Bob Vaughn, UM Extension Master Gardener in Anoka County, June 10, 2014
Rachel, Nancy, and I (all Master Gardeners) have the privilege of volunteering for a 2nd year at the Lino Lakes Correctional Facility and Pines School, helping the teenagers plant the “New Growth Garden”. This experience is an exceptionally rewarding experience as the students are very engaged. They seem very glad to see us each week, but most importantly take pride in their garden.
We teach them about soil science, composting, propagation, IPM (integrated pest management) and photosynthesis. Some of the students wrote and performed raps on photosynthesis. This was quite entertaining. A fun way to validate their learning!
Prior to planting, the students had the assignment of designing garden plans and presented them to the planting team. I was impressed with their creativity.
We encountered some problems in the garden—has anyone else noticed a lot of rain—but we got the garden prepared and planted. We planted some plants that we started early from seed, mostly tomatoes, peppers and herbs. We also planted a variety of vegetables: peas, squash, broccoli, sweet corn, cucumbers and beans, green, yellow and purple. (I had to search all over Minnesota for the purple beans but did find them in Backus, MN!)
We tended our perennial bed, pruned roses, weeded strawberries, thinned oregano and harvested some early parsley. We planted some annuals too - marigolds, petunias, four o’clocks and a dahlia.
I would like to thank the staff at Lino Lakes for their support - especially Jim Ford. Without their help this program would not be such a success. Thanks also to my fellow Extension Master Gardeners Nancy and Rachel.
Now we go check on the growth of the garden and offer advice if there are problems. Here’s to a productive growing season both in the classroom and the garden.