right now

right now

Apr 28, 2010

Mommy goes back to school!

Yesterday was my first day as a Master Gardener in the "Ready, Set, Grow!" program. We go to local schools and teach some basic horticulture by potting seeds for kids to grow in their classes and plant on their school grounds, as well as teaching through the use of actual plants they can see, touch and smell. We are given a lot of leeway in our creativity and are encouraged to bring interesting things from our own yards or anything we think may be of interest to kids. I brought basil, rosemary, a branch cutting of an azalea in bloom, stevia, a radish in a pot so they can see that we also eat roots, and a branch off of my bleeding heart that was fully covered in blossoms. In lieu of having any cool looking vegetables in my yard this time of year, I decided to make a poster board that was all about kids in the garden. I posted different pictures of the kid gardens we have grown here at the house over the years and hoped for some interest. They loved it! I did it the night before so it is a little rough looking with the plain old Sharpie markers, but hey, it was 2nd graders! Here's some pics, they are a bit rough looking due to my flash not working and it was overcast outside and dim inside! Hopefully they will enlarge with a click.
Here is the board

Close up of the "Kids Only - No Grownups Allowed" Gardens

Why toys belong in the garden!

A Spooky Garden

Kids Berry Patch

Mr. Potato Head comes to the rescue if you don't like a vegetable

Pizza Garden and kids cooking

I have to admit I had a lot of fun making this! My kids were so excited their geeky mom was coming to school, Loch even helped me drag it all in and wanted to stay with us, but I had to shoo him off to class. It was very busy since we had to do 6 classes of 2nd graders, but it was the most rewarding thing I have done in a long time. I tend to get complacent since for my kids gardening is becoming a way of life, and doesn't generate the ooohs and ahhhs that we got from the kids yesterday. Some kids had never made the connection between "pizza" and "garden", and to watch their faces light up with the possibilities was so fun. Big bonus was the last class of the day and a little girl said she wanted to be a gardener like me when she grew up - wow, I almost cried, LOL! Since being a stay at home mom for so long, I had forgotten how good it feels to be recognized and admired, and it was all the better coming from someone so young. I am doing another school next week and cannot wait. I really feel that this particular program is definitely my calling in the Master Gardener program, it is a great bunch of people to work with and I really feel we are adding something very valuable to the kids' curriculum. Woo Hoo for 2nd Graders! I learned something valuable as well, to make sure I take the time to step back and really look at my garden occasionally without seeing weeds, forgotten planting times, forgotten harvests, etc and instead see the fun and miracle of it all...

Here's to the 2nd Grade and may you all look at your gardens with the same wonder today!


  1. Erin, you really are the best!!!

  2. That's awesome!! My plant-industry friends might poo-poo on Master Gardeners, but exactly for your example are they important elements of encouraging youth to learn more about plants and gardening. I don't know how well I'd handle a bunch of children (I volunteer at the Washington Youth Garden, but I don't interact with the kids directly, thank the gods), but I'm very happy there are those who are willing to and enjoy it!

    Get 'em young, get 'em young!

  3. I just had to come back and get another look. :) It's still rockin'!

  4. Erin -- when I grow up, I want to be a Master Gardener like you too!!! I think this sounds like a great outreach program. I can just imagine how much the kids would love it. Great poster, great "props", great work, great you!

  5. WHAT A COOL THING TO DO!! Erin, that is just the neatest! It just blows my mind when I realize that not only kids but adults, too, don't have a realistic concept of where our food comes from. (Shudder. I find that really scary.) How wonderful of you to expose little ones at that age to gardening. Keep up the great work.

    Like Fiona, I want to be a gardener like you when I grow up! (When I look at my garden and then at pictures of yours, I seriously consider concentrating on my quilting year round.)

  6. Fantastic! Way to go on the tri-fold.

  7. Oh how cool! You've certainly found your calling. It sounds like the you and the kids had a lot of fun.

    I think I need to check out this Master Gardening program that everyone keeps talking about. I'm sure I'd learn a lot.

  8. You ROCK!! :) That board is perfect Erin, all you need now is to set up a field trip, lol!

  9. Hey, Erin! Congratulations on the compliments and acknowledgment you got over on The Inadvertent Farmer (http://sweetgrace.typepad.com/the_inadvertent_farmer/) this morning! So well deserved. Hoping it brings you more readers so all the more of us can continue to learn from and enjoy your gardening adventures!

  10. So...I'm thinking I should be coming to you for ideas. Want to guest post for me? I'm having a guest writer the first of each month for the kinderGARDENS contest and I'm thinking you are just the gal to do a rockin' post!

    Or you can have your bookworm kid do it!

    So here I am with my weekly reminder to link up, you have from now till next Wednesday and more than one post is fine by me!

    Anyway, great post. I miss being an active Master Gardener...Kim

  11. You guys are the best, thanks for the nice words! Kenneth, you'll be great as a MG, did you graduate yet? That's the great thing, if you want to work with people you can, if you prefer to be in solitude at a research garden, you can do that too! From what I've seen so far I think the program could use more youth and people that are really into the food and sustainability side of things, I have seen many, many flower types and garden club types but I was the only one it seemed doing vegetables and tearing my yard up in frenzied fashion in my class, LOL! Thomas, you would totally dig it - my biggest problem is finding the hours to volunteer since I still have my youngest at home in the mornings when most of the volunteer work is done.
    Kim, I would be honored to do a post for you, and will definitely find the time for it, let me know for what month you would like it and I will get to work! Off to swimming lessons now, that's my "manicure time" LOL I wonder what the other soccer moms with the professional manicures think of me digging out dirt and white penciling the undersides of my stubby little nails while watching my kids - and I usually follow that up by surfing through a Backyard Chickens magazine, they probably think I am such a bumpkin!

  12. Wow, I really love the kid garden thing. What a great thing to do. If even only one of those kids grows up to garden, you'll have made a difference!
    And I love this Kindergarden thing. It should be interesting to see what these imaginative kids come up with.