19 April 2013

Welcoming Spring with the Kids Grow Club – It’s Germination Time!


The Kids Grow Club members prepare their "pets" for germination.
They'll need lots of water and sunlight in order to sprout!
It’s hard to believe that the Kids Grow Club is in its 18th year this year... the original members must be graduated from high school and possibly even college by now!  For a business whose owners both have young kids (and who used to run around the garden center themselves), seeing kids interested and engaged with plants is just plain awesome.  Sue started the Kids Grow Club to encourage a love of gardening in the youngest part of our population, and we had 21 members attend our April 6 meeting.  Sadly, Beth, who had taken point on the Grow Club in the past, is moving to Maine and wasn’t able to run this meeting.  On the other hand, it gave Holly and Sue the chance to channel their “inner-green-thumbs” and lead the meeting!

Bobo, the Garden Center's pet,
has some pretty lustrous locks.
Without getting too corny, germination is always something of a miracle – through the snow and mud of late winter (finally) come the springtime shoots of bright green – and we covered the basics from seed to seedling.  The kids examined the inside of a seed, and toured the greenhouse to check out seeds, shoots and plants in all the early stages of germination and growth.  Then they created what will soon be a gorgeous planter by each ever-so-carefully planting a seedling.  We've got the planter on display so they (and you!) can visit it over the summer as it blooms and grows.

Audrey and Puss, just a couple of
weeks after the Grow Club meeting!
Then the kids learned how to take care of their new "pets," whose heads have already germinated and are starting to sprout a thick crop of grass "hair.”  Audrey clearly remembered the basics of germination (water and sunlight!); check out the picture of her and her pet “Puss” to the left!  For as loud as they were determining what pet to take care of (will it be the dog or cat, or a little more unconventional with the pig or monkey?) and what color markers to use on their germination worksheets, you can't imagine how careful the kids were with the fragile seedlings at planting time.  They all seemed to have a laser-sharp focus on being as gentle as possible with the fragile little sprouts.  And they were excited to use Grandpa Van Putte’s antique dibble to plant their seedlings.  The next meeting is in July at the Greece Public Library and we’ll be learning all about butterflies… our busy season is just starting to ramp up at the garden center and lots will happen between now and then, but we’re all looking forward to seeing the little Green Thumbs in action again in a couple months!
The Grow Club seedlings are coming along nicely!
Grandpa Van Putte's antique dibble
(a planting tool).



(If you know a child age 5-12 who would like to join the Kids Grow Club, membership is free and they can join by visiting Van Putte Garden Center and asking a member of the staff, or by downloading the application here and dropping it off or emailing it to Sue.)