The air was cool Monday, April 19, but for the Marshall-Putnam Master Gardeners and the M-P 4-H Youth Development Coordinator it was heartwarming to see the enthusiasm that the third graders at Fieldcrest Intermediate School in Toluca had as we began the “Seeds to Harvest” garden program this year. The students enjoyed getting their hands dirty in the soil. Master Gardener Sharon Gallop said “I don’t think anyone noticed how cool it was. The third graders’ knowledge of gardening, fruits and vegetables was amazing.” They each took turns leveling the garden beds, planting and labeling the plants and seeds. They all helped put down the weed barrier. “Our radish and beet rows may be a little wider than we planned, but I believe they will realize the satisfaction of watching plants pop up from the soil (not dirt), said Master Gardener Laura Ekern.  Even the remote learners came out on the teacher’s laptop to be a part of the gardens. “I really enjoy seeing the students absorb new knowledge, and they ask really good questions”, said Master Gardener Amy Moore-McKee. “This is so much fun!”, Master Gardener Barb Dahlbach said, “If I heard that once I heard it twenty-five times.”  The Master Gardeners don’t just teach how to plant, they teach about the layers of soil (not dirt), different parts of the plant, what part of the plant they eat, and much more.  On the last day of the program, the students will be able to harvest some of their produce.  The amazing thing about the Fieldcrest Intermediate School’s garden is, after the harvest they replant it as a community garden.  Members of the community help weed, water and harvest the garden throughout the summer. Gallop stated, “If we get one student involved in gardening for a lifetime, that is the reward.”

Picture: Planting- Master Gardener Amy Moore-McKee helps students plant the lettuce.

Weed Covering: Master Gardeners Sharon Gallop, Amy Moore-McKee and Terry Lueders teach students at Fieldcrest Intermediate School how to make organic weed barrier.

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