DIY Garden Projects for the Long Weekend

DIY Garden ProjectsThinking about DIY garden projects for the Memorial Day weekend? Spring gardening is a favorite recreational activity for many of us, and though we are still sheltering-in-place, there are a lot of cool backyard DIY garden projects we can do while enjoying this beautiful weather.

Raised garden beds

Raised garden beds are great for growing seasonal vegetables and herbs. These can be made with bricks if you have any left around the yard or with untreated, but rot-resistant wood. Raised bed kits can also be ordered online. Place them at a location where they get at least six hours of sunlight. Here is a good resource for DIY garden beds.

Bird houses

Bird houses in the backyard are a nice way to attract small birds like robin, bluebird, wren, sparrow, and swallow. Bird houses also help some bird species thrive by providing a safe shelter from other predators. Find out more about placing bird houses here.

Arbors and trellises

Arbors and trellises make a beautiful feature for any backyard or front yard. Arbors create an inviting entrance and can highlight a special part of your garden. Trellises can offer support to pretty flowering creepers or vegetable plants. Learn more about how to install garden arbors and trellises here.

A Colorful Story for Your Backyard Garden

Backyard gardenHello Almaden families! Hope you are all safe and sheltering in place right now. We are all facing a tough situation, but it need not be completely frustrating. We can use this opportunity to get a lot accomplished around the house and in the backyard garden, along with some great family bonding time.

It’s spring, and the beautiful weather calls one out to the garden. It’s time to go out for some planting. Spring is the best time to plant seasonal flower bulbs, saplings and beds to yield the summer.

In late March or early April, spring planted bulbs will transform your garden into a glory of colors in the summer. Some of the most popular varieties are calla lilies, dahlia, gladiolus, begonia, anemone, canna, and a variety of lilies like rain lily, nerine lily, and the Asiatic lily.

Late April is the time to plant the saplings directly into the ground. You can create beautiful borders or fill up those empty spaces in your backyard garden. While planting, take care to position sun-loving and shade-loving varieties in the right zones. Some of the plants you can place directly into the ground at this time are roses, which will bloom right through September or early October. While gardening stores stock a variety of annuals, you can get better yield from your hard work by planting perennials which keep blooming year after year. Popular perennials are lavender, geranium, daisy, iris, aster, black-eyed susan, bugleweed, and clematis, among others.

Stay safe and enjoy some family time in the garden.

For more planting information, visit:
https://gardenerspath.com/plants/flowers/best-flowering-perennials
https://www.almanac.com/gardening/planting-calendar/CA/San%20Jose
https://www.ufseeds.com/learning/what-to-plant-in-april
https://www.americanmeadows.com/flower-bulbs/spring-flower-bulbs

Cleaning Up to Welcome Spring

welcome springIt’s the end of January, and while there’s still a chill in the air, it’s also the time to begin working in the yard and garden so you can welcome spring in all its splendor. Here are some essential ‘welcome to spring’ tasks that you can tackle right now and enjoy your garden for months to come.

Clean Ditches and Drains

Clear out fall leaves, seedlings and other debris from ditches and drains around the garden to ensure good drainage from the soil. The cleared garden refuse can be put in a compost bin for ready fertilizer to use during spring and summer. If you don’t have a compost bin, this is also a good time to build one.

Start a Compost Pile

A good carbon-nitrogen balanced compost can be created by using common garden and kitchen waste. Carbon-rich matter are branches, dried leaves, wood chips, bark dust or sawdust pellets, shredded brown paper bags, corn husk, coffee grounds, conifer needles, egg shells and wood ash. Nitrogen can be found in fruit and vegetable scraps, tea leaves and grass clippings. A good balanced compost has more carbon than nitrogen, about one-third green and two-thirds brown material. In three months, the compost will be ready to use.

Refresh the Lawn

If there are bare patches in the lawn, re-seed them. Mix grass seed into soil in a wheelbarrow and spread over the bare areas. The rains will ensure that the seeds germinate and new grass grows well in spring. A good grass fertilizer may also be sprinkled now.

Trim and Fertilize

Trim trees and flowering bushes, and remove dead foliage to make way for new spring growth. Weed pulling is also best done now when roots are shallow. Late winter is also the best time to fertilize fruit trees and flowering bushes and shrubs.

Add Mulch

Add mulch to a depth of about three to four inches around the base of young fruit trees to protect new growth from the late winter frost. Keep the mulch a few inches away from the crowns and stems of plants.

Clean Bird Baths and Feeders

Water accumulated in bird baths can be a health hazard for both birds and humans, so it is important to scrub them clean at least every two to three weeks. Scrub with baking soda, or a 1:10 chlorine bleach and water solution for more stubborn dirt. Pressure wash if needed. Keep baths filled with fresh water every week to attract birds throughout spring and summer.

For more ideas, visit:
https://learn.eartheasy.com

Run Turkey Run 2019

Run Turkey Run 2019It’s time for Run Turkey Run 2019!

Run Turkey Run, Almaden’s popular annual turkey run event, will be held on Thanksgiving morning, Thursday, November 28, from 7:00 am to 12:00 pm. Run Turkey Run is a family fun event that supports Bret Harte Middle School’s Booster Club.

