A Garden in the City

There is a community garden in the city where I live. Anyone can sign up for a plot of land in the garden. My family signed up for one this year. Every Saturday morning, we put on our hats and gloves. Mom gathers the bag of gardening tools. Then we take the train to the garden. This spring we planted lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, strawberries, zucchini, radishes, peas, and pumpkins.

Now it is the end of summer. Finally we can pick some of our fruits and vegetables! My mom shows my brother and me how to pick the lettuce. We grasp the plant at the base of its leaves and pull it gently from the soil. Some of the lettuce we planted has flat green leaves. Some of the lettuce has curly leaves that are green and purple. Mom says we will use both kinds for a salad tonight.

The tomatoes are huge! One of the tomatoes has fallen on the ground. My brother jumps on it and squirts tomato juice and seeds everywhere. My dad tells him to pull up the weeds by the pumpkins while we finish picking. We pluck three dozen tomatoes off of their vines. The tomatoes are red and shiny. Their skins are warm from the sun.

Next we pick the zucchini. We pluck the long, green squash from their stalks. Mom will steam some of the zucchini for dinner. After we pick the zucchini, we sit on the soil around the pea plants. There are bean pods everywhere! Every time I think I have picked all of the ripe pods, I find another one. At last we have picked all of the peas. I split open a pod and pop out three round green peas. They are sweet and wonderful.

Next we kneel by the radishes. With a firm tug on their leaves, we pull the radishes out from underneath the soil. Then we do the same thing with the carrots. Both the radishes and the carrots are dirty. We will have to take them home and wash off all of the dirt before we can eat them.

Now Mom and I check the pumpkin plants. The pumpkins are starting to grow, but we will wait for a few months to pick them. Dad picks strawberries. The red berries are bursting with juice, and he gets strawberry seeds stuck between his teeth. Mom tells him to save some of the strawberries for the rest of us.

By the time we get back on the train, our basket is really heavy. For dinner we have a huge salad, steamed zucchini, and a fish from the market. For dessert we eat the fresh strawberries on top of vanilla ice cream. This summer tastes really good.

Vocabulary

  • plot: A small piece of ground.
  • pod: The part of a flowering plant, such as a pea or bean plant, that contains the seeds and that splits open when it is ripe.
  • ripe: Fully grown and developed.

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Activity

  1. What are two different ways that you could group the plants in this garden? Give each group a name. Then write down the kinds of things a plant must have to be in that group. Write down the names of the garden plants that belong in each group.
    [anno: Answers will vary. Possible answers include: Plants with fruits and vegetables that grow above the ground. Grouped under this would be: lettuce, pumpkins, tomatoes, peas, strawberries, and zucchini. Another group could be: Plants with fruits and vegetables that grow on vines. Grouped under this would be: tomatoes and peas.]
  2. Think of other plants that would fit in the groups that you created. For each group, list three more plants that would fit in that group. Write the name of these plants in the correct group.
    [anno: Answers will vary.]