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The Minnesota Agriculture in the Classroom (MAITC) had Hilariia Ponce, a student worker for the from the University of Minnesota Agricultural Communications and Marketing, assist with a variety of MAITC projects throughout this past year. Meet this week's guest blogger, Hilariia, as she introduces herself and shares her knowledge about gardening.

Greetings, I am Hilariia Ponce, a student at the University of Minnesota. Currently, I am a sophomore studying Agricultural Communication and Marketing. I am also a student worker for Minnesota Agriculture in the Classroom. I work on fun projects helping educators in Minnesota get educational resources such as AgMags, and in using our online teacher resources for classrooms.

How to Maintain A Garden

Growing up, my mom and I loved working outside in our garden. We would plant lettuce, cucumbers, flowers, and more in the summer. Here are some tips I've learned about starting and maintaining our garden.

Hillariia Ponce
  1. First, you need a clean surface.  You can create clean garden beds by pulling out weeds or random branches.
  2. Next, you'll want to ensure your plants will be in nutrient rich soil with lots of organic matter. You can do soil tests on the soil to see what nutrients it contains.  The University of Minnesota Soil Testing lab can do a soil test for you.  Details about this can be found at https://soiltest.cfans.umn.edu
  3. You then need to pick out plants for your garden to ensure your plants are suitable for growing in the early spring. Some good plants for early spring planting would be cold hardy crops such as carrots, kale, beetroot, and broccoli. These plants are very resilient when it comes to cold climates.

If you need help with what to plant, no worries! Many garden centers are very informative about their seeds in their stores, so ask an associate when picking out your plants if you need more clarification. My mom and I love growing cucumbers because you'll see bright yellow flowers, and then a cucumber will start growing off the vines in a few days.

Spacing Between Plants is Important!

When planting seeds or plants, we need to ensure they have enough space from other plants so they don't get overcrowded. Plants grow very fast compared to humans; if adequately spaced out, it will prevent plants from toppling over other plants. You also need to ensure your plants have enough sunlight for photosynthesis [the process by which plants use sunlight, water and carbon dioxide to create oxygen and energy]. Plants need photosynthesis to grow, just like food and water help us stay healthy and happy! 

Taking care of plants is a great way to be active and spend time with friends and family, so go outside and have fun creating your garden! 

If you want some help getting your garden going, check out "UMN Ask a Master Gardener," where you can ask questions about your garden to a Master Gardener in Minnesota. 

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