Clara Aburto, in her own words
I planted my first urban garden before I turned four. A neighbor gave me a small handful of radish seeds and helped me prepare the soil. I was in love, from the very first, with the magic of tiny, dull-colored dots becoming round, red orbs that bit back on being tasted.
My parents both came from farm families and loved to surround our Boyle Heights home with flowers, vegetables and fruit trees. It was a small house on a large lot filled with loquats, figs, peaches and tangerines. The porch and side yards held flowering plants. The backyard fed us during long, lazy, SoCal summers. Daddy and Mama grew sweet corn, squash, tomatoes, peppers, onions, garlic and herbs. The lone banana tree was more for shade than fruit.
As a young mother, I attended classes offered by the University of California Cooperative Extension. Later I earned my Master Gardener certificate but was unable to complete the volunteer hours to keep it valid.
As I observe undeniable changes in temperatures, growth patterns and yields, I hope to adapt by working with Nature to feed my spirit, body and family. "
In the 1980s, I had my own garden, a medium-sized plot behind our garage in Alhambra. I grew green beans, snow peas, beets, carrots, zucchini, tomatoes and mint. There was a huge and generous lemon tree in the front yard, and seventeen rose bushes along the property line. In the mid-aughts, I had a plot in a Rosemead community garden. Best soil I've ever encountered!
These days, I tend my side yard, trying to cope with heat and water restrictions. I'm able to coax radishes, beets, squash and tomatoes out of heavy clay soil.
I visit Throop Garden with my two grandkids, usually during the week. We pull dandelions and society garlic to feed our rabbits, who, in turn, generously donate their droppings to the Throop Garden. I helped dig our weed barrier trench that made possible the new Water Harvesting Demonstration Plot. Great exercise!
I want to learn more about permaculture; it's a bit new to me. As I observe undeniable changes in temperatures, growth patterns and yields, I hope to adapt by working with Nature to feed my spirit, body and family.