There are two runs available for runners to choose from: the 10k, which starts at 8:30 am, and the 5K, which starts at 8:50 am. Both runs begin and end at Leland High School. Turkey Run T-shirts ($15) and registration packets are available for purchase at Bret Harte Middle School cafeteria on Wednesday, November 27, from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Race day registration (November 28) and packet pickups are from 7:00 to 7:30 am at Leland High School. Come on out and run or cheer to support Bret Harte Middle School!

For more information or to sign up for Run Turkey Run 2019, click here or call Bret Harte Middle School at 408-535-6270.

Almaden Quicksilver County Park – October 2019 Events

Almaden Quicksilver County ParkIf you enjoy nature and are interested in knowing first-hand the history of Almaden Valley, this is a great time to head to the Almaden Quicksilver County Park. Starting this weekend, there are some interesting events organized by the New Almaden Quicksilver County Park Association (NAQCPA) in partnership with the Santa County Parks Department.

Here’s a synopsis of the events:

Saturday, October 12, 2019: A celebration of Pioneer Day, from 11:00 am – 2:00 pm, at the Casa Grande. The NAQCPA has held their annual Pioneer Day celebrations in the Almaden Quicksilver County Park for 34 years. Pioneer Day began with the purpose of sharing mining stories and meeting with former New Almaden miners who remembered the place. Today it has evolved into an event to showcase historic sites and current projects in the park.

Saturday, October 26, 2019: Quicksilver History Hike from 9:00am-12:00pm. The Quicksilver History Hike is a docent led hike of moderate intensity to historic mining sites within the park.

Sunday, October 27, 2019: Whoppers and Ghostly Tales of New Almaden at the park from 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm. Want to learn about the ghosts of New Almaden? Come over for an evening of ghostly stories about the Almaden Quicksilver mines narrated by a docent as you tour the historic 1854 Casa Grande. Meet at the Casa Grande front entrance. Reservations online or (408) 355-2240.

For more information, visit: http://newalmaden.org/#AQS-Events

Basketball and Swim Teams Registrations Open

Basketball and swimWith the new school year in full swing and kids back into routine, it’s now time for sports registrations. Currently, registrations are underway for basketball and swim teams in Almaden.

Basketball

The Almaden NJB Youth Basketball League 2019-2020 registrations are now open. The Almaden NJB offers an exciting opportunity for both girls and boys to play in division, all-star and all-net, with teams advancing to the national tournament. Here are some dates to remember:

  • Registration: currently open
  • Mandatory player evaluations (grades 3-8): Sept 21-22
  • First games (division and all-net): November 24

Since the NJB is completely a volunteer-led program, there are several volunteer positions open that you may also consider, if interested. For more information, visit: http://www.almadennjb.org

Year-round Swim Teams

The two year-round swim teams in and around Almaden are the Almaden Riptides, which practices at the Shadowbrook Swim club, and the Quicksilver Swim team (QSS), which practices at both Gunderson High and the Almaden Swim and Racquet Club (ASRC). Both are currently accepting registrations. Further, while both are year-long competitive swim teams, they also offer recreational swim options. For more information, visit: https://www.almadenriptides.com and https://www.teamunify.com/Home.jsp?_tabid_=0&team=pcqs

Almaden Community Center Summer 2019

Almaden Community Center Summer 2019Almaden Community Center Summer 2019

Spring is well under way, and with just a few short weeks left of the school year, are you wondering how to keep your kids engaged during the summer? Well, here are the highlights of the popular summer camps and activities at the Almaden Community Center. You can view the full catalog here: Almaden Community Center Summer Catalog 2019

Dance

From fairy-tale themed dances for the tiny tots to the more energetic hip-hop and cheerleading style moves for the older kids, the dance camps will have them moving and grooving in no time. Look up:

  • Camp Dance
  • Anna and Elsa Dance Camp
  • Cheerleading/Hip-Hop Dance Camp
Sports by Skyhawks

The sports camps by Skyhawks are intensive camps for both beginner and intermediate levels, where participants have fun and also pick up essential skills to excel. Some of the sports taught by Skyhawks are:

  • Basketball
  • Beginner Golf
  • Flag Football
  • Tennis
  • Volleyball
  • Track and Field
STEM with Mad Science

For kids with a curious bent of mind, the STEM camps conducted by Mad Science are sure to keep them thinking and tinkering all summer long. Check out:

  • Eureka! Young Inventors Camp
  • Fizz-Ical Phenomena and Che-Mystery
  • Jet Cadets
LEGO and Minecraft

For the little gaming and engineering enthusiasts, the LEGO and Minecraft camps are sure to enthrall. Consider:

  • Harry Potter Magical and Master Engineering
  • Bash’ em Bots
  • Brixology
  • Jedi Engineering
  • Minecraft Build Adventure and Survival Game
  • Minecraft Edu Theme Park Mania
Art and Craft Camps

For the budding young artists and the crafty kids, there are:

  • 3D Printing
  • Art Start
  • Art with Masters
  • Origami

The camps run on a weekly basis from June through August. Be sure to register as soon as possible on or after May 4th at 10:00 AM for Summer 2019! For more information, call the Almaden Community Center at 408.268.1133 or visit: www.sjregistration.com

 

On the Wildflower Trail in Almaden

Wildflower trail AlmadenSpring is well and truly upon us, and with it comes the enchantment and wonder of the wildflowers. After a particularly wet winter, the hills around Almaden Valley and the nature parks surrounding it are now bejewelled in a riot of colors in the form of spring wildflowers. Besides the poppies, daisies and clovers carpeting the meadows, one can also find the jewelflower, the California gilia, the California buttercup, brodiaea, baby blue eyes, woodland star and the shooting star, among other varieties dotting the hills.

