While the kids are out of school for the summer, families can keep their creative juices flowing with a home garden. Gardens can provide just the kind of entertainment that young minds need, from planting a seed to watching it grow until it bears fruit or vegetables.
Children will learn responsibility in caring for their garden, whether it be a patio tomato in a pot, a small, contained garden or acres of fruits and vegetables.
It's also a lesson in patience. Children must have patience when watching a plant grow to fruition, and can be rewarded with a fresh-from-the-vine tomato once it has ripened.
To get local youngsters interested in planting a garden, there will be a Garden at Lunch program for children on June 11 at the Columbia County Library. The Kids Day event will kick off at 11:30 a.m., before the Family Movie Matinee of Curious George.
Sponsored by Columbia County's master gardeners, local nurseries and other businesses, the program will teach children how to plant seeds and care for their plants. Pre-registration is required, with the program limited to the first 100 children.
"I feel that it is important for children to learn to garden," said master gardener Mary Ann Woodworth. "This teaches respect for the environment and for living things. Gardening teaches that hard work yields its own rewards in many ways."
Following a plant from the tiny seed put in the ground to the table as it is served for dinner is not only satisfying, but also encourages healthy eating.
"Watching a garden take shape brings about a sense of joy and accomplishment," said Woodworth. "Gardening is also a healthy hobby, working outside instead of sitting and watching TV or playing video games. This can also be a great way for a family to spend quality time together and create memories."
Woodworth said she remembers working with her father, Walter J. Wasilewski, in the yard.
"He would tell me, 'When you have your own home you'll know how to do this,' " she recalls. "Some of my favorite memories were when pop and I would go together and shop for plants and plan our gardens, and by the way: Pop was right."
The June 11 Kids Day program will begin with a lunch of hot dogs and lemonade, provided by Nathan's Famous hot dogs and Bruster's Ice Cream. Greenbrier Nursery and Gifts, Bricko Farms, Green Thumb West and Bedford Greenhouses will provide potting soil, planting containers and seeds.
To register for the event, contact the Columbia County Extension Office at (706) 868-3413. All children must be accompanied by an adult.
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