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RebelTomato

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Name: Kara Masharani
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Website: RebelTomato
Texas

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Urban Harvest: Growing Houston's Classrooms


Location: Houston, Texas
Contact: Kara Masharani; 713.880.5540 ext. 17; kara@urbanharvest.org



For some people, one garden is enough to manage. For Urban Harvest, a Houston-based gardening group, 60 gardens does not seem to be enough. In addition to 60 conventional community gardens, this Texas group has helped start over 75 school gardens in the Houston metro area, and provides continued support to these gardens through expert advice, training, and hands-on assistance.


Gardeners in the warmest parts of the humid Sun Belt do not face the same challenges that gardeners in northern climates face. There are different problems such as rampant perennial weeds, heat extremes, more insects and diseases and low organic matter, but frost is rarely an issue, and they do not have to cope with protecting plants during snow-filled winters. Besides the obvious advantages of sunshine and a year-round harvest, the southern climate is also more hospitable to a certain type of garden - the school garden, or what is often called the outdoor classroom. In southern states, such as Texas, Florida, and Southern California, the school year coincides with the peak gardening months, while in northern states the opposite is true. In Houston, Texas, a group named Urban Harvest has taken advantage of the growing season to successfully promote and assist outdoor classrooms in the Houston metro area. To date, the group has helped start over 135 community and school gardens, and is often looked to as a leader in school garden development and implementation.


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