23 Things Our Youth Have Done at the Sunflower Community Garden this Summer

23 Things Our Youth Have Done at the Sunflower Community Garden this Summer

This update comes from Sorrel Allen, our Sunflower Garden Youth Supervisor:

It’s been a sunny, hot, and beautiful summer in the Sunflower Community Garden.

Our first tomatoes are ripe on the vine at last! The pollinators are plentiful. Our heat loving crops such as corn and peppers are growing boldly; we can practically smell the salsa. Sunflowers watch over us, nodding approvingly at our work like a council of wise elders. Who makes all this bustle and beauty possible? Our youth crew, that’s who! Let us turn up the beets for our fabulous summer garden crew!

These past months our youth have been buzzing around the garden like busy worker bees, their spirits soaring with the degrees. You might be wondering just what have our busy summer bees been up to? I’m honored to share their many accomplishments with you:

  1. harvesting hundreds of pounds of organically grown vegetables and donating them to our local community;
  2. leading tours for community members;
  3. laughing and learning together;
  4. trapping potato bugs;
  5. spreading 7 yards of cedar mulch between our garden beds;
  6. prepping and amending garden beds for our summer crops;
  7. planting and tending two beds of sweet corn;
  8. harvesting two milk crates full of garlic and shallots;
  9. learning to make garlic braids, which were perfected by practicing on each other’s hair;
  10. tasting raw radishes;
  11. savoring our juicy thornless blackberries;
  12. marveling at praying mantids;
  13. singing “gusano the worm” song;
  14. writing compost raps;
  15. weeding and mulching our butterfly garden for all of our pollinator friends to enjoy;
  16. making new crop signs and educational signs;
  17. growing kale, bean, flower, cucumber and pumpkin starts;
  18. saving and harvesting coriander and poppy seeds;
  19. harvesting plums; building and turning compost;
  20. spreading 10 yards of wood chips in our pathways;
  21. spreading 10 yards of arbor mulch in our butterfly garden and orchard;
  22. making sauerkraut from our cabbage heads;
  23. building bean teepees, stringing scarlet runner beans, and planting flowers.

Last week I mentioned to one of our youth, Erika, how our scarlet runner beans are looking so happy and beautiful and she said it was because they were feeling all the love in the garden. “There’s a lot of love here,” she said.

The love has grown exponentially with this current garden crew. Every week our youth transform into garden superheroes: Raspberry Ricardo, Eggplant Endy, Strawberry Sativa, Endive Erika, Grape Gilberto, Enchilada Emmanuel, Mango Mercedes, Lettuce Lizeth. They welcome our springs and sprouts children to our garden, they sing silly songs, make seed bombs, plant pumpkin seeds, lead scavenger hunts in the garden, paint garden gnomes to watch over our crops.

It’s been a joy to watch our young people light up as they guide the children through our garden and learn the satisfaction of growing and harvesting organic food. And it’s just cool as a cucumber to watch them pluck huge zucchini’s and plump carrots from the soil– the seeds of which were planted months ago on cool spring days – and actually eat them!

This summer we have all learned and tried new things, cultivated new friendships, built self-confidence, delighted our senses, and been amazed again and again and again. We’ve also made good friends with our mister, sunscreen, ice water, watermelon, strawberries, and the occasional batch of homemade ice cream!

What’s your favorite thing about summer I asked my summer garden crew? Working here, our senior youth Endy Mendoza replied. Kale yeah! I couldn’t agree more.

Happy summer to all of you from all of us in the Sunflower Community Garden.

Sorrel Allen, Youth Supervisor, Sunflower Garden