Getting to the Root of Things

Getting to the Root of Things

Blogpost written by PCMN Kathleen Mclin

Volunteering with Jessica Paul, Master Naturalist and Community Gardens of Tucson Program Leader is a real life “Growth“ experience. Students, teachers and myself included are learning valuable skills
and life lessons as budding gardeners.

When I signed up to volunteer I had little more than a basic knowledge of gardening. At home, a few flower beds, failures and successes with a few veggies, not sure what I might contribute but one thing I knew for sure, where there is a garden there is life!

With my camera in hand I decided to dig right in (pun intended)
and hoped to add my love for all creatures great and small.
Together we are helping our youthful participants appreciate the great diversity of life that exists in and around a garden. And, we get to see, feel, smell, and eventually taste the fruits of our efforts, while learning life lessons to carry with us throughout our lives. See the example below.

Equality versus Equity a Garden’s Lesson in Fairness

Planting a garden does far more than providing food, fragrance and beauty. And though none can deny the healthful, spirit lifting benefits that sunshine and fresh air provide, Gardeners also learn different plants are not meant to be treated as equals. Gardening teaches us that fairness requires an understanding of the value of diversity. This does not mean that every plant enjoys equality (“every plant gets the same thing”) as compared to equity where (“every plant gets what it needs”).

Every plant has it’s growing season, a time when it has the best chance of taking root, thriving and maturing.

Every plant requires a certain soil depth, amount of light, and water. Some more, Some less.

For example: Beans versus Lettuce

Beans prefer warmer weather, so plant in full sun. Water plants regularly. Though compost can be worked into the soil prior to planting, don’t overfertilize the beans.

Most varieties of lettuce require cool weather or slight shading for best growth. Aged compost is optimal but average soil will produce healthy seedlings if soil is kept moist but well drained. Plant during the cool part of the year, when temperatures range in between 50/60 degrees Fahrenheit. You can plant lettuce as soon as the ground can be worked in spring.

So what is better for these 2 plants?

Equality or Equity?

Students which concept best applies to You? Why?

Tending a garden teaches great life lessons:

1. Patience
2. Caring
3. Perserverance
4. Respect for life

Care for yourself like you care for your garden. It’s in your hands to give it/and you what is needed to thrive. You reap the rewards of your own efforts.

Care for yourself like you care for your garden.  It’s in your hands to give it/and you what is needed to thrive. You reap the rewards of your own efforts.

The Community Garden School project is always looking for volunteers. Contact Jessica Paul if you’d like to help

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