Welcome to 'Da Garden'

By: Levi B, Karl F, Law A and Ben H
The winter was spent planning the garden
Last winter MAP youth started a community garden. The idea was proposed by Katie, the Farm Manager. A garden would be a way to beautify the area, bring the community together and to have something run by MAP youth. It would be a place for MAP youth to see how plants grow from start to finish; from seed to table. 'Da Garden' is on Breckenridge Ave and is part of Grassroots Gardens of Buffalo community garden network.

In January teens working at MAP used seed catalogs to pick three fruits, vegetables or flowers each to plant in the garden. They chose crops that were inexpensive, and did not take a long time to grow. Buffalo has a short growing season, so all the crops chosen had to reach maturity within that time. A long list of crops was narrowed down to just twenty. In late winter many seeds were started indoors under grow lights. Teens were responsible for the care and watering of the seedlings. When it was warm enough, around May, the seedlings were transplanted outside in the garden according to the garden plan.

The final garden plan

The first thing done during the summertime program was taste all of the different vegetables that were growing in the garden. There were 24 crops growing in the garden this year including: watermelon, carrots, lettuce and tomatoes. The vegetables and fruits harvested during the summer were cooked in our staff lunch on Fridays.

Not much was growing in the early spring.

This school year MAP youth worked on the garden and learned how to use common garden tools including: shovels, pitch forks, hoes and hands! More conventional tools were used to fix the raised beds, and prepare them for the winter. Garden beds are covered with leaves, and topped off with fresh, nutrient-rich compost. A major fall construction project was building compost bins. They are now filled with all the dying plants in the garden and lots of leaves. The plant matter will break down over the winter and be used on the garden in the next year. Last week garlic was planted in the garden for next years' summer lunches.

Fall in the garden

In the future, we are going to add more growing space to MAP's garden by building more raised beds. We would like to plant more fruits, like strawberries and raspberries, so we can provide fruits for our summer lunches.

 This post was written by the following MAP youth:

Leviticus, Levi for short, started working for MAP because he is interested in nutrition.

Karl is a freshman at Buffalo Academy of Science Charter School.

Ben is a high school senior involved in urban agriculture projects to improve Buffalo's food system.

Law recently moved to Buffalo, and has been working at MAP since the summer. This fall he has learned about composting.

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