Tomato Growing Tips for the Heat

Here are some tomato tips, from Rev. Chamie Delkeskamp, for the forecasted excessive heat wave this week in Southern California… We know many of you are growing Ascension tomatoes… we did sell over 800 plants, after all… so this is what she suggests to help them survive the heat:
  •  WATER DEEP at the crack of dawn… if they are watered well in the morning, you may still find them droopy in the afternoon heat of the day, but this very well may be the fact that they are not liking the heat, but don’t need you to water them again at that moment… if they perk up in the evening when it cools, you gave them what they needed in the morning… if they don’t perk up, you can water them deeper in the evening and shouldn’t need to water them again in the morning or through the next day. If your tomatoes are in the ground, and you water deep, you will most likely need to water them every other day. If your tomatoes are in a pot, they will need water every day.
  • DON’T FERTILIZE. It is not advisable to fertilize the tomatoes in the heat because that encourages growth and flowering and right now they just need to use their energy to survive the heat.
  • Don’t panic if you have “blossom drop” – sometimes in the heat, tomatoes will drop their blossoms. Once it cools off, they will grow new blossoms.
  • MULCH THICK… I mulch all around my tomato plants – and other vegetables as these tips work for other veggies as well – to help hold in the moisture. There are multiple options for mulch, but I use straw bales and tear them apart and spread them all around my plants and over the soaker hoses. I get my straw bales at Underwood Family Farms. For most people with in-ground plants, one straw bale should be plenty.
  • If your plants are in pots, move them into the shade.
  • After the heat wave, you can fertilize again and help them to grow.
Best of luck to your gardens in this heat and may you find cool places to retreat to!

Tomato Journey 2018

Each year, Ascension students, age 4-years through 8th-grade from our church and school, plant and grow tomato seeds beginning in February. The annual tomato sale at Ascension provides our students with opportunities to:

  • Develop a sense of marketing and business practices
  • Discover the basics of gardening
  • Learn to care for creation and eat healthily
  • Identify intersection points with science, math, writing and religion curriculum
  • Raise funds to support our Organic Teaching Garden
  • Build community amongst other students, school families, church members and the wider Conejo Valley

Join us for this year’s Tomato Sale – happening on Earth Day Weekend!

Friday, April 20, 2:30-5:30 PM (with farm animals onsite!), Saturday, April 21, 5:30-7:30, and

Sunday, April 22, 9:00-1:30 (with a picnic lunch at noon).

 With 35 varieties of tomatoes available, we have developed a helpful guide to help you decide! Check out the 2018 Tomato Variety Descriptions.


Have you ever considered the “spiritual necessity of nature?”

Have you ever considered the “spiritual necessity of nature?”  Come gather together for a garden lunch and discussion of Richard Louv’s book Last Child in the Woods.  In the book, he writes, “When my son Matthew was four, he asked me, ‘Are God and Mother Nature married, or just good friends?’  During the course of researching this book, I heard many adults describe with eloquence and awe the role of nature in their early spiritual development.”
Garden Lunch and Book Discussion – Last Child in the Woods
We hope you will join us for this timely discussion as Ascension Lutheran School works towards getting certified as a Nature Explore school… and as we dream of bringing new vitality and growth to our central garden… and as we celebrate the church season of “Creation”.  Children and youth are welcome to come to this lunch with their families.  While we have a book discussion, there will be youth available to watch over and play in the garden with any young children who are present.  You are invited to bring a healthy lunch item to share.
Pastor Chamie will be leading the book discussion.  For questions or wonders, you can contact her at [email protected].

Join us for Garden Gatherings!

Garden Gatherings
Tuesday’s7:00-8:30 PMJuly 25Aug 8Aug 22
Come work, rest, and pray together in the Ascension garden!  We will spend the first half of our time tending  the garden together.  Then we will share a healthy snack (bring something to share) as we rest together and share garden ideas and inspirations, and then we will close our evening in prayer.  For more information, contact Pastor Chamie at [email protected].

Ascension Lutheran School K-8 Campus on the Path to Nature Explore Certification!

At Ascension, we place a strong emphasis on educating the whole child as we create unique results-oriented experiences both in and beyond the classroom. We have seen the many benefits our children experience through the Organic Teaching Garden, and it is our desire to expand this capability by creating nature-based play and learning spaces throughout the campus. Partnering with Nature Explore to develop these spaces ensures that we are applying research-based, field-tested design principles to create a nature-rich outdoor learning environment that our entire student body can benefit from.

