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Montbello Community Garden

CALC Youth Advisors share their experience of tending to a community garden plot in 2021
Chasity Gentry (left) and Lauryn Bradley (right), the CALC Youth Advisors, next to the garden.
Chasity Gentry (left) and Lauryn Bradley (right), the CALC Youth Advisors, next to the garden plot.

Helping and working at the Montbello Five Loaves Community Garden last year was a great learning opportunity for us as CALC Youth Advisors. We had the chance to learn, grow our gardening experience, and have fun while getting outside. We faced some challenges growing certain plants, but we did have a good time finding recipes to use the fresh produce that did grow.

For two first time gardeners, we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. At first, we thought this would be simple - we had the time, resources, and the energy; but we didn’t think about some of the other factors that play into a community garden. For example, communication with the other plot holders and garden leader, not factoring in shade options for the more sensitive plants, and getting other youth involved in a youth plot.

We started the season by planting:

  • Eggplant*

  • Broccoli*

  • Tomatoes*

  • Cabbage*

  • Jalapeños*

  • Squash*

  • Cucumber* (we only had 4 partially grow)

  • Snap peas* (we only had 2 pea pods fully grow)

  • Carrots* (we had one full size carrot by the end of the season)

  • Parsley

  • Lavender

  • Cilantro

  • Basil

  • Dill

*represents what we had success growing

When looking back at our time gardening, we had problems with the herbs we tried growing from seeds at the start of the season. Unfortunately we left them outside under a bench to stay safe from the elements, and then a heavy rain within a few days of setting them up resulted in the seeds being drowned out. With how busy life can get, we didn’t really have a chance to come back with more herbs to try again.

The produce we had success with we were able to share with the community and our team to avoid any food waste! There were countless tomatoes, jalapeños, squash, eggplants, and a handful of cucumbers. We harvested two ginormous cabbages, and we were able to cut off the broccoli plant a couple different times throughout the season too. Even though we may have struggled with other plants, the ones we did get to harvest created a desire for us to grow more in the future.

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