Growing Hearts Garden Center continues its outdoor classes with hands-on activities.

February 15, Growing Hearts Garden Center held its Exploring Food Forest course as part of its gardening course series. The presentation was given to eight visitors who attended the class at the Community Garden at the top of Vista Park Hill.

Growing Hearts is a non-profit organization connecting adults with special needs to the community.

Robb Rodriguez, Executive Director of Growing Hearts, was the course instructor. He discussed the seven layers of a food forest diagram: canopy, low tree, shrub, herbaceous, ground surface and root layers. After explaining each section, he showed each layer visible in the community garden.

Fungi are everywhere, in water, soil, organism, plant life.

“Mushrooms are good for the food forest, they are a messenger and exchange nutrients with other plants,” Rodriguez said, adding that fungi communicate with others nearby and transfer water, carbon , nitrogen and minerals. “We don’t see it but it’s there, it’s an important part of life, that’s why we do organic gardening.”

Fresh carrots and green beans were picked from the garden and given to guests, many of whom noted that the fresh organic produce grown on site is better than store-bought produce.

Shortly after, the class went to their second garden on the other side of the hill. Along the way, participants saw two visitors admiring the garden.

“Seeing these guys was a pleasant surprise. We opened this space before the garbage was dumped there. Now it’s a hidden garden where people can come in and enjoy with their families and friends,” Rodriguez said.

Within two minutes, the second garden began to outgrow its space. Once there, the class planted strawberries.

Rodriguez said Growing Hearts is trying to create more gardening projects on the hill.

Changes to Vista Park, which is not visible unless you take the short drive up Hill Street, include a new playground, a newly installed disc golf course.

Grandir les cœurs participates in the changes by setting up outdoor classes. Everyone is welcome to come and learn.

Rodriguez said, “Our first class was in August. We’re looking for a way to get people out during the pandemic, to enjoy gardening and peace. »

A mosaic staircase leading to the community garden is planned. It will attract visitors from the end of the street.

There are brainstorming ideas on how to create 200 foot covered walls in mosaic art.

“The focus is the community garden, we’re the ones doing the work right now, but that’s because we’re trying to make it a comfortable community place,” he said.

The next outdoor class is scheduled for March 15 at 9 a.m. and will focus on layered mound gardening at the top of Vista Park Hill.

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