Our goal at the McFaddin-Ward House is to teach how easy gardening can be. We hope to inspire others to start their own gardens, and to instill a love of nature and conservation in the hearts of the children that participate in the program. We adopted a "lasagna" gardening method and maintain the project free of pesticides and chemicals.

The 4-bed Victory Garden, which is part of its education program, is supervised by staffer, Carol Cuccio. She has gardened her whole life has a real passion for teaching others to grow their own fruit, vegetables and herbs.

To learn more, or to get involved with this fulfilling project, contact us at (409) 832-1906 or email ccuccio@mcfaddin-ward.org.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Getting Ready for the Fall Season

Many workers make the job go quicker, with more laughs, and generate "best ways." The four garden beds were cleaned of dried up or harvested plants and made ready for the autumn season of growth. To winterize the area, more compost and organic fertilizer was amended into the ground (yeah! for composting). We did keep some of the herbs in the garden, like our basil, as they were still producing lovely additions.

The group of volunteers planted peas, potatoes, green onions, broccoli, carrots, and spinach. A joy to plant are the daffodils which will bloom in the springtime. We also planted more sunflowers. We have harvested the sunflowers from the summer, in anticipation of drying and then roasting those seeds. Yum!

The garden may look bare, especially with how abundant it looked earlier in the year, but just wait. We will once again produce food, treats, flowers, and other garden delights.

As always, we are looking for volunteers -- who get treated for their labors with produce from the garden. Call 409-832-1906 to be a garden volunteer.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Fall Garden Prep

As the summer comes to a close, we are looking forward to the fall season by making plans for our next planting. The garden has been a success with a plethora of okra, herbs, beans, sunflowers and wildflowers harvested. We even had a few cantaloupes, potatoes, tomatoes and are waiting for our eggplants to become ripe. We survived the summer heat and are anxiously awaiting some cooler temperatures.

Over the weekend we had our first tiny taste of fall and welcomed a bit of a cool front. It is getting us excited for the cooler temperatures ahead and we look forward to planting our fall garden. Last Wednesday, in preparation for the new garden, we had a work day to remove some of the plants that have stopped producing and made plans to improve our soil with compost. We started bright and early and were able to get a lot done before it got too hot.

We removed the beans, tomatoes, cantaloupe, squash and sunflowers-turned-trees. We are now drying the sunflowers and will roast the seeds in a few weeks. We are all looking forward to that! Yummy!

After we finished our work for the day, we made a list of veggies to grow in the fall. We are working on making our garden layout and will post our plans in a few days. On the list are pumpkins, potatoes and leeks to name a few. We look forward to having some delicious leek and potato soup in the cooler months!

Thank you to all our volunteers who have helped with the garden so far. It was been so rewarding and fun! We are always looking for more volunteers, so send an email or give us a call to see how you can help.

Stay tuned to see what else we’ll be planting!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Boys and Girls Club Visit and sample the Garden's produce

We loved having the Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club visit the McFaddin-Ward House's victory garden. The sixty or so youngsters came in three sessions: Thursdays July 2, 9 and 30. They were enthusiastic about seeing the "real" deal in the garden and then later eating it on their home-made pizza. As a bonus, they also toured the first floor of the house. Danny Chand and Grace Mathis of the Southeast Texas Food Bank organized the outing to help the children understand how important nutritious food is to their health. For us, we marveled on how well they behaved these delightful people are. So please come back!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Progress Report on the Victory Garden

Although it has been plenty hot--well over a three-digit heat index--our garden is looking lush.

We’ve harvested tomatoes, potatoes, okra, cucumbers, beans, herbs (basil, dill, mint, cilantro), and lettuce. Our meals taste so much better when we eat the fresh fruits of our labors!

The sunflowers are growing beautifully and we are enjoying the colorful wildflowers.

Everything is doing well, but we do have to water every day.

Get involved! We are always looking for more volunteers to help with maintenance. We are starting to make plans for a fall garden. A bonus is getting to take home some of the harvest. Nothing taste better than home-grown vegetables.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Pizza straight from the garden (Almost!)

The McFaddin-Ward House plays host to the Boys & Girls Club showing the youngsters how food fresh from a garden could be just the topping for the ever-popular pizza.

The idea for Grow-Your-Own-Pizza toppings came from Danny Chand, the Nutrition Education Specialist for the Southeast Texas Food Bank. Part of his job is to teach good eating habits to a variety of age groups. He noticed that children often don’t have the link between how harvested food becomes grocery food. Capitalizing on his wife Carol Cuccio’s Victory Garden at the McFaddin-Ward House, Chand partnered with the Salvation Army’s Boys Clubs and Girls Club to show the children how to grow/pick/eat garden food.

For three sessions, Thursday July 2, 9 and 30, at 10am, 60-70 youngsters will visit the McFaddin-Ward House’s first floor. They also explore the four-bed garden and its vegetables and herbs, with a final stop at the visitor center where they will be treated to home-made pizza while learning about the nutritional content of the pizzas .

