In previous issues we’ve shared how students in Mercy Housing Lakefront’s summer youth program are tending an organic garden – to teach them about where food comes from, and healthy eating choices. The students are also selling some of their produce to neighbors through a mini farmer’s market, and to KitchFix, who is using the produce to make healthy meals for their customers.

You can read more about our garden in this earlier post, and find out about the challenges we’ve faced in this post. In the post below, 11 year-old Gabby shares the latest developments in Mercy Housing Lakefront’s youth garden.

Working with a Master Gardener

Hey, this is Gabby! Last week we hosted master gardener, Sarah Batka, from University of Chicago Extension program. She worked with us to prune our garden beds. We got rid of the Gourmet and Bibb Lettuce and Brussel sprouts, pruned the basil, rosemary and thyme. Sarah also gave us new seeds to plant.

We will be growing more lettuce and carrots, and put shredded paper in the beds to make the plants grow. We pulled weeds and mowed the grass and placed more mulch in the large garden bed and the front of the garden.

Today we came out to water, weed, and pick lettuce. The seeds still have the paper mulch on top and nothing has sprouted yet. The paper mulch looks a lot like confetti. It’s all different colors. I found out that the purpose was to help the seeds sprout and using the paper mulch as compost. We picked fennel for the first time. We were unsure of exactly how to harvest the fennel so we pulled it from the root to capture the bulbs. We also cut thyme, rosemary and more hyssop.

Special thanks to Sarah Batka, pictured above, and to our volunteer photographer, Marissa Gonzalez, who is helping us see how much our garden is growing!

Dawn Ferencak likes to go behind the scenes when connecting with her customers to create ways to help make their businesses grow beyond their expectations. What she didn't expect, when she started working...