Aufdenberg, D.1
1Field Specialist in HORTICULTURE, University of Missouri Extension, Jackson, MO, 63755


     An increasing number of children in elementary school have limited access to knowledge and experience growing vegetables in the garden.  A series of classes were offered during the spring growing season to allow children to learn in an outdoor classroom with raised bed gardens to gain hands-on experience.  Topics presented were planning and preparing the garden, planting seeds and transplants in the garden, soils, plant parts, what plants need to grow, bugs in the garden, composting and harvesting.  Classes consisted of 20 minutes of education time and 25 minutes of hands-on gardening.  Children had the opportunity to cultivate, measure, plant, water, weed, check for insects, compost plants, examine soil life, harvest vegetables and taste the plants they grew.  This program reached over 95 students. In the evaluations, all participants indicated practice changes.  These changes included being able to plant seeds and plants, take care of plants, and harvesting.   When asked about the program, 100% indicated they could sow seeds and plant transplants, 100% said they could water and take care of plants, 94% indicated they could identify at least 10 insects found in the garden, and 78% of children indicated they would be asking their parents to help plant gardens at home.

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