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Kids dig time spent with Master Gardeners

By Cindy Simpson

Peeking under leaves and digging in the dirt are all part of a day of fun for Evans Heights youth in Rockwood.


The Roane County Master Gardeners help the community’s children tend a thriving garden filled with a variety of produce from tomatoes and peppers to zucchini, pumpkins, Swiss chard, potatoes and chives.

The group, which recently built birdhouses during one session, is fondly called the Kids Garden Club.

“I call it the cool club,” said Heather Lawson. “I’ve been doing it ever since last year when they started.”

Heather said she makes sure to rarely miss a gathering.

“We started a garden up at my house,” she enthused.

The children have surprisingly diverse palates. They’re not adverse to veggies, as many a picky young eater is.

“I like planting things and watching them grow from what we planted,” said one boy, who said peppers are his favorite.

April Hart said she is growing pumpkins and looks forward to taking some home to make pumpkin pies.

Master Gardener member Lisa Deutsch said her group is trying to to give the children something to do while educating them on keeping a garden and eating healthy.

“They plant everything,” she said. “They work all through the summer tending the garden. We come once a week. They harvest the vegetables.

They have been having salads and things for lunch at the Kid’s Cafe,” Deutsch said.

Visitors have included Grant

Palmer with the University of Tennessee Extension Office, who talked to them about insects.

“We got to catch insects and show him, and he told us what they are,” Heather said.

The birdhouse construction brought a large turnout including Wilson brothers: Julian, Aaron and Justin.

“Ever since they found out they were going to build a birdhouse, they were going to build them for the neighbors,” said the boys’ mother, Kelly.

“Justin said he was going to build a condo for Ms. Rose.”

The children were supervised in the use of hammers and power tools for the birdhouses, which they took home.

The club is getting ready to start fall planting.