorite way to make squash? Here is FoodCorps Service member Ms.Alli’s favorite sweet butternut squash recipe!

-1 small butternut squash
-2 tbs butter
-2 tbs brown sugar
-cinnamon
-nutmeg
-salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350. Cut squash lengthwise and dispose of seeds. Place squash in a baking dish and coat with melted butter. Sprinkle spices and brown sugar on top. Bake covered for 40 mins and uncovered for 20 mins (times will vary depending on the size of the squash). It is ready when it pierces easily with a fork. Mash and enjoy! 😋

#fall #squash #schoolgarden #growyourownfood #fallrecipes #gardeningwithkids #fallgarden

🗣 Calling all WYG partner school students PreK-5th! We are launching our Fall Garden Club virtual programming. We will h...
09/21/2020

🗣 Calling all WYG partner school students PreK-5th!

We are launching our Fall Garden Club virtual programming. We will hold two virtual open houses for students and guardians to learn more about what it means to be a part of Garden Club.

We hope to see you on one of the two calls!

***Please follow @gardenclub_wyg for the link to the Zoom calls***

Saturdays in the garden aren't always all moving mulch, compost, and weeding.  Sometimes, you get to try some fresh suga...
09/19/2020

Saturdays in the garden aren't always all moving mulch, compost, and weeding. Sometimes, you get to try some fresh sugar cane.

We're so thankful we get some extra help this fall from some of our Green Ambassadors that are still around this school year. These chilly fall mornings remind us winter is around the corner, so we'll keep pushing to get more harvested until the end of the season comes.

#fall #winteriscoming #howdoesyourgardengrow #growingfood #growingtogether #fallgardens

Okra all over!! Ms. Allie planted these 🌻 in April or May when It was even less clear what service or this school year w...
09/17/2020

Okra all over!! Ms. Allie planted these 🌻 in April or May when It was even less clear what service or this school year would look like. What I knew for sure was that okra grows abundantly well at this site, so when she planted a couple seeds all those months back, we crossed our fingers and hopEd for some pollinator magic. I noticed their large leaves and climbing stems but I wasn’t sure they would bloom before it got cold. Recently when I arrived at Center City, I was greeted by the site of these big beautiful blooms. Across our 4 school gardens we’ve got most of our brassica seedlings comfortable in their new beds; while our okra, tomatoes, and peppers, continue to push out. We are currently planting beets and radishes and signing up families for open garden hours. Don’t forget to stop by KIPP WEBB on Wednesdays from 9-12 or Friendship Armstrong on Fridays from 2-4 for your share of the local harvest

Our radishes and turnips have sprouted are are growing pretty quickly! That means it’s time to thin them..Thinning just ...
09/13/2020

Our radishes and turnips have sprouted are are growing pretty quickly! That means it’s time to thin them.
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Thinning just means removing seedlings that are bunched together in order to create better spacing for the root vegetables to grow. First check if there are any weak or sickly seedlings to make more space in the rows. If all of the seeds are growing well, remove every other one (aim for 2-3 inch spacing) by pinching the plant off by the base. It’s best not to pull them out of the ground because it may disturb the delicate roots of the neighboring seedlings that have started establishing themselves.
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And don’t throw away the seedlings that you thinned! The sprouts that were pinched off to thin the rows are edible and can go on salads or on top as a garnish for other dishes 🌱
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#washingtonyouthgarden #youthgarden #schoolgarden #gardenscience #greenteaching #garden #planting #growinggreen #thinningplants #gardentricks #homegardens #radishes #turnips

Luffa/Loofah appreciation post 💚Do you use one for personal hygiene or washing dishes? Not everyone knows but luffa is a...
09/09/2020

Luffa/Loofah appreciation post 💚
Do you use one for personal hygiene or washing dishes? Not everyone knows but luffa is a plant (not a sea sponge) and it is edible when it’s young!
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Luffa is in the same family as cucumber and grows like a vine. At the demonstration garden we are growing it along the fence and it is thriving! See photos 1 & 2 for a baby luffa fruit and garden manager Xavier harvesting some for produce distribution!
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Luffa is used for cooking in many Asian countries including India, China, and Vietnam. Photos 3-6 show garden coordinator Emilia testing out the luffa curry recipe that was put together by the garden science team. She said the luffa tasted like a crisp, milder zucchini and the curry came out delicious! Be sure to peel the skin before cooking/eating because it is really tough.
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The recipe, along with some dried out luffa from last season (photo 7), is printed out and available at our partner schools during produce distribution every week! Of course you can always message or email us if you’d like more recipes too :)
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How do you enjoy luffa?

Meet Rita! She is our newest Foodcorps service member from Louisville, Kentucky. Rita will be serving at Hendley Element...
09/09/2020

Meet Rita! She is our newest Foodcorps service member from Louisville, Kentucky.

Rita will be serving at Hendley Elementary this year! Her favorite new thing that she has tried from the garden is ground cherries.

This year, her goal is to be able to adapt to reach students where they are with engaging garden science resources.

Address

3501 New York Ave NE
Washington D.C., DC
20002

Opening Hours

Monday 08:00 - 17:00
Tuesday 08:00 - 17:00
Wednesday 08:00 - 17:00
Thursday 08:00 - 17:00
Friday 08:00 - 17:00
Saturday 08:00 - 17:00
Sunday 08:00 - 17:00

Telephone

+12025448733

Website

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Our Story

Proud to be celebrating its 49th year, the Washington Youth Garden (WYG) provides a unique year-round environmental science and food education program for local youth and families. To this end WYG facilitates its four signature programs - Garden Science, SPROUT, Green Ambassadors, and Family Garden Day. Moreover, WYG has grown into a premiere urban demonstration and production garden serving as a favorite destination for the local community, educators, special interest groups, urban planners and countless local, national and international visitors. Washington Youth Garden nurtures curious minds and healthy bodies by connecting youth to food, the land, and each other. History: WYG at the U.S. National Arboretum (USNA) is one of several youth gardens created in the mid 1960's to early 1970's by the D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation in conjunction with the Washington Youth Garden Council. Their goal was to teach elementary school students in D.C. horticultural skills and life skills such as team building, cooperation, personal responsibility, self-confidence and environmental stewardship. Today, WYG has expanded its environmental education focus to include nutrition and cooking education to promote healthy lifestyles through gardening. Due to D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation budget cuts in 1995, the Friends of the National Arboretum (FONA) increased fundraising efforts and “adopted” the WYG in 1996. In addition to FONA’s assistance, WYG receives generous funding from foundations and individuals, and in-kind support from USNA including land, soil amendments, office and greenhouse space, equipment use and horticultural expertise.

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Registration for our 2018 Rooted In Community Summer Summit is up on our website. The Rooted in Community National Youth Leadership Summit is a conference for high school aged young people involved in the food justice movement. Every summer the summit attracts over 100 young people from throughout the United States and Canada along with 30-40 adult allies. Adults allies cannot attend the summit without bringing high school aged participants and young people cannot attend without an adult ally. Join us and experience: Join youth from across the country to cultivate grassroots leadership, and strengthen the movement through skill building, co-learning, creative arts and direct action. This year is our 20th anniversary and we have a lot of fun stuff in store for you so register before July 1st. #RIC2018
I take it those aren't Safeway strawberries
So excited to see some of you on Monday!
Join us for a Gardening & Nature Photography Workshop on Sun., Aug. 27 from 2-6 pm