Neighbors tend community gardens. Donation gardens nourish the hungry. Children learn to distinguish corn from beans in schoolyard plots. Homeowners carve gardens from backyard carpets of St. Augustine grass. Others, limited by space and time, raise a container or two of tomatoes or herbs and shop at Bayou City Farmers Market.
“How Green is my Houston?” a resident might ask. It’s Greener since Dr. Bob Randall, a volunteer for the former Houston Hunger Coalition, founded Urban Harvest more than a decade ago. Today its staff of 13 offers expertise in organic gardening, beginning with one very important lesson about Houston’s dirt. It needs some help.
“It’s clay gumbo,” says Kara Masharani, outreach coordinator of the nonprofit organization. “One of the first lessons we teach is to use raised beds.”
Giving that gumbo a hand up, Houstonians watch their gardens flourish in the greenhouse climate we otherwise know as muggy Houston weather.