Fiona Padalino

The gardening club works to mantains the greenery on campus while planting their own crops.

New club grows passion for gardening

As she steps outside into the blazing Texas heat, Junior Monica Arce kneels down into the soft soil and starts digging a perfect-sized hole for various seeds to plant. As one of the gardening club presidents, Arce works to plant various crops for the upcoming harvest. Arce started the club along with juniors Amelia Olivas and Matthew Pogonat-Walters.

The idea for this club was formed by the students last year and over the summer, but the club was officially established this school year. The club meets weekly on Thursdays at 8:15 in the morning or on Fridays during FIT. Because of their volunteer work last year to clean up the gardening beds, they decided to focus a club on it. 

 “Me and my friend Matthew wanted to start it because we noticed there was a floral club,” Arce said, “But there was this kind of gap where there was no gardening club at Bowie.” 

The club just received news from their teacher that they got a grant from The City of Austin,  which they will utilize to refurbish the flower beds on campus. 

“Most of [the funding] so far has been personal,” Olivas said. “But we just were told that we have money from the grant so we’re going to use it for supplies such as soil, and some wish list plants like trees.” 

The money in question is a little under 1,000 dollars, which inspired Olivas to go by herself to the Natural Gardener, a organic nursery for plants and store for planting supplies. As of right now, shovels, supplies, and soil are being bought at Home Depot and plants are bought from the Great Outdoors. 

“I like that the gardening club gives us a space to garden and do plant work,” Olivas said  “Because a lot of times I don’t have time at my house to do it.” 

This club would have never started if Olivas and Arce didn’t have the heart and passion for gardening that they each have. Arce and Olivas are actively involved in Agriculture and are in the Floral Club. 

“I personally wanted to dedicate a bed to tea plants like chamomile or we have a Yerba Monte, so we can make and learn how to make tea,” Olivas said. 

Arce’s love started when she was assigned a project in her 7th-grade class and immediately knew that this was really fun and her new hobby. On the other hand, Olivas started gardening because of her new house that her parents built gardening beds for, which she took advantage of. She decided to give away the goods or sell them, which inspired some of the goals of the Gardening club. 

“We’re either going to donate [the vegetables] to culinary or set up a stand at the end of the year and sell them,” Arce said. 

The final products will be given to the floral club, taken home, or sold at the end of the year. The produce grown will allow the gardening club to acquire extra funding. 

“Right now we are mainly growing kale, lettuce, beets, and carrots,” Arce said. “ Mostly vegetables, fruits are more in the spring.” 

As of right now, the club is making sure they have more seeds in the ground so they can harvest around wintertime. The weather for planting crops is not in season, so planning ahead will allow the plants to grow. 

“I think it is super interesting and exciting that we’re finally getting to use the gardening beds around Bowie,” Arce said. “They’ve been completely neglected for a really long time.” 

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