By Lynette Norris
Greene Publishing, Inc.
While some children might not like eating their vegetables, the third and fourth graders at Pinetta Elementary School at least seem to enjoy harvesting them.
As school draws to a close this month, Dolly Ballard, Ann Paquette and Laura Coleman met with over forty students from the third and fourth grade classes on a sunny morning, May 18, to see the results of the spring vegetable garden they had been working on for months with the children.
Every month during the school year, Ballard and other Madison Garden Club members have made the trip out to Pinetta to work with the students, some of whom are also members of 4H Club, the Youth Gardeners of Madison and the Boys and Girls Club; the Garden Club ladies help these children with their club projects and prepare them for 4H and other summer camps as well as teaching them about the importance, enjoyment and benefits of growing their own vegetables. Ballard also brings along a guest speaker each month, who does a presentation on a garden or environmentally related subject, such as whooping cranes, other kinds of birds or wildlife, or the different kinds of butterflies that visit the school’s butterfly garden, built by school principal Beth Moore’s father, Randall Buchanan, before his death.
Several of the children were no strangers to having gardens, naming the different things their parents grew, among them, sweet onions, beans and cucumbers.
Wally Davis, who formerly owned and operated the Farmer’s Supply Company on Range Street until his retirement last year, did the guest presentation on fertilizing and watering techniques for vegetable gardens, but the favorite part of the entire morning was when Pinetta Elementary’s Johnnie Woods, director of the Boys and Girls Club, helped the children harvest three large heads of cabbage and several small yellow squashes. The cabbages were destined for the cafeteria kitchen, to be cooked for lunch the next day.
Another favorite segment was Davis digging holes and demonstrating the proper way to plant pumpkin seeds. Ballard then handed small envelopes containing two pumpkins seeds to each child and told them about the pumpkin growing contest set for next fall, when they return from a summer spent (hopefully!) diligently tending their pumpkins. The largest pumpkin is worth a $25 prize. Second place will net $15, and third, $10.
Results will be determined in October.