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By Alba Sánchez                     
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Posted on Sunday, November 27, 2011  
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Click on the images below to enlarge.

teaching in the greenhouse greens
                                                                                             Photos courtesy of Alba Sánchez
These three photos were taken at the Collective Roots workshop, which was held at the East Palo Alto Charter School. The first photo shows instructors Iban Seger, at the far left and Neha Bazaj, in the white shirt, talking with two workshop attendees. In the second photo, the instructors and the students protect growing strawberry plants from the cold. The third photo shows some of the collard greens that are growing in the school's garden.

What kind of plants can grow in the winter? When do you start planting? How do you protect strawberries from the cold? These were some of the questions that were raised in the garden workshop that was held at the East Palo Alto Charter School. The workshop was sponsored by Collective Roots, a nonprofit organization in East Palo Alto, which focuses on "garden-based learning" and "food system change."

In answering the question about the type of plants that grow in the winter, Neha Bazaj responded, "Everything you can use for a winter soup." Bazaj, who was an instructor in the workshop that Collective Roots held, told the attendees that they can grow green leafy plants, such as chard, spinach, cabbage and lettuce, and they can also grow tubers like potatoes, carrots, onions and radishes.

Workshop attendees not only had the chance to ask general questions about gardening, such as how to get rid of pests, but they also shared some of the problems they had in their own gardens.

As they picked up tips and general how to's, the participants were able to stroll through the EPA Charter School’s garden, visit the greenhouse and the school's chicken coop. After their tour, they took the tips that they had learned and put them to use: planting beans for later use as a nutrient for the soil and covering the strawberries with straw to protect them from the cold and small pests, such as animals and birds.

At the end of the workshop that was held on Saturday, November 19, the instructors gave each of the attendees a small planter containing a young lettuce, which they could take home or leave to grow a little more in the greenhouse.

The workshop the student gardeners attended was one of two special workshops sponsored by Collective Roots. The next workshop, which will be held on January 21, 2012, will provide tips on how to make a natural fertilizer.

Those interested in finding out more about Collective Roots can check its web site at www.collectiveroots.org.

Updated Monday, November 28 at 8:43 p.m.

To contact the author of this article, Alba Sánchez, send an email to asanchez@epatoday.org.


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