Companion Gardening

DSC_0440BY AMANDA MOSES

Lush greenery, bright flowers and budding vegetation have all sprouted inside of the Spring Creek Recreational Fund’s (SCRF) Urban Garden Classroom (UGC). “The secret to a healthy, thriving garden is companion planting,” said Garden Educator, Jacqui Roytman. Companion gardening is simply the act of using a planting chart to see what combination of vegetables will grow better together.

Aside from the basic necessities of water and sunshine, plants need nutrients in the soil to help them grow. Compost is one method of producing “black gold,” which is nutrient-rich soil. However, companion gardening is another way to boost plant growth. “Some plants can help other plants grow. Tomatoes, for example, give off nutrients that help basil grow. That’s why the students and I planted them in a garden bed together,” Roytman said, pointing at the tall tomato stems winding around a square steel cage (which provides support as the plant grows larger).

DSC_0447Members of Spring Creek Senior Partners were surprised to learn that some plants, like kale and cabbage can hinder a tomato plant’s growth. Roytman also explained to the seniors that it’s important to walk around the garden and make assessments. “Weeds within the garden beds could also impede vegetation growth, so it’s important that we always puck away weeds,” Roytman said.

Arlene Lokomowitz enjoys the feeling of soil in her fingertips and harvesting vegetation. Last year she joined the SCSP Garden club because she loves cooking with fresh vegetables and herbs, and she wanted to learn more about plants and nature. “I really enjoy being in the garden and helping to weed, water, and harvest plants because it makes me feel like I am a part of something bigger. I feel like I am helping the plants grow by clearing out weeds. It’s amazing to see that something grows from a small seed,” Lokomowitz said.

The senior garden club meets every Wednesday at 1:30 in the Spring Creek Recreational Fund’s (SCRF) Urban Garden Classroom (UGC), which is located on Louisiana Avenue behind the F4 building). For more information and to sign-up call 718-348-7620.

Photos by Amanda Moses