It was harvest and veggie tasting time for the Junior Gardeners at Tommie Barfield Elementary School (TBE). In mid-October, TBE Junior Gardeners, working with the Calusa Garden Club members as mentors, used earth boxes to plant herbs and vegetables as an after-school enrichment program.
The junior gardeners were assigned an earth box in groups of three. Each group was given a planting category. The gardeners in the Pizza Garden were given plants that would go well with pizza, such as peppers, tomatoes and parsley.
The Salad, Salsa and Stir-Fry Gardens each had plants such as tomatoes, Swiss chards, sweet peppers, basil, broccoli while the Herb Garden planted chives, beans, sage, thyme, mints and oregano. The Squash Garden did not do too well, as the squash had “insect” problems, but they did grow healthy onions.
January is the much anticipated “harvesting and tasting” month. This is the best part and the young gardeners were very excited to finally harvest their own “crop,” taste it and also taste what the other gardeners grew. For some of the gardeners, it was their first experience tasting different varieties of vegetables in their raw forms.
For the gardeners, it was ok to “eat your broccoli” raw. Broccoli is considered a “superfood” as it is packed with nutrients, but sometimes eating the broccoli florets without smothering it with ranch dressing or melted cheese takes a lot of courage even for adults.