SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – A summer program at the Clark Early Childhood Learning Center helps them learn about the basics of gardening 101.
The summer program started last year after a few teachers took a gardening 101 course together. They started with building the garden behind Clark Elementary last summer.
Last summer was the first time they held the summer program they call Clark Early Childhood Learning Garden Club. The Garden Club meets once a week in the morning behind Clark Elementary.
The kids that attend the garden club get to learn about growing their own plants, harvesting their plants, and the pesky pests that come along with having a garden.
This past May, the kindergarteners of Clark Elementary planted the seeds in the garden boxes so that they would be ready to harvest throughout their summer garden club. Today they got to harvest radishes.
The teachers help them by teaching them about the plants and most importantly, how to harvest the vegetables (and sometimes fruit) once they are grown. They start with the first garden box and talk about the things they see from flowers blooming, to vegetables starting to sprout. Once they get to an area that has vegetables ready to be harvested, the teachers show them how to properly and carefully harvest the vegetable so they can do it themselves.
Once the children have picked three to five vegetables, they have to draw one of their vegetables and color it with paints to document the products they harvested throughout the summer.
They also learn about all the wildlife that lives in gardens and feeds off the plants. The kids were on the lookout for pests that harm the garden/ plant leaves. They use “clues” they have learned about to find these pests. They looked for holes in the leaves of plants. The holes indicated that a pest was living there and feeding off that plant. The biggest pest they came across is known as the Japanese Beetle. They will capture the bugs and then release them at a later time in the day away from their garden.
After they have harvested their vegetables and gotten rid of the pests, they finish off the day by taking care of the garden to help it grow. They water the plants one by one, and sometimes they get to plant more seeds in the garden.