There is a special group of gardeners making a big difference in the Rita Ranch Community Garden: Students! Our student gardeners are making lots of great things happen in their garden beds like planting, weeding, harvesting, and showing off their creative art projects.

This past semester Vail Blended Learning Principal Kristen Murray and Community Gardens of Tucson Executive Director Elizabeth Smith collaborated on an agriculture class aimed at students in the middle and high school levels. Students learned all about good growing practices beginning with a foundation of organic soil cultivation. Seed germination, watering techniques, seasonal planting choices and most fun of all, harvesting, were all covered in this hands-on class.

At the start of the semester, students picked out the plants they wanted to grow by pouring through seed catalogs. Spicy peppers were a favorite! Once the seeds arrived, they created their own signature germination mix using things like coconut coir, compost and earthworm castings, all organic of course. They labeled and dated everything and watered the little pots as needed. Within a short period of time, little green seedlings began sprouting. Students planted their seedlings in their student bed behind their school as well as in their garden bed in the Rita Ranch Community Garden. Teacher Monica Christensen was often seen driving the students to the Rita Ranch Community Garden located at 7471 S. Houghton and joining in the fun as well.

Other popular activities were digging tree wells and creating fun art projects for their bed. If you come visit the garden, you will quickly notice the brightly colored clay pots as well as artistically painted rocks depicting desert scenes and other creative motifs. They hope you are inspired by all their hard work!

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