My summer garden classes for kids

thistlebloom

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Today was the first of the kids summer gardening classes. I have 7 neighbor children attending, and we will be meeting weekly as far as possible with busy schedules.
They are mostly all over here at random times throughout the week so there will also be informal garden care happening too.

I think it went well. We flirted with chaos a few times but never really went over the edge.
They were attentive for the most part and enthusiastic. They especially loved watering with the water cans, but what kid doesn't like plunging a watering can in a big tub of cool water on a hot day?

We had a few mini lecture periods, and started garden journals. I gave them our Big Fat Word of the Day, which was 'germination" that they wrote in their notebooks as well as a drawing of their favorite plant or fruit/vegetable. Naturally the 4 year old drew a teepee, but there was a giant grape sitting right outside the door! :p

They made an obsrvation planting of peas planted close to the sides of a clear plastic cup that they took home. They are to watch what happens and report back next Saturday. They learned about the importance of reading the back of the seed packages for the information on how, when, and where to plant.

They each got their own potato to plant, I gave them Magic Molly, Bintje, Maris Piper and Purple Viking, so it will be fun when it's time to dig them up. They were so pleased that they each had their own potato, and we pounded in survey stakes with the owners name in front of each plant. One little girl put some artistic effort into her name stake and asked if she could have it when the summer classes are over. Pretty cute! :)

We planted 6 hills of Montana Jack pumpkins, (would have been 7, but the one difficult child was getting bored and opted out) . The seedlings were in peat pots, so they learned about "wicking" and tearing the rims off the pots before planting.

They put Super Sugar Snap peas on either side of an arched cattle panel. Boys side and girls side of course.

Each gender group got one Gold Nugget cherry tomato from my starts.

We planted a sunflower room as a group with seeds, as well as seedlings of Mammoths that I had started.

We put in a small plot of Strawberry popcorn that is going to come in really thick in a few places. :D

I gave each of them their own small jewelers loupe hand lens on lanyards so they could discover the tiny details of flowers and bugs and fingers. These were really a popular item and the carrot that I am hanging in front of them, because I told them that if they come to the classes and work hard at learning, those hand lenses will be their prize to keep when the summer classes are over.

I also had small bug nets so they could capture flying insects to observe with their magnifiers.
Those may not be real effective, the net is actually too small and the boys tended to sword fight more than chase the bugs.

It was a fun morning and I had to force them to go home at noon. I'm really looking forward to next week.:)
 

journey11

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I love this idea! Is this for the community service part of your Master Gardener's class, or just for fun? I can send you some cool beans for the kids to plant, if you want. I think that rambunctious kid will regret not planting a pumpkin when harvest time comes!
 

thistlebloom

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This is something I was planning on doing before I took the MG course, but found out that it can count toward my 30 volunteer hours, so I'm recording the class meetings and participants towards that end.

Some cool beans would be welcome Journey! We still have some room left, and I was planning on having them plant a bush bean next week that has red bean pods. Can't think of the variety right now, I think I used up too many brain cells this morning!
 

thistlebloom

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Two of the little girls came over today to play with the horses and wanted to check their plants progress against the boys. They reported back that theirs were doing better. I'm not sure what they were gaging it by since nothing has sprouted yet.

Then one of the girls little brothers came racing into the yard (the adorable 4 year old) and said as he ran past that he had to go straight back home, but he wanted to check on his plants. :)
 
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