Carol Cuccio noticed on the club’s first outing, several of the children had never seen garden-grown tomatoes and were at first reticent about eating the squash. Commenting on how well behaved the children are, Cuccio also spoke about the children’s willingness to taste-test the colorful pizza toppings. “The children saw firsthand how food can go from the garden to the table and they liked this adventure in eating.”

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Last Visit from Tom Wright of KFDM TV

On Wednesday, June 17, Tom Wright made his fourth and final visit to our Victory Garden. He interviewed Carol Cuccio and she was able to show him how well the four-bed garden has grown.

We can harvest many of the herbs and several of the vegetables (crowder peas, tomatoes, and cucumbers to name just a few). Michelle Cate took photos of the garden for you to see on our Facebook page. The Sunflowers look magnificient.

Come by to see the garden--as we work hard to keep it cool in this 100+degree heat.


Thursday, June 11, 2009

What Fun at the Latest Green Thumbs

Once again, a great group of gardeners came to our children's programming: Green Thumbs. This month's theme was "Bugs: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly" and did our Greenies find the bugs all over our garden and yard--I must admit they all looked ug-lee to me! The museum educators showed, though, how the bugs were either good for our garden or bad for our garden.

After reading Eric Carle's "The Hungry Caterpillar" and chanting the word metamorphosis a few times, the youngsters were let loose in the garden with bug-catcher jars to see what they could find. Then they looked thru the guide sheets to i-d the little buggers.

Off to get wet. Very wet. On hot days in Beaumont where the temperature was over 90 degrees with high humidity....what fun to run through the sprinklers, just like their parents and grandparents did when they were young. Vintage sprinklers were spread all over the carriage house lawn and impromptu games of Kick Ball and Chase Me and Jump Over the Water sprang up. Rebecca Woodland taught the kids how to play Red Light/Green Light and Mother, May I (remember those good old-fashion games?).

Glad they ALL could join us. Look for another fun and entertaining (and -- when we can sneak it in -- educational) Green Thumbs program!!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

My! How our garden has grown!

In just a few short weeks, our garden has really blossomed! Come by and check it out the next time you're in the neighborhood...it looks great!
See more pictures on our Facebook fan page!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Tom Wright Checks Us Out!

Tom Wright of KFDM aired his third in a series Live at Five Report from our Victory Garden. And how the garden has grown! Education Assistant Carol Cuccio tours Tom and cameraman Kevin Fitch around the garden as helpers do a final weeding before watering. We appreciate Tom's interest.
Tom's next visit: Wednesday, June 17th--be sure to watch!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Green Thumbs' Next Program June 11, 2009

Join us for our next Green Thumbs Program!
BUGS: "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly!"
Call today to register!
June 11, 2009
4:00-5:00 PM
Behind the Carriage House, at corner of North and 4th Streets
After a bug hunt and a lesson on insects found in our garden, kids can have fun playing in the sprinklers. Be sure to bring your swimsuit and a towel!
Remember, the program is free, but registration is a must. Call (409) 832-1906 or email ccuccio@mcfaddin-ward.org
Our green thumbs program is geared toward children ages 6-12 years. Our goal is to help cultivate a love for nature and gardening in Beaumont's youth.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Another Great Green Thumbs Program
May 7th

  • Started off with reading Growing Vegetable Soup by Lois Ehlert.

  • Then off to check out how well the garden has grown since the Green Thumbers planted last April. We are getting more and more vegetation each day.

  • Another trip to the compost pile where the children told us new things!

  • The big highlight was the Nature Scavenger Hunt in the museum's block-big garden where the children found things they could touch, smell, hear, see, but not eat.

  • The kids learned about the three R's: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. The kids had ever-so many ideas on what they could do with a "mess" of stuff. Before long, the Green Thumbers made or thought of musical instruments out of the recycled items.

  • Did you know: Plants need nutrients to be healthy, just like people do? There are three nutrients that all plants need in order to live:


    is needed for leaf growth and to have a good green color.

    Phosphorus is needed to form roots and to make seeds, fruit and flowers. It also helps plants fight disease.

    Potassium is needed to make strong stems and to also help fight disease.

Friday, May 1, 2009

What we’re growing in our Victory Garden:
African Daisies
Aloe Vera
Bell Pepper
Crowder Peas
Green Beans
Lima Beans
Sweet Peas

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Tom Wright Gets Ready

Tom Wright from Channel 6/KFDM did a live broadcast from our Victory Garden for his series about gardening. He is following the progress of the four garden beds and he was able to show his viewers the many sprouts peeking out from the ground. MWH Staffer Carol Cuccio showed him how she is watering the garden, including using a drip system. Because it is getting hotter in the afternoons, watering nearly every day will become essential. Fortunately, volunteers are stepping up to the job.
Tom's next visits are May 20th and June 17th. Watch Live at Five on Channel 6.

Anyone else interested in digging, planting, weeding, watering, and loving our gardens, give the museum a call. 409-832-1906

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Volunteers Needed!

