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Jennie Reflecting on Meeting Katherine and Grace for the First Time

Me with Katherine Loflin @thecitydoctor and her daughter Grace

I got to meet Katherine and Grace yesterday! I’m so excited to work with them. They both seem really excited to have the garden. Katherine is great - she gave me a signed copy of her book! I’ve already started it and so far it’s really interesting. The main goal of our meeting yesterday was to assess the site and to see what Katherine wants out of her garden.

Katherine has a beautiful house and a big yard, but most of it is shaded. That will be a challenge considering that most vegetables need a lot of sunlight to grow. Since there is so much shade, we decided to try an experiment. We’re going to plant a few veggies in pots that can be moved around to get the most sun. We’re planting everything else in an old koi pond on the side of the house. We think it gets enough sun, but we’re not entirely sure. We’re going to use this as an opportunity to find out. The good thing about the site is that the old koi pond, where we’re going to plant the bulk of the vegetables, is already in a raised bed of sorts so we won’t have to buy cinder blocks or topsoil. This saves us a lot of money and is going to allow us to focus more on the aesthetics of the garden. Since we don’t have to have topsoil, we’re going to get a load of wood chips delivered to the site. They will act as a mulch and help make the yard and garden look neater.

Speaking of aesthetics, we went to Campbell Road Nursery yesterday and picked out a few annuals and perennials to add some color to the garden and yard. Hopefully that will brighten things up! We didn’t have to worry about buying too many vegetables, as my parents are donating transplants and seeds. My mom generously planted kale, collards, carrots, beets, onions, garlic, and rosemary for us to plant (thanks Mom!). However, the transplants are still at my house outside of Charlotte (2 hours away from Raleigh). My brother is supposed to be bringing them to Raleigh today. I’ll feel much better when they’re here safely with me!

After yesterday, I’m feeling really good about the project. Yes, the site has its challenges and is a little far from NC State, but I feel that the benefits outweigh the cons. I’m excited to work with a family that is so enthusiastic about getting a garden, especially considering that it’s something I’m so passionate about. So far, I think I’ve gained communication, project management, and collaboration skills. I’ve had to think critically about the site, actively listen to Katherine’s needs, and determine the best way to install the garden. I’ve really had to improve my communication skills, especially via social media. I’m usually not one to share everything that is going on in my life over the internet, but I’m slowly learning that sometimes that is the best way to spread the word about a project! I also have had to learn event coordinating skills, as I am arranging a group of volunteers. I’m having to arrange a carpool for the NCSU students coming, and the day of, I’m going to have to pair NCSU students with Haven House kids. But, it’ll all be worth it, and I can’t wait to put all these new skills into action next Saturday at the garden installation!

Below are the key skills I am learning through this internship!

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