The goal of the Nature Explore program, a collaborative program of the Arbor Day Foundation and Dimensions Educational Research Foundation, is to help nature become an integral, joyful part of children’s daily learning. Nature Explore Classrooms established across the country have shown to be highly effective in accomplishing this goal. On May 29, and May 30, a specially trained Nature Explore designer and education specialist team came to work with Ascension Lutheran School in a two-day design consultation to develop a unique concept plan that embodies the research-based guiding principles and specific vision and goals of Ascension Lutheran School. Staff and educators had the opportunity to attend a Nature Explore workshop that focused on using the outdoor classroom and age-appropriate methods for reconnecting children with nature on a daily basis.

The resulting deliverable of this two-day workshop was a detailed concept plan by their landscape architect designed specifically with the needs of Ascension in mind. We hope to begin implementing the plan this summer with the first area of focus being the space in front of the kindergarten classrooms. This will not only provide a safe and engaging play and exploration area for our younger students, but our older grades will also utilize the space for observation, group work, and science learning.

In 2010, our Early Childhood Center was the 4th preschool in California to receive Nature ExploreCertification. The program has since expanded to include 375 certified sites throughout the nation, 19 of those being elementary and middle school campuses. Having experienced the benefits here at the Early Childhood Center, Ascension is again leading the way as an early adopter in the state of California for elementary and middle school campuses.

The Nature Explore initiative will unite us as an entire campus as members of our church and school will all benefit from the beautiful areas. We also feel passionately that Nature Explore will help enforce every aspect of our vision of helping students to lead, inspire, and serve – to serve as they care for God’s creation, to be inspired by the beauty and vastness of that creation, and to grow as leaders as they explore their talents in dynamic, nature-based learning spaces. Watch this summer for updates as we move through this process!



Tomato Plant Sale Update

Many, many thanks to all who worked so hard on our sale and all who came out to buy tomato plants!  This past weekend, we sold around 750 plants and brought in just over $4000!  All proceeds from the sale will fund maintenance and enhancements to our Organic Teaching Garden. We have about 80 plants left for sale which will be available after school this week Tues-Thurs or by making arrangements with Pastor Chamie by emailing [email protected].  In celebration of Easter, the garden will also be open all Sunday morning and if tomato plants are left, you may take one from by the greenhouse and leave an offering in the marked box inside the Nature Center.

Student-Led Tomato Seedling Sale and Family Picnic

The students of Ascension Lutheran preschool and day school, as well as, the Sunday School students and confirmation youth will be selling tomato plants for $4 a piece on the weekend of April 7-9. Baked goods and other items made by the Homesteading class will also be available. All monies made go to support the garden
ministry of Ascension. Over twenty heirloom and hybrid varieties of tomatoes will be available, including but not limited to: Cherokee Purple, Green Zebra, Super Sweet 100, Sungold, Martha Washington, Black Krim, Gold Rush, Sunrise Bumblebee, Pink Wonder, Snow White, Frosted Green Doctor, Greek Domata, and St. Teresa. We have everything from berry-size tomatoes to large tomatoes, coming in various colors and with a variety of ways to use them – from slicing for salads, chopping for salsa, or cooking for marinara sauce.

* Friday, April 7, 2:30-5:30 PM * Saturday, April 8, 5:30-7:30 PM

* Sunday, April 9, 9:00 AM-1:30 PM (Family Picnic non-1:30 PM)

Family Picnic!
Bring a picnic item to share out in our Ascension garden on Sun, Apr 9, from 12 noon to 1:30 PM. Enjoy sharing a meal together, exploring the garden, learning in the nature center, birdwatching with binoculars at our bird
tree, and/or purchasing your yearly tomato plants!

Tomato Season Begins for Ascension Lutheran School!

It’s February, and for students (age 4 years – 8th grade) at Ascension Lutheran School, that means it’s the beginning of tomato season! This week, students will plant over 20 varieties of tomato seeds. Over the coming months, they will be tending to the over 1000 seedlings, creating business plans, writing and drawing about tomatoes, and making preparations for the upcoming student-led tomato seedling sale. The sale teaches students how to be entrepreneurs while enjoying time in the Organic Teaching Garden and learning life-long skills of gardening.

Tomato Plant Sale 2017

The community is invited to our Tomato Seedlings Sale:

  • Friday, April 7, 2:30-5:30 PM
  • Saturday, April 8, 5:30-7:30 PM
  • Sunday, April 9, 9:00 AM-1:30 PM

Students from each grade level will be present to share information about their tomato varieties and offer suggestions for growing healthy tomatoes. Tomato plants start at $4 and all proceeds go to support the continued development of the Organic Teaching Garden.