Teaching youths the joy of vegetable gardening

By Eric Barrett

OSU Ext. educator

Vegetable gardening is fun. It’s also rewarding. It teaches the joy of accomplishment when you get to eat that first tomato or pepper.

OSU Extension aims to help more children in Youngstown learn to grow vegetables through our Good Natured Garden Partners Program.

Through the program, children and adults gain an appreciation of plants and an understanding of food production.

The program is accepting applications for new teams for 2014 from within the city of Youngstown.

A team can be any group of children, led by adult volunteers within the city. Adults will need to fill out a volunteer form to receive free seeds and plants for their group. Youths will team up with the adult volunteer to form a “growing team.” These teams will plant a garden, then compete for prizes and recognition at the end of the summer.

Youths who participate in Good Natured Garden Partners will:

Foster positive youth devel-opment.

Enhance positive relationships between youths and adults.

Develop a sense of ownership and pride in the neighborhood.

Generate an appreciation of plants and an understanding of food production.

Reward positive behavior and achievement.

Teams will receive awards at the end of the season for growing a successful garden. Awards will be given to each team and to those who win awards for the best displays of the harvest from their garden. Program requirements include attending kickoff events on both May 19 and June 2, plus one additional event to learn about growing vegetables. New teams will receive a free soil test of their garden area. Teams are responsible for finding a garden plot or container gardens. They will need to care for the plants all summer and participate in the Garden Party on Aug. 11.

Registration deadline is May 9. To register, call 330-533-5538 for a flier and more details.

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