Kids to plant kitchen gardens with Habitat for Humanity homeowners

COLLEGE STATION — A group of youngsters will team with Habitat for Humanity Oct. 5 to plant a “kitchen garden” in the backyards of two homes in Bryan.

The Junior Master Gardeners 4-H club will work with Habitat homeowners to build and plant 4-foot-by-8-foot beds, organizers said.

“We piloted a successful service project last year with Habitat for Humanity,” said Randy Seagraves, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service’s Junior Master Gardeners curriculum coordinator. “The group learned about, planned, solicited support and installed a Habitat Home Kitchen Garden for a homeowner in Bryan. It proved to be a such a worthwhile experience that we are installing two gardens this year.”

Habitat for Humanity officials noted that “Americans’ diets, particularly those of low-income households, fall short of recommendations in the quantity of fruits and vegetables consumed.”

(Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo by Bill Watson)

(Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo by Bill Watson)

“The long term health impact of diets lacking nutrition is significant,” said Ryan Pierce, Habitat for Humanity director of communications in Bryan. “Some primary reasons why people do not choose to include more fruits and vegetables with meals include lack of availability, cost, personal preference or a lack of understanding of our nutritional needs. A garden in the backyard can resolve many of those issues.”

Research also shows that if a child has the experience of growing something in the garden, they are more likely to eat it and adopt it into their diet, Seagraves noted.

The cost of installing a fall kitchen garden, he said, is about $240. The crew uses pine boards and wood screws to build a box and fill it with about 10 bags of garden soil. Suitable vegetables for fall growth include broccoli, bok choy, cauliflower, kale, green onions, carrots, radishes, spinach, lettuce and swiss chard, he said. The plants typically begin yielding edibles produce within four weeks and can supply food for 10 weeks, Seagraves said.

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