Preparing for Back to School Gardening

BY AMANDA MOSES


The Spring Creek Recreational Fund’s (SCRF) Urban Garden Classroom (UGC) has seen the last of the summer campers, and with the help of members of the Spring Creek Senior Partners (SCSP) Gardening Club, it will be prepped for autumn planting.


Garden Educator Jacqui Roytman and many of the members of the gardening club have been pleased with the summer harvest and the influx of pollinators visiting the garden. The tomatoes have been especially juicy and ripe, the peppers were spicy, the kale and collard greens were thick and earthy, and there were so many herbs to try. Roytman was especially happy to see more Black Swallowtail and Monarch butterflies nestling atop of the Zinnia flowers. Bright orange, purple, yellow, and red Zinnias were more than decorative plants; they are a type of vegetation that helps attract pollinators (bees and butterflies).


The seniors were especially proud of the three sisters garden bed (a companion planting technique developed by the Iroquois Native Americans,) which consisted of corn, squash, and beans. Although the squirrels ate a portion of the corn, members of the SCSP Gardening Club were able to harvest some of the vegetation. When school starts, Roytman hopes to teach the students about the Iroquois method of gardening and how it has helped farmers develop different planting techniques. She will also be planting a late summer crop of lettuce and beets for the students to explore.

The final two weeks of August are a time of preparation for the UGC, as Roytman develops her lessons for: the Spring Creek After School Program, Teen Central, Abe Stark Primary School 346, Gateway Intermediate School 364, and Frederick Douglass Academy VIII. One interesting program she is developing with Teen Central is farm to table cooking, which will have teens learning about gardening and healthy eating.


Photos courtesy of Jacqui Roytman