• October 23, 2014

Home-schooled children learn about gardening

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Posted: Friday, March 21, 2014 4:30 pm

With a tease of spring in the air Wednesday, children rolled up their sleeves and leveled out soil to plant seeds in several Harvest Heights plots.

“I really like carrots,” said Deven FitzPatrick, 5, shaking a packet of seeds.

The Stewart C. Meyer Harker Heights Public Library’s weekly home-school program met at the Community Garden at Carl Levin Park to learn about gardening and how to plant and care for root vegetables.

Before getting their hands dirty, children sat and listened to Kathe Kitchens, part-time library clerk and co-owner of Bestemor Herb Garden, as she explained the benefits and ease of vermiculture, earthworm composting.

“Since it’s still early in the season and the nights are cool, this is the right time to plant root vegetables,” she said. “These will grow easily and grow well unattended.”

Kitchens said the carrot, radish, turnip and beet seeds planted Wednesday will be ready to harvest in 60 days. The group will go back to the garden in May to pick the fruits of their labor and then prep the garden beds to grow summer vegetables, such as okra and tomatoes, that thrive in hot Texas summers. “My favorite thing to grow is lavender because the flowers are so good smelling,” said Xavier LaCroix, 7.

His younger sister Amari, 3, could hardly wait to get her little hands on some beet seeds.

“We have a garden at home where we have planted lettuce, garlic and tomatoes, and we are going to try carrots this year,” said their mother, Stephanie LaCroix. City volunteers will maintain the plots throughout the season until harvest. Harvest Heights is a program that grows fruits and vegetables year round in the Harker Heights Community Garden and donates the produce to the Harker Heights Food Care Center.

The project is managed by the Activities Center coordinator and volunteers. In addition to maintaining garden plots, Harvest Heights holds annual food drives to feed the community.

To learn more about the home-schooling program call 254-953-5491. To volunteer in the Harvest Heights program call Heather Cox at 254-953-5493.

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