Three shifts of students sampled vegetables under the watchful tutelage of a master gardener, others picked the final bounty of the garden, while a third group got to take a “way cool” (as it was described) tour of the old lighthouse, including the living areas that was home for the first lighthouse keeper. It was a short stay, as the history books reveal.
Anyway, back at the garden…children picked some late bloomers including spinach, kate, lettuce, onions, 1 carrot, celery, green onions, potatoes and mini-pumpkins.
An earlier harvest saw much the same production but more carrots, radishes, artichokes and zuccini. As the children cycled through their horticultural, sampling and scanning the horizon duties, some master gardeners were pinching themselves in amazement that the children’s garden (with proceeds to Lincoln County Food Share) is nearly 20 years old. Next year will be year 20.
Originally concocted by Park Ranger Mike Rivers, with some collateral involvement of an Eagle Scout project, Rivers wanted children to be exposed to the very real methods of raising nutritiously healthy fresh fruits and vegetables. The idea caught on with the master gardeners and the rest, as they say, became history. The seeds are planted in starting cups (for most vegetables), raised in a greenhouse on the Sam Case School grounds. When the plants get mature enough they can be transplanted to the lighthouse garden.
Select pieces of carrots, celery, kale, lettuce, green onions and other tasty treats were given to each shift of children as they rumbled through. They were each asked to notice the shape, texture and the smell of small pieces in front of them. Most of the children seemed surprised at how fresh vegetables taste and how fun they are to eat raw.
Master Gardener Sonja Lovas said after the last harvest, they prepare the soil beds for the winter, mixing in lime and other soil amendments to ensure that when spring comes, the dirt will be ready for another wonderful growing season and harvest at the end.
Master Gardener Liz Olsen said next year’s 20th anniversary of the Old Lighthouse Garden will no doubt offer unique and instructive opportunities to continue educating our children and exposing them to the benefits of healthier eating which including what grows in a real live garden.