Angela Lassam & Pat Zeyen
Tillsonburg Horticultural Society
The Tillsonburg Horticultural Society has regrettably cancelled the Junior Gardener program this year due to the government COVID-19 restrictions.
We encourage families to start a garden together. Introducing children to gardening is a great way to increase their awareness of where food comes from and the importance of the environment in everyday life.
For those not familiar with the Junior Gardener program, it’s a gardening program offered to children in our community ages 4-14. Every April, registration forms are distributed through the local schools and to home schooled children. Planting packages of materials to grow a garden, which include seeds, bulbs, plants and instructions, are distributed at the end of May.
Junior gardeners plant and grow their own home garden and can elect to have their garden judged in August by a volunteer horticultural society judge. Visiting the gardens is a highlight for our Junior Gardeners and judges. They talk, learn and give gardening tips to the children and take photos of their gardens.
‘In every Gardener is a child who loves to play in the dirt. In every child is a gardener ready to grow.’
The climax of the program is an Awards and Friendship Party with pizza and ice cream in September.
We will continue to plan the Junior Gardener program for Spring 2021 – Planting a Super Snack Garden.
In the meantime, Pat Zeyen, Tillsonburg Horticultural Society Junior Gardener coordinator, has a few gardening tips. We hope it will encourage both children and parents to enjoy gardening in the future.
For more information, visit our website tillsonburghorticultural.ca or FaceBook (Tillsonburg Horticultural).
Here are a few gardening tips to plan your garden.
Select seeds and plants from your local garden centres. The garden centres offer ordering by phone and online with curbside pickup.
Grow what you like to eat.
Grow a variety of fruit, vegetables and flowers.
Top 10 easy to grow for kids – sunflowers, lettuce, radish, snow or snap peas, cherry tomatoes, bush beans, carrots, pumpkins, potatoes and nasturtium.
And some tips to prepare, plant and pamper your garden.
All plants need sunshine, water, good soil and fertilizer to grow healthy.
Find a sunny location for your garden. Seeds and plants can be planted directly in the ground, raised beds or in a planter box. The size and the shape of your garden is your choice.
Prepare the ground or raised bed soil by dampening the soil with water and loosen it up. Compost can be added to the garden for more nutrients. If using a planter box, select a good potting soil.
Follow the planting instructions on the seed packages.
Give your newly planted garden a good watering to get it growing.
You will see seedlings pop up through the soil in about 2-3 weeks. You will also see weeds! Simply pick the weeds so your flowers and vegetables have room to grow.
After a couple months of gardening, your vegetables will be ready to harvest and you can enjoy with your family.
The program will be back next year and available to all children who would like to try to grow a garden. It has been very popular in the community for many years. Many parents recall to our volunteer judges how they did a garden as a child. Hopefully we can continue to do this again in the future.