On July 19, 2008, I attended a very interesting program, sponsored by the Long Beach Public Library, which featured how to grow plants year round. Lonnie Brundage, 1st Vice President, of the Long Beach Community Garden http://lbcg.org, spoke at length about the history and function of the Long Beach Community Garden, the individual member’s role in starting and maintaining a successful garden plot, plus provided excellent gardening information that we all can use. I wish that all who are reading this article could spend an hour listening and learning from this gifted educator.
According to Lonnie, almost every school in Long Beach has a garden. The County of Los Angeles has promoted this. Gardening provides children with an opportunity to make some general analogies. For example, Lonnie uses gardening as a tool to help young children see and compare the gardening cycle with the human life cycle. Children see a small bud beginning to grow. A comparison can then be made to the growth of a human baby. A baby and a young plant both need to be nurtured and protected from harm. “Children can see the life cycle. They then understand death,” Lonnie said. She added, “It doesn’t take a lot of space to grow your own garden. Just a lot of love.”
Why not take some time this week to plan and start your very own small garden. Besides growing your own plants in a backyard setting, according to Lonnie, you can start your garden at your school or in your apartment. She also feels that a garden would be a good library project.
Space doesn’t have to be an issue. Sone individuals use buckets and such. You can grow your garden in a bag of compost! Just cut an X in the bag and place a tomato plant inside. Cut another X in the bag and repeat by placing a tomato plant or some other plant inside. Just add water and fertilizer, and of course maintain with water. Lonnie has coined this type of gardening as a ‘pillow garden’. Isn’t that a clever idea? When the nutrients are spent, just discard the bag and start again.
Individuals purchasing a plot at the Long Beach Community Garden http://lbcg.org become well informed about the dos and don’ts of maintaining their plot. Each new owner must attend an orientation where he learns about the natural habitat and how a balance is achieved and maintained. The new owner learns about the foxes, skunks, raccoons, coyotes, opossum, hawks, rats, mice and other critters residing at the Long Beach Community Garden and the checks and balances that are used to make certain that the environment remains biologically homeostatic. “We encourage people to be as natural or organic as possible,” Lonnie said.
During the presentation, Lonnie reommended the UC Davis website and encouraged people to read the How to Manage Pests in Gardens and Landscapes article found there. I visited the website and could readily see why she mentioned this invaluable resource.
For those living in or around Long Beach, California, who will be starting their gardens this month,
Lonnie suggests planting tomatoes, beans, squash, cucumber or corn. If you live near Long Beach, California the LBCG Plant Calendar will be useful. Visit http://lbcg.org and click on the Plant Calendar hyperlink. For people living outside of California as well as outside the United States, please visit the AMC Montessori Fall Newsletter Scroll past the information about fall and winter cooking. You will easily be able to locate many links to vegetable charts, planting resources and fall/winter meal preparation.
To receive general information about the Long Beach Garden Association, please visit http://lbcg.org If you will be visiting Long Beach, California this summer or at some point in the future, visit http://lbcg.org for tour information.
The Garden Artisans website and the AMC Montessori Fall 2007 Hands On Lessons Part I newsletter also offer readers a wealth of additional gardening information.
This blog contains multiple free Montessori lesson plans, reviews and more. For a small sampling click on the links below:
The Sensitive Period for the Acquisition of Language
Walking the Line: Montessori Style
Homeschooling? Feeling stressed out? Let me offer a few suggestions…