GEP Guest Post: Najwa on Gardening as an Experience

August 28, 2013

Author: Neighborhood Farm Initiative

Category: General News Stories from the Garden

Gardening is an experience unlike any other experience.

It is one that requires patience so that one can reap the nutrients of earth. There is nothing like it.

So in a nutshell, gardening with the Neighborhood Farm Initiative (NFI) has been excellent! NFI has provided an experimental medium for growing gardens—equipped with gardening tools, amendments, and the love and care of gardening neighbors and gardening leaders. The nurturing environment of NFI gets you going and keeps you engaged.

Gardening for the summer 2013 has been something I purposefully involved my family in. My husband, my 5 year old daughter, my 9 year old son and I have all collectively begun this journey with the same amount of vigor. We always emphasize the importance of eating veggies, but never the importance of growing your own veggies. So needless to say, from the START…we were ready! This was an awesome process to be involved in.

In a total of four beds, we set out in hopes of growing:

  • Swiss chard
  • Lettuce
  • Bell Pepper
  • Green Beans
  • Cucumber
  • Cantaloupe
  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Sweet Potato
  • Basil, Sage, Parsley, Thyme
  • Jalapeno and Banana Pepper
  • Cherry Tomato
  • Slicing Tomato
  • Egg Plant
  • Okra


Thomas Family effort


I’ll start with some of the unsuccessful stories:

  • The lettuce never came through—I believe it was too hot when they were sowed
  • The Swiss Chard didn’t do so well, with only a few of the bunches sprouting
  • Something ate a great amount of holes into the leaves of our eggplant
  • We over watered the garden one day—leaving a mushy mess
  • The beets weren’t properly thinned out so I think they competed horribly for nutrients—the harvest produced very small radicchio beets.
  • A cucumber loving bug began to enjoy my cucumber plant in August—but I was still able to reap cucumbers

Success stories—the pictures below speak for themselves.

Spider + egg sack mixed in the compost!


Banana, Cayenne, Jalapeno Pepper, Okra

Mas Amor!

Overall, I loved this experience with NFI. I hope to keep myself and my family engaged in the wonders of gardening. For the winter, I’ll be reading and researching and figuring out some ways to continue with my love for gardening.

Thank you NFI!

-Najwa Thomas, 2013 Garden Education Program class member

Back to Top