For the avid nature lover and photographer in you, the following trails in the county parks surrounding Almaden Valley are bound to delight in their abundance of wildflowers.

Almaden Quicksilver County Park:
  • Senador Trail to Guadalupe
  • Trail to Mine Hill
  • Castillero Trail
Calero County Park:
  • Serpentine Loop Trail
Coyote Lake – Harvey Bear Ranch County Park:
  • Coyote Ridge Trail
  • Calaveras Trail
Santa Teresa County Park:
  • Rocky Ridge Trail
  • Stiles Trail
Grant County Park:
  • San Felipe Trail at Corral Trail
  • Halls Valley Trail
  • Brush Trail at Dutch Flat Trail

Whether you are a dedicated outdoors person or prefer to explore nature at leisure, now is the time to hit the trails. Walk or hike on these easily accessible trails and experience the many splendours of spring wildflowers in Almaden.

For more information, visit: https://www.sccgov.org/sites/parks/Whats-Happening/Documents/sccp-wldlfr17-web.pdf

Almaden Community Center Winter 2019 Activities and Classes

Almaden Community Center Winter 2019

The Almaden Community Center Winter 2019 activities and classes are open for registration. Here are some of the exciting new offerings for the season.

Art with the Masters – Participants will learn about some of the great masters in art and study their paintings.

Painting Party with Ms. Marla – Learn to paint from scratch. All painting material including canvas, paints and brushes will be provided.

Apprentice Electrical Engineering: Electrified – Participants use Snap Circuits and other engineering design process tools to design, create and test various electronic circuits. Objects designed include a flashlight and a magnetic levitation vehicle!

Electronic Game Design: Racing Games – Participants create their own racing games complete with cars, race tracks and the full racing environment. Fun stuff for the young speedsters.

Junior Civil Engineering: Fun Foundation – In this fun class, children understand the engineering concepts behind big infrastructure projects like skyscrapers and bridges.

Junior Wedo Lego Robotics 2.0: Robots in Motion – Children learn to build robots using Lego Wedo.

Little Sports Medicine – In Little Sports Medicine, your child can learn about common sports related injuries and how real doctors do their diagnoses.  

Minecraft YouTubers: Let’s Play – This is an exciting one for the diehard young Minecrafters. Participants create and upload Minecraft videos for YouTube, and in the process also learn about Internet safety.

New Year, New You – As we move towards 2019, find your inspiration through this motivational course. Goals, dreams, ideas and joy. Explore your inner zen.

For more information on these courses and to enroll, call 408-793-5565 or view the full catalog here.

Almaden Community Center Fall 2018 Catalog

Almaden Community Center Fall 2018The Almaden Community Center Fall 2018 Catalog is here, with a host of exciting new activities and programs lined up, including…

Art Start by CLAP (ages 3 – 5) – This activity focuses on developing fine motor skills through drawing, textures, collages and other art techniques. All material provided.

Cartoon Animation by Young Rembrandts (ages 7 – 14) – Develop a sense of humor by learning how to draw and illustrate goofy expressions and hilarious situations in cartoons.

Junior Chemical Engineering: Crazy Connections by Engineering for Kids (ages 5 – 7) – Experiment with bubbles, playdough and other material to learn more about solids, liquids and gases.

Chemical Engineering: Mix it Up by Engineering for Kids (ages 8 – 12) – Create your own rocket fuel or find out the secrets behind color pigmentation. Participants will use various ingredients to create mixtures, solutions and learn about chemical reactions.

Little Wilderness Medicine by Little Medical School (ages 5 – 12) – Learn valuable outdoor skills including how to deal with weather exposure, snake bites and other outdoor emergencies in this cool program about Wilderness Medicine.

Minecraft, Animated! By Techsplosion (ages 5 – 11) – Make fabulous stop-motion animated movies and create life-like sets using cameras and Minecraft characters.

Junior Wedo Lego Robotics: Robots in Motion by Engineering for Kids (ages 5 – 7) – Learn to use and program with Lego Wedo Robotics 2.0. After completion, kids can move on to Robo Battles.

Ninjago Workshop Using Lego by Play-well Teknology (ages 5 – 8) – Help defeat the evil Lord Garmadon by building cool Lego Ninjago machines and tools!

To register for these and other Almaden Community Center activities, call (408) 268-1133 or visit: www.sanjoseca.gov/prns