BY AMANDA MOSES
Since March, the Spring Creek Recreational Fund’s (SCRF) Urban Garden Classroom (UGC) has been closed due to the pandemic. During that time, Garden Educator, Jacqui Roytman offered remote lessons with her class, Science is Real, through Zoom. Now that the school year is over and the city has officially entered Phase 4 of its reopening, Roytman is back in the garden maintaining it and planting a plethora of summer flowers.
The four-month closure, combined with the extreme heat and rain, has caused various types of weeds to become overgrown in the UGC. The garden beds, pathways, and even fences were covered with weeds of every shape and size. A weed is a plant that ravages and disrupts a garden’s ecosystem. Some weeds might even be deemed as an invasive species that soak up all of the water and nutrients from the soil, and block sunlight from other plants. There are even weeds that choke trees and other plants by slowly wrapping itself around the trunk or stems.
Roytman’s first step in removing the weeds was to use shearing scissors to cut down the vines growing along the fences. These weeds are particularly strong, especially since the garden has been closed for so long. Normally, the best way to deal with weeds is beginning when they are young and small so that they do not flower and produce seeds.
Subsequently, Roytman had to remove the weeds from their roots (by pulling them completely out of the soil) and immediately bagging and disposing of the plants ensuring that the seeds do not spread. She also began clearing the path-ways around the garden beds, where some weeds were almost four feet tall! In doing so, she used a weed wacker and lawn mower to maintain the pathway sections. Some common types of weeds are: Nutsedges (these look like grass and have tiny yellow flowers), Crabgrass, and Pigweed.
Roytman will be placing mulch in the corners of the UGC, so that the pear trees and butterfly bushes are not suffocated by weeds. Over the course of the summer, once Roytman has revived the UGC, she will be amending the garden bed’s soil and planting fresh herbs and flowers to attract pollinators (such as bees and butterflies).
Dealing with summer weeds and bringing the garden back to its usual splendor will take some time, but Roytman hopes that her efforts will create a prime location for students and seniors once again when classes are able to resume.
Photos by Jacqui Roytman