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Check out what our 2015 University of Illinois Extension Interns are doing this summer!
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Growing Solutions Farm for Autistic Young Adults

Posted by Ron Wolford -


Jasmine and I had the pleasure of participating in the planting of Earth Boxes at the Growing Solutions Farm at Cambell and Levitt. The Growing Solutions Farm is a horticultural therapy garden geared towards autistic individuals. The groups that participate travel from around the area to help with the planting, maintenance, and harvest of the garden. They just installed EarthBoxes in the garden at the end of some of their vegetable plots. The earthboxes were planted with AAS winners and serves as the only All-American Selections Display Garden in earthboxes in the US.

Earth boxes are boxes with a couple inches of empty reservoir space in the bottom for water to store so that the plants planted in the boxes are watered from the bottom up instead of the top down. This better simulates growing plants in the earth. With the help of a couple master gardeners and the Easter Seals group, we were able to fill approximately 30 earth boxes and plant about 15 of them before the rain came in. This was a lot of fun, and we learned a lot about planting of tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers.

The following Monday, we returned for the kickoff lunch and to check on the status of the earth boxes. They needed watered and were all filled with different vegetables and flowers such as tomatoes, beets, cucumbers, basil, and multiple types of flowers. During lunch, everyone was welcomed and announcements were made about the work that needed to be put into the garden as well as the greatness that will come out of it. It was a great experience and we are excited to see how the garden will progress this summer.

Abigail and Jasmine

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