Junior Master Gardener Program

The end of season 2014 for the Junior Master Gardeners (ages 9-11) class finished last night with a  final harvest of the garden and a potluck dinner.  It has been a great season and I have been thrilled to be a part of it.  It began on May 8, 2014  from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. with a unit on soil which included planting the cool season crops, or salad greens for the Salad Party on June 19th.  One picture shows the garden and the salad greens sprouting and the entrance to the greenhouses and the other shows the garden prior to planting and a picture of the classroom.  This all took place at Matthaei Botanical Gardens and is part of 4-H as well.

I was the class photographer and I took many photos and saved almost 200.  The pictures in this post do not include any pictures of the volunteers (Master Gardeners) or any of the children.  I have some beautiful pictures but I wanted to respect everyones’ privacy and not share them publicly.  We had a total of 10 “gardeners” sign up so it was a perfect group of young people.  One father told me he has been trying to get his young son interested in baseball but all his son wanted to do was garden.  Then a young girl knew a lot more about gardening than most of the adult volunteers.  She really knew her stuff!  Should your county have a Master Gardener Program you might check and see if they also have a Junior Master Gardener Program – it is a great way to get involved and to encourage gardening for  the young people in your area, or perhaps your own son or daughter 🙂

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I felt this was a good post to share with all of the party goers at Angie’s over at The Novice Gardener.  Thanks also to Andrea@cookingwithawallflower.com and Sylvia@superfoodista. The Washtenaw County Junior Master Gardener class, their families and the Master Gardener volunteers had lots of good food at the Harvest Party and want to share it with you.  Enjoy!!!

Five more units were provided to the young enthusiastic gardeners; introduction to plants, flowers, vegetables, yard and garden pests and lawns and woody plants.  After each discussion, classroom experiments and games we all went to the garden to pull weeds and plant more seasonal vegetables.  We also discussed what was going on in the garden.  I like the Chinese proverb at the beginning of the Unit Leader’s Guide that says instruction should not mean lecturing but we learn best by doing.

       “I hear and I forget.

   I see and I remember.

     I do and I understand.”

All of the volunteers received a Unit Leader’s Guide to study and know what was scheduled for each class period.  Each child was also given their own workbook of what was going on each week so they could be prepared.  They also received Junior Master Gardener T-shirts (I bought one too).

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The Salad Party was a lot of fun as the kids harvested anything that was ready to put in a salad.  I forgot to take any pictures of the beautiful salads the kids made.  All kinds of greens, onions, radishes and herbs were then washed and dried in the classroom.  Dressings were provided and lots of pizza to feed this hungry crowd.  Yes, we did find these beautiful caterpillars which become Black Swallowtail Butterflies.

Garden maintenance continued throughout the summer (the kids needed their volunteer hours) every other week.  This was a small group this year but very enthusiastic.

Just when we were about to eat the power went out at the Botanical Gardens.  Luckily, a few emergency lights went on  in the hallway  so we moved our tables out into the light and had a very nice Harvest Dinner.  Some of the kids made chili, a delicious raspberry dessert and one of the volunteers had cured some of the potatoes that were previously harvested and made some great camp potatoes.  A good time was had by all, the kids received their certificates and took home a lot of veggies from the garden they worked so hard on.

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My contribution to this party was a card with a class picture of who participated this year – great photo as I captured them all looking at me with nice smiles.  I had to go through a few “goofy” shots – you know how kids can be sometimes!  My potluck contribution was some Chocolate Covered Oreo Cookies.  I have many of these on my blog, just search “Oreos” and you will find many posts with the molds and finished cookies.  These are very popular posts on my site and everyone seems to love them, oh and they taste fantastic too 🙂

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38 thoughts on “Junior Master Gardener Program

  1. Pingback: Rainbow Pizza with Kale Parmesan Crust | Fiesta Friday #33 | The Novice Gardener

  2. Oh wow! That sounds like such a neat program! I also LOVE the chocolate covered oreos. They’re designs are so cute! Have a wonderful weekend. 🙂

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  3. Wow, congratulations, this is simply amazing. We have a master gardener program here that is staffed by all volunteers but I have to admit my heart is in cooking and not growing . . . I don’t think I have the patience or . . . I don’t know what . . . I also love the little oreo cookies!

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    • I know what you mean Sue – I was a cook before I became a gardener. But when we moved to the country and I had a 40×120′ garden not including the pumpkin patch and corn field a new love was born! The cookies are always a hit 🙂

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  4. Fabulous, Judi! What a wonderful program to be a part of. The future master gardeners did a great job with all those plants. I love the abundance of fruits and flowers. Happy Friday!

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    • Thanks Ngan – I enjoy working with children and to observe their excitement and interest in gardening was so rewarding. Their garden turned out great and really produced a lot of yummy veggies. Happy Saturday 🙂

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  5. It sounds like a fabulous program to be involved in, Judi! How lucky for you to have this medium to share your wealth of knowledge, and wonderful that a child could teach you a thing or two also! Beautiful photos…I see you “captured” a black swallow caterpillar too. 🙂

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    • The program was a lot of fun and I am sorry it is over, but there is always next year! Yes, that little girl knew a lot in detail! Those caterpillars were in the Junior Master Gardener’s garden, not mine – never did take a picture of any in my garden even though I saw the evidence they were there. 🙂

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  6. I love your oreos Judi. I will definitely take a look at your works of art. I loved gardening as a child, and my son enjoyed doing it with me much more than my daughter. Great memories! Congratulations on your Jr. class!

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    • You can garden in any space – there are a lot of herbs and small veggies that do well in a small area. I now have 3 raised beds and you would be surprised how much you can grow – gardening/cooking go hand in hand 🙂

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  7. Dear Juju, what a fantastic initiatives! I think it’s really great to encourage young people to get involved in gardening! I myself do not have a green thumb at all, but I do love to spend time in the garden and I still make attempts from time to time to grow something 😉 And well, your Oreos look simply fantastic!! No wonder they are a hit! Thanks for bringing all of this to FF!!! hugs, Sylvia

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  8. Great post Juju, love that you are involved in this program – being a Gardener myself, I just love to read more and more of these types of posts. The participants must have learned a lot before the program was over….. and your Oreos are to die for 🙂

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    • Thanks Loretta – I received so much pleasure while working with the kids and hopefully making a small difference in their young lives. The Oreos are not only cute but very good to eat – there is a lot of chocolate 🙂

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  9. I used to love gardening until I started a blog. It’s so hard to do both at the same time. I love your potluck contribution of Chocolate Covered Oreo Cookies, they look extra special. I wish I could order some from you. Thanks for sharing the post! I enjoyed reading!

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