The children in the Spring Creek Afterschool program adore their evenings at the Spring Creek Recreational Fund’s (SCRF) Urban Garden Classroom (UGC). Students emanate with excitement and joy every Wednesday, when they meet Garden Educator, Jacqui Roytman, who now calls this third grade class her Afterschool Green Club.
For the children, there is something magical about the garden and watching the seeds they’ve sown blossom. Roytman is planning a bountiful summer harvest and she bequeathed the Afterschool Green Club the responsibility of helping her manage the garden beds.
Last week, Roytman explained the three things that are necessary for plants to grow: sunlight, moisture, and oxygen. First, you start off with a seed which is a capsulated embryonic plant. In order for this seed to germinate (being able to grow/develop) it needs, to be placed in nutritious soil. The soil that is found outside is not ideal planting soil because it may contain pests and will dry out easily.
The garden beds within UGC are filled with healthy potting compost, worm castings and other nutrients. Roytman gave the second step in sowing seeds by instructing members of the Afterschool Garden Club to don their gloves and dig a one to two inch hole in a garden bed (each hole needed to be four inches apart). “Our day started by working together preparing the bed and weeding it, and then we used our trowels and dug a hole to put the seeds in,” said Roytman.
Once the seeds were placed in the in the soil, the next step was patting the dirt gently over the seed and sprinkling it with water. The Afterschool Garden Club repeated Roytman’s planting steps with seedlings transplanted from the Aquaponics Lab. The children planted: eggplants, sunflowers, nasturtium, kale, thyme, Beefsteak tomatoes and Swiss Chard.
In addition to teaching the students how to sow seeds, Roytman explained to the class that cayenne powder is the best natural pesticide. The powder helps keep pesky birds, squirrels and unwanted insects from digging up the seeds. Roytman hopes that the plants will be ready to harvest by late June or early July.
Photos by Amanda Moses