At the end of February, several North County gardeners convened at the Oceanside High School campus to garden. Our friend, who teaches gardening at the school, had been recovering from illness and asked for some help. Basically she sent out the bat signal to gardeners everywhere–and we responded!
Most of us came from the Oceanside Crop Swap, a gardening community that comes together monthly to share our excess produce and other offerings from our gardens. It’s not a one-to-one exchange or barter. You bring what you have to the communal table and take what you need, even if what you need and take is more than what you bring. It’s a great gathering and I usually end up spending a lot more time talking than swapping.
Why Oceanside High
I wanted to blog about the experience at Oceanside High, because 1) it was super fun and 2) I’m so excited that the school is teaching teens to garden. It was fun to garden together, in a group. I learned a few things just by watching and being around other gardeners. For instance, did you know that when you thin beets you don’t have to throw out the ones you thin–you can replant them, even if they’re pretty big?
Another benefit: a bunch of vegetables planted in December that had matured and needed to be harvested and taken home. Oh well, we thought, we’ll just have to harvest them then. And take them home. And eat them. We’re talking beets, carrots, chard, leeks, lettuce, etc. I even came home with some kohlrabi. Todd roasted it the same way we prepare our other roasted veggies and I liked it! That’s the first time I tasted kohlrabi.
Altogether, the high school’s garden has about 2,000 square feet of gardening bed space and with a dozen or so people we were able to weed, clear, harvest and plant a lot in a little more than an hour. I loved the idea that when these kids return to school (hopefully this school year), they’ll already have some seeds planted (we planted squash, sunflowers, pumpkins and beans, including scarlet runner beans). And, I’m pretty impressed with the work they’ve done so far.
Gardening class lasts
The other day, while I was working in the garden, Aiden (age 17), came to me and asked if I had worm poo for my garden. “You mean worm castings?” I said. “Yeah.” He remembered from his gardening class in elementary school that worms were an important part of the garden ecosystem and that their castings benefitted plants.
I hope every kid–and adult–gets the opportunity to learn the basics about gardening and enjoy the experience of growing your own food. One of the intentions I have this year is to rope some more friends into gardening, even if they have really limited space. It’s secretly why I’ve ordered a bunch of varieties of seeds for container gardening, including Tidy Treats Tomato, Tiny Tim Tomato, Patio Baby Eggplant and Patio Snacker Cucumber. So be on the lookout for these seedlings, coming soon. And Happy Spring Gardening!