by Sarah Montero
Before starting my internship with Urban Harvest I had no insight what so ever as to how to start a garden and the impacts of having one. I had the mediocre understanding of gardening: getting soil, putting a seed, and watering the plant. However, my time at Urban Harvest has educated me on organic gardening and sustainability. From spending time researching seed companies as potential donors, I learned that there is different types of seeds: heirloom, hybrid, and open-pollinated seeds. A heirloom seed is time-tested and has history of being passed down within a family or community. A hybrid seed is created through a controlled method of pollination, where the pollen of one species is transferred by human intervention to fertilize the flowers of another species. Finally, an open-pollinated seeds are pollinated by insects, birds, wind, or other natural mechanisms.
Besides spending time in the office, I was
able to get hands on experience at one of their gardening sites, at Gregory Lincoln Education Center. It was there that I learned useful gardening tips, such as using orange oil to keep fire ants away and that coffee can be used for compost because of the Nitrogen it adds into the pile. I had such a great time gardening, it inspired me to commence a school garden on my school campus, East Early College High School. This school year I will be working with my Biology teacher, Ms. Diaz, to initiate a gardening and yoga club. Students at East Early have physically and verbally demonstrated their stress due to the rigorous courses, and we thought this would be a perfect way for students to relax.
Having taken a class on how to start a garden, I believe I know enough to help set the foundation for the club. To build a school garden one of the most critical things to do is to run effective meetings, assign plots, create schedules, and keep recruiting people. Knowing how humble and hard-working my peers are, I have no doubt that we will not struggle in recruitment.