Growing a green thumb

by | November 2, 2018 5:00 am

Last Updated: October 31, 2018 at 10:19 am

Eight-year-old Allyson Scott doesn’t have a green thumb yet, but she is well on her way.
In her first year as a 4-H member, and her first year planting a garden, Allyson won the Colleton County 4-H Small Garden Project.
Allyson was looking around for an activity and discovered 4-H through a newspaper article. She was drawn to 4-H initially because it offered some work with robotics.
Allyson was too young to join the Cottageville Elementary School’s robotics team and wanted the chance the 4-H offered. Now in the third grade, she’s finally on the school’s robotics team, as well as in the honors choir and running club.
As a 4-H member, Allyson became enamored with raising chickens, quickly followed by the small garden project. Allyson said she enjoys being a 4-H member, because “I like learning about more things.”
Allyson’s garden “was a lot of fun,” said her mother, April Lynn Scott. “Fun for myself, my children and the neighbors.”
Allyson’s 50-square-foot plot of land became a topic of conversation in the neighborhood. She did things a little differently; as part of her garden, she installed two wooden teepees for her vine crops — cucumbers, gourds and squash — to climb on.
Radish, turnips, peas, pole beans, corn and watermelons joined the crops she tried her hand at growing. When Allyson signed up for the small garden project, the 4-H provided her some seeds to get her started and a record book. She was required to keep records throughout the project season.
At the end of the competition, Allyson submitted her record book for review and had her garden judged. Her efforts found her receiving her 4-H horticulture pin and gardening tool kit in recognition of her accomplishment. Allyson keeps her gardening tool kit in a place of honor; she wants to keep her prize pristine.
Allyson said the garden was more fun than she thought it would be. “I like growing things,” she said. She also liked being able to eat what she grew.
Allyson planted everything she could get her hands on. She never met a seed packet she didn’t love.
Some things, like her attempt to grow carrots, didn’t work out. “She didn’t get the glory of pulling a carrot out of the ground,” her mom said.
After Allyson’s garden was judged, she immediately put in a pumpkin patch. Her goal was to grow a pumpkin for every child in the neighborhood for Halloween. That plan fell through, as she got the crop in the ground too late to have them ready to harvest for the holiday — but the orange globes are starting to expand.
Allyson, her mom said, learned what worked and what didn’t as her garden grew. She will put that knowledge to the test next spring when planting her next garden. Allyson said she isn’t giving up on getting a crop of carrots and having pumpkins ready to be turned into jack-o-lanterns in time for next Halloween.
Harvest, April Lynn said, was one of the new words Allyson learned through her work with the garden.
It became a learning experience for her three other children too, April Lynn explained.
She said it isn’t easy for her nine-year-old son Jason to eat a bean at the dining room table. This summer, he was out in the garden, pulling and eating pole beans right off the plant. Allyson’s garden was all-natural; you could pull something right off the plant and chew away without worrying about washing the chemicals off.
Allyson also began composting. Potatoes came out of the garden and into the kitchen. After preparing dinner, the potato peels go into the compost. She will be composting through the winter to be prepared for next spring’s planting.
It was a great project, April Lynn said, “4-H is a great program. I love to see my children learning.”

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