Earlier this spring, the Parks and Recreation department hosted a first-of-its-kind program at the City of Wilmington’s greenhouse facility. The five-week class gave homeschool students hands-on experience in horticulture.
“We teach them how to grow seeds, and then we step them up each week, and we allow the kids to see the progression of the plants,” said City of Wilmington horticulturist Jerry Bell.
Approximately 20 kids participated in the inaugural course, learning how to grow a variety of vegetables and flowers. Each week they monitored the progress, moving the seedlings to larger containers when necessary.
“We grew carrots, radishes, 17 of the 20 kids got to try sugar snap peas for the first time and most of them loved them,” Bell said. “That was probably the most enjoyable part, was letting them see what they started, what it would do when it came to fruition.”
At the end, each student got to take home a pollinator kit, a flower pot, and vegetable plants that they can continue to grow throughout the season.
“What we want to do is give the kids enough knowledge so that they can go home at the end of this program and show how to start seeds and flowers and vegetables for their parents at home,” Bell said. “Just to be able to enjoy nature, and hopefully open up young minds to horticulture.,” Bell said.
This course was made possible thanks to the teamwork of Jerry Bell, Will Garrabrant, Robbie Icard, and John Whitaker, under the supervision of Amy Beatty and Ron McMillan.
Based on positive feedback, the City of Wilmington is exploring options to continue the program in the future.