Growin' Gardeners

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Design, tend, and harvest your own pint-size garden plot in The Children’s Garden!

A skillful blend of award-winning curriculum and physical engagement strengthens each child’s bond with family and with the natural world. Topics will include insects, weeds, and plant biology. You’ll tend to your 4x4 garden plot after each short lesson! Staff and volunteers will be available to assist.

Cultivating Minds

Created to teach and empower families to garden and connect with their food, the Growin’ Gardeners program kicked off in 2003 with 10 family plots. Due to the program’s popularity, that number has since increased to 84 plots and now includes over 200 participants.

Starting every June, participating families are sent a packet with a plant list, which has a list of suitable vegetables and herbs, as well as guidance on vegetable garden design. Once plant selection and design are completed by families, they are returned and saved for planting day. The selected plants are grown at Dow Gardens’ greenhouse facility until ready for planting.

One-hour weekly classes are held throughout the program, where families learn skills such as how to plant, sow, thin seedlings, sucker tomatoes, and identify insects, and weeds. Following this, families are given responsibility for watering, weeding, insect monitoring, and harvesting during hands-on gardening time. In a provided class workbook, there is a place for the children to monitor weekly plant growth, learn 20+ plants common to the Mid-Michigan area and weekly reminders of garden chores. The workbook also summarizes key elements of the weekly classes and allows families to accomplish the lessons on their own time if needed.