Kids Garden provides local food for 4-H members
Powell – Now in its second year as a part of Park County 4-H, this summer a few of the club members oversee the 4-H Kids Garden on the Park County Fairgrounds in Powell.
The garden was made possible through funding from the statewide 4-H Daniels Fund, and much of last year’s summer was spent putting the garden’s infrastructure together, including raised garden beds.
“The county fairgrounds in Powell gave us a section of land, and we built raised beds to make it easier for the kids, with smaller spaces to take care of,” says Park County 4-H/Youth Educator Brynn Berg, noting they installed six four-by-eight-foot raised beds.
After the garden was put together, the five kids who participated last year used square-foot gardening, which is a form of intense planting.
“It’s a gardening philosophy of dividing beds into square-foot sections and planting based on the size of the plant,” says Berg. “For a cabbage you would use one square foot, while you might plant 16 carrots in a grid in another square foot.”
“With the square-foot gardening the kids can visualize what they’re planting,” she adds, noting that the kids got to choose which seeds they wanted to plant.
For the 2010 growing season, three kids are overseeing the garden and its care as their 4-H project. “Everything is going really well this year, and they’re harvesting many things and getting ready for fair,” says Berg, noting the kids have peas, jalapenos and beans to enter in the Park County Fair the last week of July.
Because of the lack of good soil in the area of the garden, Berg says this year the kids have used weed barrier, and put potatoes in sacks and wire frames. “They planted the potatoes in the bottom with a little soil, and add soil as the potatoes grow,” she explains. “Then when they’re ready they’ll just dump them out.”
The kids also have herbs planted in barrels around the garden, as well as a strawberry bed.
Although some of the produce will be entered in the county fair, Berg says most of the produce is taken home to the kids’ families. “Last year we were off for timing to enter in the fair, but this year there are a few things ready to go, but mostly this garden has been for them to harvest and take home produce to their families, and to learn about producing food locally. This year they’ve taken radishes and lettuce so far,” she says.
The kids also put together a tic tac toe board in their garden with painted rocks, and for the 2009 Park County Fair they made labels for their produce within the garden, although Berg says they had trouble with some unintended harvesting by fairgoers.
Berg says the kids are challenged to figure out a watering schedule and take turns making sure everything is taken care of in the garden. “They got to pick out the specific things they wanted to plant, but it all got planted together, and they all help weed and water together,” she adds.