“Look!” said Isabelle Baker, 4, as she pulled a beet from its dirt bed, exposing its bright red flesh. “This one has two on it!”
Wide-eyed children eagerly crowded around a plot of earth Wednesday morning to see what other treasures were waiting for them in the community garden at Carl Levin Park.
The children, part of the Stewart C. Meyer Harker Heights Library’s home-school program, returned to the four Harvest Heights plots where they planted carrot, radish, turnip and beet seeds March 20 to see what grew.
“This is the best part because they come full circle,” said Amanda Hairston, children’s librarian. “In this day and age, it’s really meaningful for the kids to see where their food comes from. They may not want to try certain vegetables, but they will be more apt to try them if they are part of the process.”
In March, Kathe Kitchens, part-time library clerk and co-owner of Bestemor Herb Garden, taught the group about gardening and how to plant and care for root vegetables.
As predicted, the vegetables were ready for harvest, but unseasonably cold nights yielded premature carrots and some pesky bugs did a number on turnip leaves.
With the help of Kitchens and Heather Cox, Activities Center coordinator, the children picked the fruits of their labor and prepped the garden beds to grow summer vegetables, such as okra, tomatoes and bell peppers that thrive in hot Texas summers.
“I think it’s fun,” said Linzie Baker, 10. “I kind of want to try some radishes and beets now and start a garden at home.”
Items harvested from the garden will go to the Harker Heights Food Care Center.
To learn more about the home-schooling program, call 254-953-5491. To volunteer in the Harvest Heights program, call Cox at 254-953-5493.