A three-foot by five-foot space doesn’t seem like much space for a garden. But, as the Kids Can Grow program is proving, some big lessons can be learned from growing vegetables in a small space.
Since May 8, 15 children, ranging in age from seven to 12, have been meeting monthly at Maine Coast Heritage Trust’s (MCHT) Somesville facility to learn about gardening and work in teams to grow crops in raised beds.
The University of Maine Cooperative Extension developed the Kids Can Grow program in 1999. The extension service and MCHT jointly are sponsoring the program, which is in its first year, on Mount Desert Island. Adults from the extension service’s master gardener volunteer program mentor the youths.
At MCHT’s gardens, the children work in teams on four raised beds. During the first session, each child was given the materials to construct their own 15-square-foot garden at home. Mentors make occasional home visits to advise the young gardeners about managing their individual gardens.