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Adventures in Gardening

By Karma Rhythm

I was fascinated by nature as a child, every weekend I would go on a hike or to the beach. As I got older and I took on more responsibility I lost this connection. Despite my hikes out here, and time spent at the beach, I still was not actively nourishing any natural connection. I was passively observing the natural world around me at best --more often than not, I was still very focused on school and other stressors when I was on those hikes and walks. It was through the gardening at the Greenhouse & Garden Project that I was able to find this connection again. This project serves two purposes, to tell my story, as well as to entice, encourage, and provide knowledge which will facilitate any other Isla Vistans who are interested in gardening, or even just getting more in touch with nature. 

Table of Contents

Chapter 1:

Gardening and Mental Health

"As I began to connect with the gardeners around me I felt more comfortable at the garden and started showing up more often and caring for my plants more."

Chapter 2:

Finding a Place to Garden in IV

"After looking into the options I noted that some gardens had very long wait lists...Not the Green House and Garden Project though, where students can secure a plot for roughly $20 a quarter."

Chapter 3:

Where to Get

Sustainable Resources

"It is important to consider any store bought seeds have been delivered to stores and are less sustainable than seeds cultivated locally."

Chapter 4:

What/When to Plant in IV

"There is actually a comprehensive guide for interested students published by the UC Cooperative Extension all about what to plant in Santa Barbara Area, month by month."

Chapter 5:

My Difficulties Planting Seeds

"Andy and Seth both recommended planting Kale in one way or another as it is a “feeder” and as long as you water it and provide it with nutrients, it will grow."

Chapter 6:

Maintaining a Garden

"Insecticides can be homemade out of vegetable oil or other oils and soaps, sometimes garlic or pepper can be effective too."

Chapter 7:

Composting Basics

"I did not start a compost pile this quarter, but it seems so easy after doing the research that  I am convinced I should have."

A Redefining Experience

My connection to nature and our local nature, here in Isla Vista, has been redefined by my experience in the garden. I have also built lasting connections with community members and a more developed appreciation for local nature. I am more present on my hikes and my walks on the beach now. And I’d consider Wayne an acquaintance, we recommend each other podcasts and I interviewed him for another class. I have learned a lot about what it takes to get a garden going and developed a deep admiration for those with a green-thumb as I am seriously lacking one. I have also concluded that the garden parallels our life in the sense that several aspects of the garden remain interconnected and that it is important to find a balance in every aspect, even down to the soil. I hope that if you are reading this, that my story--despite lacking serious conflict or triumph--has inspired you to go try and start a garden or try out a local farmer’s market. Thank you, peace.

What I Learned

About the Farmer:

Karma is a 21 year old Isla Vistan who is about to graduate from the Environmental Studies Department at UCSB with a focus in writing and a certification in wilderness education through the Kamana program. Karma is passionate about music as well as the environment and has composed the musical component of this guide, entitled "Pink."

Karma Rhythm

Environmental studies student, UCSB

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