BY AMANDA MOSES
Gateway Intermediate School (IS) 364 students were happy to be back at the Spring Creek Recreational Fund’s (SCRF) Urban Garden Classroom (UGC) this school year. Many of them were eager to explore the various seasonal changes that have taken place since they last visited in the spring. Garden Educator, Jacqui Roytman reintroduced the middle schoolers to the rules of the garden (no running, harvesting without permission, and all life must be respected).
Roytman invited the group of seventh graders in Laura Saccomanno’s science class to observe the flowers, leaf coloration, and the vegetation blossoming in the UGC. She explained how the continued warm weather has allowed some of the plants to still grow even though they are no longer in season. “In season means that a certain crop grows better during a specific time. For example, have you ever gone to the market and heard someone say ‘Oh those strawberries must taste good since they are in season,’” Roytman said to the teens.
She explained that tomatoes are considered in season from May to early October. The students ob-served that there were green tomoatoes and deep red ones. The seventh graders held the fruit and felt that the red tomatoes were soft and ripe, while the green tomatoes were hard.
Roytman also informed the students that supermarkets carry various fruits and vegetables all year round because they are genetically modified, also known as Genetically Modified Organisms
(GMOs), which means that the DNA of the plants or animals have been altered through genetic engineering. Roytman told the class that the fruits and vegetables in the UGC are organic, grown from natural compost and soil, which is why their vegetation is more flavorful than store bought products.
In the next lesson the students will be learning about pumpkins and how to store the seeds to plant next spring.
Photos by Amanda Moses