Children ages seven to nine can learn the basics of gardening and caring for plants and the soil at the eight week course.                                                                Photo Provided
Children ages seven to nine can learn the basics of gardening and caring for plants and the soil at the eight week course. Photo Provided

The Howard County Master Gardeners will present an eight week course for children ages seven to nine who are interested in learning more about gardening or the environment beginning April 17 at 5:30 p.m. at the Kokomo Howard County Public Library South Branch. 

The classes will be hands-on and offer instruction on topics such as soil, insects, seeds, and ecology.

“We’re going to touch on a lot of things. We’ll talk about the roles plants play in our lives, how weather relates to growing plants, how weather fits into where we get our food. We’ll talk about seeds, ecology and what an ecosystem is. We’ll talk about landscaping and selecting attractive plants. We’ll talk about insects and the kinds of things that grow in Indiana commercially. We’ll talk about native plants. We’ll talk about veggies, because we’re going to try to grow some,” said Bridget North of Howard County Master Gardeners.

North said the children will be actually working the ground as they learn about the different types of seeds that can be planted and how to care for them as they grow. She also plans for a meeting at the Community Garden housed at Ivy Tech to show students a large, working garden.

“It’s a teaching garden,” she said. “We’ll help pull weeds over there. (The Master Gardeners) love this project and how much produce goes to organizations here in the county and to those who need it. We want them to see, if you are into gardening, that they can use those skills to help others.
The children will make a couple of planting projects that they will be able to take home as well as learning about the different types of gardens that can be planted at home."

“One of the things I think we’ll try hard to touch on is that there are many types of gardens. Whether it is part of community project or raised gardens on the patio, there are options,” said North. “We have some master gardeners that live in condos and their actual gardening takes place in community plots or containers. Most of mine, I’m a mom and working, so my gardening is community-type stuff, too. The plants I take the best care of are the ones in my office.”

Part of the course will be to plant and maintain a couple public plots at the South Branch library. Weather permitting, the students will sow seeds at the first meeting and learn to care for them during the first class. The plots will be maintained over the course of classes.

“We’re excited to do it because we think kids should get a little bit of exposure not only about where their food comes from, but the plants in the world around them. We’re part of a larger system and helping them understand the role that we play and the role plants play is something we want to start early,” North said.

To register a child, a parent or guardian can email North at bnorth6306@gmail.com or call 765-432-6192 to reserve a spot or ask questions. They still have room in the class. Lessons will be held at the Kokomo Howard County Public Library South Branch on April 17 at 5:30 p.m. every Tuesday through June 12, with the exception of the Tuesday after Memorial Day. June 12 will be the big harvest and wrap up.

If the children have small hand tools or gloves, they are welcome to bring them to the class but nothing is required to participate in the class. This course is made possible by Purdue Extension, Howard County Master Gardeners, and Kokomo Howard County Public Library.