Do you love gardening?
Do you enjoy sharing your talents with others?
Do you like to meet new people
who have similar interests?
Do you want to be a part of something that is unique in Beaumont?

We’d love for you to join us!

Contact us at (409) 832-1906 for more details.

Be part of the McFaddin-Ward House Victory Garden!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

First Green Thumbs a Hit!

Thursday, April 2, 2009 4:00p-5:00p behind the Carriage House.

We held our first Green Thumbs program and it was an all around success! Thanks for coming and being part of it. 25 children signed up and ranged from pre-schoolers with older siblings to middle school age. Luckily 10 wonderful volunteers were on hand to make the program a success for the McFaddin-Ward House Education Department.

MWH Educator, Carol Cuccio, planned the session which kicked off with snacks and Eric Carle's book: The Tiny Seed.

Then the children were cleverly split into 3 groups: Corn, Tomatoes, and Cabbages. Then the children rotated through several fun activities.

Here's what we did:
Made a seed starter kit from egg cartons to grow carrots.
Read books about seeds.
Planted seeds to show the children how to plant: lima beans, sunflowers, African daisies, peas, Swiss chard, cucumbers.
Showed the children what tomato plants would look like.
Showed the museum’s compost pile and talked about composting.
Children went on an Easter Egg hunt to find short messages about how to conserve and go green.

Even the hand washing in the bucket with a "floaty soap" bar was a big hit! And hands did get dirty from the planting!

Stay posted for information on our next Green Thumbs program in May. Be sure to join us next time!

For more information or to reserve a spot please call 409-832-1906 or email: ccuccio@mcfaddin-ward.org

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Planting Day

Victory Garden Featured on Live at 5

Tom Wright from Channel 6 News (KFDM/CBS) broadcast his first in a series of live interviews in our Victory Garden, March 24th. He was able to photograph volunteers planting in two of our gardens.

Tom will return Thursday, April 15th to follow the progress of our gardens. Plan to come help us over the next few weeks to get our gardens growing.

Call or email for more details. 409-832-1906/McFaddin-Ward House/Carol Cuccio


Saturday, March 21, 2009

How To Plant Your Garden:

1. Peace of mind
2. Peace of heart
3. Peace of soul

1. Squash gossip
2. Squash indifference
3. Squash grumbling
4. Squash selfishness

1. Lettuce be faithful
2. Lettuce be kind
3. Lettuce be patient
4. Lettuce really love one another

1. Turnip for meetings
2. Turnip for service
3. Turnip to help one another

1. Thyme for each other
2. Thyme for family
3. Thyme for friends

Monday, March 9, 2009

Easy's Restaurant is on board

Our good neighbor to the west of us is joining us in our recycle efforts. Easy's Restaurant will support our community garden composting efforts. Glad you are on board! Stop in for some good food, too, at Easy's. We do.

Azaleas are beginning to bloom

While we are working to get the garden beds ready for the first plantings, the azaleas on our yards are beginning their blooms. A gorgeous dark pink. What a beautiful flush of color.
We welcome people to come onto the yard (check at the visitor center first) to snap photos for personal use (no professionals and only walking on the grass and sidewalks).

Carol Cuccio, our education assistant, has been busy organizing, planning, staffing, and conjoling to get our four garden beds up and running.

Check in to watch our progress.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Jason's Deli will help

We are blessed that Jason's Deli will contribute to our compost. Jason's will be a good community partner.

Monday, February 9, 2009

We now have a compost container!

Thanks to Felix, Jeronimo, and Roy, our compost container is finished! It is located on the east side of the COBuilding in the gated area. Attached is a list of items that are ok to compost. So start collecting in your homes and around town at area restaurants, too!

Contact us a ccuccio@mcfaddin-ward.org for more details.

Happy composting!!

Good things to add:

* Fruit and veggie scraps from your kitchen
* Coffee grounds (the filter is fine too!)
* Tea bags
* Grass clippings
* Ash from your barbeque pits and fireplaces
* Leaves

Things that can’t be added:

x Meats, fish or bones
x Dairy products

Monday, February 2, 2009

4 Garden Beds at the McFaddin-Ward House

The buildings & grounds crew went to work and put in 4 raised garden beds. We are getting closer! We did a "lasagna" layering of materials for the raised beds. That is, we built a wooden border above the ground by about 6-inches and then filled the interior with a bottom layer of newspaper, followed by hay, fertilizer, straw, another layer of fertilizer and will cover the top with compost, before we add the vegetables and herbs.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The McFaddin-Ward House’s Goals for Victory Garden

  • To bring the community and nature together with an interactive organic gardening program involving citizens and organizations of Beaumont and the surrounding area.

  • Inspire others to start their own gardens, especially local schools, children’s organizations and clubs.

  • To work with local school districts and after school programs, providing education and hands-on experience in gardening, the environment, and a healthy lifestyle.

  • To fit hand-in-hand with a general city beautification message.

We will have four garden plots: 2 vegetable gardens, 1 herb garden and 1 children’s garden