Posts Tagged ‘kids’

By the sunflowers

Midway through a muggy Maryland summer it dawned on me that under certain circumstances our dirty city could become a veritable Edan. Standing amidst 7-foot tall sunflowers, the wide leaves of squash plants, and tomato plants dripping with plump red fruit I realized Baltimore has untold natural resources in its rich soil, soaking rains and brow-beating summer sunshine.

While flies, bees and mosquitoes buzzed about my legs, I stood grinning at lavender, beets, peppers and purple blossoms. We had barely pulled a weed in months and the plot’s watering barrel was nearly empty.

Actually, I didn’t do much at all to make this tiny plot on Pratt Street blossom. The digging, hoeing, planting, and weeding was done by a dogged group of 10 kids ages 5 to 11: The Wolfe Street Academy Garden Club (Baltimore’s other untold resources: seriously great kids).

In March, the plot–maybe 11 feet by 20 feet in size –was covered in weeds, recovering from being flattened by months of snowfall. Broken bottles, cigarette butts, and rocks littered the plot. Where three row houses were bulldozed in the 1980s, glass still glittered through many layers of dirt.

The boys helped Marissa, a nursing student with a green thumb, to dig furrows to demarcate planting areas from walking areas, which we would later fill with mulch. Marissa discovered the idea to create furrows while gardening at East Baltimore’s Participation Park, which offers free classes on growing things. Later I learned from a man at Participation Park –gardening to a thumping reggae beat from his truck–how to sift rocks and debris out of soil using screens.


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