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  • Patricia Arias-Reynolds

Caribbean Gardening

Living in the Caribbean can have it’s up and downs. My favorite part about it is being surrounded by lush green plants and tropical flowers. The humidity and hot sun can make it hard to maintain your garden, it is best to work early morning and evenings. I never really had the time or knew that I was a good gardener until my garden started to flourish.

During my winter break, I took a trip to Guatemala and when I fell in love with nature and agriculture in San Pedro de la Laguna. I visited many gardens with beautiful fields or lettuce and other delicious greens. It was impossible not to stop and ask what's your secret? I truly learned that it was the soil and the love they have for nature. I took back many ideas and energy from Guatemala and decided to integrate this into my home and followed by the classroom.

My garden started as a few bushes here and there and now it is a fierce flower garden. The girls in the program always wanted to visit the teacher house. I live on a beautiful farm in Puerto Viejo, we have cows, ducks, swans, goats, chickens, and a peacock. When the girls came to visit, we got hands on in the garden! We trimmed the plants, pulled weeds, replanted flowers, spread new seeds, and painted rocks for the path to the house in bright colors.

Emilia is one of our community partners and is very passionate about planting and herbs. She provides workshops at the center for the girls. Most of her workshops consist of gardened focused activities such as, using recyclables to create pots for plants, painting rocks to label the types of plants. She is even helping us make rich soil out of compost to create food for the plants. The girls learned to create the soil and will

use it for our next garden project.The girls enjoy working with plants because not only are they beautiful but they can be used as alternative medicine.

The girls truly enjoy gardening and learning about what plants can do for the body. It is important to know what plants we can use around us because medicine can be very expensive in Costa Rica. If nature can provide an answer then it is the way to go. We currently have orchids, exotic flowers, and other herbs growing at the center. The most recent addition to the garden is our baby tomato bush. Our garden may have a long way to grow but the girls are excited. We are in the process of preparing more soil, gathering roots, and seeds for more planting.

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