Hi my name is Solstice Jones, and I am a junior in high school. I’ve lived in Davis for most of my life, and I think it’s important to help the environment. There is no better place to start then planting our very own food! A lot of teenagers these days have gotten the idea that gardening in their backyard takes too much time and money. So I want to share what I learned about gardening and why I think getting gardening right can also make a difference to our planet.

Planting our own food is not only healthy, but it reduces the costs of transporting  and all the carbon and greenhouse gas emissions that causes. Here are some tips on how to reduce pollution in your yard.

Tip #1: Stop using gas powered lawn mowers, they spew just as much gas emissions in one hour thatn a new car spews in 40 hours.
Tip #2: Use compost instead of synthetic fertilizers to give your plants an extra boost.
Tip #3: Compost the fall leaves scattered in the yard and make them into leaf mold mulch (saves money) instead of taking them to the nearest landfill center.
Growing food in the garden is just as good quality as ordering food from a farm. Plus it saves time and money.

Lots of teenagers my age find gardening frustrating because every time they try they end up making mistakes that are potentially deadly to their plants. This can be frustrating indeed, especially when they don’t have the right knowledge or materials. But with my tips and advice the garden will flourish and leave you with confidence and happiness. WE CAN DO IT!

Here is a list of the following materials you might need to start your own garden and the materials can most likely be found at Ace Hardware on G street in the garden department for super cheap prices (they have pots there for 1.99!). They can also be found at Dollar Tree. Both of these places have hanging planters that can be hung on porches to save space. You can also make your own planters out of recycled material.

  1. Good quality soil (the best kind are the ones with either charcoal or compost already mixed in. This soil is specifically meant for droughts because it can retain water)
  2. Planting pots (anything will do as long as it is in some sort of stable and solid container. It would also be more helpful if the container didn’t have too many cracks as plants at a young age need a good amount of water)
  3. Plants (for beginners, it is much easier to buy the plants pre-grown as growing a plant from a tiny seed can be extremely difficult. Beginners should also start with a single plant before moving on to two or three. This will save money and materials)
  4. Add compost to the soil – you can make your own compost pile very easily – it is a great way to reuse our throwaway food, makes soil better for plants and keeps it moist,
  5. Measuring Cup (for the exact amount of water the plant needs. This will save beginners from over watering and initially killing their plant.

Add compost to the soil – you can make your own compost pile very easily – it is a great way to reuse our throwaway food, makes soil better for plants and keeps it moist,

Now you’re ready to start planting!

Step 1: Your planting pot should be stable and solid. The first thing to do is to fill your pot with soil up to at least two knuckles before the top, so as to not over flow and waist the soil. Make a hole in the soil about two inches deep and three inches wide. Then set it to the side for a moment.

Step 2: Very, very gently, pick up your plant by its plastic container and gently squish all its sides until the soil is loose. Move your planter underneath the plant that you are holding. Then, without crushing the plant, flip the plastic container over in your hand, and remove the plastic container. DO NOT SHAKE OUT THE SOIL FROM THE ROOTS!!! The soil they were born in is the same as the yolk is for the baby chicken. If the original soil is shaken out before it is planted into another pot the plant will die.

Step 3: Gently flip your plant back over so that the green part is pointing toward the sky, and place the baby plant into the hole you made in your planter. Cover the base of the plant up with the soil you dug out. Then gently press down to stabilize the plant.

Step 4: Water. Baby plants need about 1 ½ cups, or half a water bottle of water once every day. It is best to pour the water around the plant’s base at least an inch away from the roots. This is the best way for the baby plant to grasp the nutrients it needs. The roots are like the plant’s nerves; nerves can only receive information from its tip. The best way to reach the tip is to pour water around the roots so that it is easier to reach. Directly on top will just tire out the poor thing so it will grow very slowly, making you (the gardener!) frustrated and impatient that it is not growing fast enough.

Step 5: Place your planter with your baby plant inside it in an elevated location in the sun. Then, your plant shall GROW!!!!! Remember to think about some plants that will survive the changing climate. Because the fall is heading our way, be sure to buy plants that can stand the weather change. Good plants for this are strawberries, apples, peaches, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, lettuce, and cabbage.
For beginners, easy sturdy plants to start out with are tomatoes, peas, and herbs (apples, figs, blackberries and raspberries work too! Especially for the fall!)

Congratulations! Your urban garden is born!

Let me know what you think! Share your own stories/tips and any questions you have in the comments below.

 Work Cited