This year we’re hosting the Clintonville Farmers’ Market Kids Garden Club. I’m excited to be working in the soil with kids–seeing what works with little hands and lots of little bodies and what doesn’t.
The club currently has 8 members and we’ve had two meetings so far. We’ll be meeting formally ever other week, with some informal meetups and effort by Cora and other kids from our CSA in between to keep things growing. I have made a pact with myself to not work in the garden without at least one child present aside from watering.
Here are a few highlights from this week’s session.
Upon arrival, all members, including our youngest age 4.5, sign themselves in. This small gesture is a first step in giving the kids ownership of their time in the garden.
As I was setting up and getting my head together for our time together, I thought about how to bring the kids who missed the session (5 of 8!) up to speed on what they missed. I pulled out a composition book and started a garden club log. We’ll use this to keep track of what we do each session and I’ll record anything that happens when they are not around in the journal to give them a sense of what’s happening when they aren’t around. Each week, during our welcome time, we’ll review what happened the previous session and the interim. Here’s an excerpt of what I wrote for Week 1. The next pages included lists of everything we planted: transplants, seeds, and the volunteers we found on the site.
After the review, we went over the days agenda which I’ve been writing on a white board.
I planned for us to weed and then label plants but the moment we stepped into the space I realized that was backwards. We sat back down and the kids enthusiastically made labels to mark the plants we already had in place. Then we went back inside the gate, reviewed some of the common weeds we found – grass, sorrel (which we tasted and left a bit around for future snacking, and ground ivy.
We adopted a weed, seed, feed mantra for our work sessions. So, following some light weeding session, we spread compost and dug some fertilizer in around the tomatoes. We also planted a few seeds we hadn’t gotten in the ground the week before.
We ended the session with a scavenger hunt over the fence on the farm. The kids got to pick and taste a spectrum of things from sweet strawberries to spicy radishes. Not surprisingly, there were mixed reviews.