Kid’s Corner – Light’s On Gardening Program


working in the pumpkin patch


By Kristin Vogel

Tuesday, June 22, 2010



It was a gorgeous, first day of summer in Lander today.  The Lights On gardeners celebrated by giving their newly transplanted veggies, melons and flowers a little love.  They watered thoroughly and then mulched their beds.  The students had learned the week before that mulching your plants helps to retain moisture in the soil, and discourages unwanted weeds from taking hold.  They did a fantastic job, and their beds look beautiful.  


Next, we discussed compost.  This was a topic that the students were very interested in last week when our garden tour brought us to the compost tumbler.  We explored the concept of garbage, and how in nature there is no such thing.  This is because when something dies it becomes food and nutrition for something else to grow.  That is exactly what we do when we compost.  We turn a closed system with a beginning and an end into a cycle that never ends, and that requires no extra energy input but the energy from the sun.  The students knew how important it is to recycle and reuse everything possible, so that we do not hurt the earth.  To put these ideas into action, we began a compost pile.  We asked the question, how do raw food scraps and garden waste become nutrient-rich soil?   The answer, we discovered, is the FBI!  Fungus, Bacteria and Invertebrates (not to mention regular turning and water in our dry, Wyoming climate), will turn our “trash” into treasure….amazing compost to enrich our soil.  We took three parts carbon (our brown, dried vegetation, like straw or dried leaves) and added it to one part nitrogen (our green and fresh food scraps).  We tossed with a pitchfork and watered.  Then, to give our pile a turbo-boost, we sprinkled on some FBI-rich compost to jump-start the decomposition process.  The height of our pile was nine inches.  We will measure in the weeks ahead to see what has changed.  We might even add some worms (the ‘I’ in FBI)!


Finally, in exchange for their very own pumpkin at Halloween, the students helped plant

the second row of the pumpkin patch in the garden.  The students did an AMAZING job!  Everybody worked hard, digging holes, mixing soil, and planting, watering and mulching the pumpkin seedlings.  The Big Cheese will be pleased! Once again, the students displayed an amazing amount of knowledge, team-work, and elbow-grease.  They are a great group of kids.


Next week, our garden adventures will take us into the wild and wonderful backyard of Nancy Debevoise.  She has generously offered a tour of her beautiful perennial gardens.  And, we will even get to take some plants back to the community garden and plant them ourselves.


Stay tuned!

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