Gardening with Planet Minerva

Gardening with Planet Minerva

Community Fund helps kids grow and harvest their own vegetables in the Gore Mountain Region.

Children in Minerva have had the opportunity to become involved with the Planet Minerva Community Garden this growing season. (2009) Planet Minerva has partnered with Minerva Central School (MCS) and the Minerva Youth Program for the 2nd year of their garden in order to give kids the opportunity to plant and harvest their own vegetables.

The fun began back in mid-April when Planet Minerva volunteers came to MCS, with veggies in hand to give students in grades Pre-K through 5th for a taste test. Each student had a score card to show which vegetables they liked...and which they did not care for. This was a success, most kids tasted all vegetables that were offered and they were asking for more on their way out the door. The following week Planet Minerva came back to school to help students plant vegetable seeds. They cared for these seedlings in their classrooms and watched them grow for a little over a month.

On May 26, grades pre-K through 4 took a field trip to the garden to plant their seedlings as well as additional starter plants and seeds. Even though it was above 90 degrees this day (not the ideal temperature for planting!) everything got put in the ground including corn, celery, tomato, cauliflower and bean plants and spinach and carrot seeds. It was wonderful to see how much excitement and enthusiasm the children had about gardening. One teacher overheard a kid on the bus saying, "this was the best field trip we've ever taken."

The MCS 5th grade came to plant the pepper plants they started in school as well as arugula and basil seeds on June 2nd. The weather was much more suited to planting and the kids had a wonderful time. They kept looking for more jobs to do after their veggies were planted and ended up watering the entire garden.

Planet Minerva volunteers have weeded and watered the garden throughout the summer, including families who signed up through school to tend the garden for a week. The Minerva Gleaned Food Program has been the recipient of some of the harvest and volunteers are always welcome to take veggies home.

On August 11, the Little Groups of the Minerva Youth Program came to the garden to pick vegetables. For many of them, it was the first time they had seen the garden since they planted in the spring. They harvested corn, tomatoes, sugar snap peas, green and purple string beans, radishes and zucchini in a whirlwind of excitement. Much of their harvest was eaten at the Youth Program end of the year picnic.

Families and community members who attended the MCS Back toSchool BBQ were treated to a garden salad and veggie kabobs made from vegetables from the community garden.

Planet Minerva looks forward to continuing the partnerships with MCS and MYP and getting kids excited about planting and eating vegetables. Ground has been broken for a school garden on MCS property and Planet Minerva and MCS volunteers are working together on this new undertaking.

The Planet Minerva Community Garden has been supported for the past two years by grants from the Community Fund for the Gore Mountain Region at Adirondack Foundation. In 2009 the CFGMR grant was used to start the garden and then in 2010 funds were used for the purchase of a first aid kit and a composter for the garden. For more information about the Planet Minerva Community Garden, call Jen Thul at 251-5838, check out the website, www.planetminervainc.com or follow Planet Minerva on Facebook.