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Boston Interns See Gardening Results

Over the course of the growing season, The Food Project staff member Allison Daminger, along with our Boston interns, will be blogging about their experiences tending two 4 ft. x 8 ft. raised-bed gardens located on The Food Project's farm in Dorchester. Although Allison and the youth have learned a lot through osmosis—when you work for The Food Project, it's hard not to pick up at least the basics of growing food!—watching and assisting others is quite different from having one's own garden. We hope that reading about their mistakes and successes over the course of the growing season will encourage other aspiring gardeners to dive in with a little less fear!

When the Boston interns first heard that we were getting our own raised bed, we had no idea what we would do with it. The nine of us were split into groups of three and each group was given a 4x8 raised bed and the complete freedom to plant whatever we wanted.  Each person in the group had different ideas of what should be planted; some overlapped and that’s how we decided to plant certain vegetables. We wanted crops that would be ready to harvest early in the season so that we would be able to plant more produce later in the summer. We also wanted to grow as much food as possible, so we chose vegetables that could grow a lot of food per square foot. We settled on some of our favorites such as carrots, beets, and salad mix. We figured at the end of the season we could make some delicious dishes using a combination of our beets, carrots, radishes, salad mix, tomatoes, and scallions. It was actually very surprising when we got the seeds and they were smaller than a grain of rice.

It was a lot of work to plant the seeds, but it was also a lot of fun. The scallions were transplanted, and therefore were already 4 or 5 inches tall when we planted them. However, they were very depressed because of the lack of water and were completely bent over and looked dead. The tomato plants also looked very dreary for the first few days. We were scared that neither crop would survive more than a week. The rest of the seeds were incrediblye small and fragile when we planted them, which made us nervous when we thought about whether they would even germinate. It took the plants a few days to show signs of life. The first seeds to emerge from the soil were the radishes. They sprung through the ground at an alarming speed, blowing away the competition.

After that first week, the rest of the produce began to emerge from the earth. Now, after 4 weeks, our garden is looking very alive and happy and we are starting to anticipate the great harvest we will have once the vegetables are ready. We haven’t yet thought of a dish to make, but when we do, we will have a little party and cook some great Food Project food. 

- Ricky and Lucas

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