By Andrea Stone (Fort Carson)June 13, 2013
FORT CARSON, Colo. -- More than 15 children battled weeds that were nearly as tall as they were to start work in the Grow with Me Garden outside Balfour Beatty Communities' office June 7.
Their job was to pull as many weeds out of the garden boxes as possible.
"Right now, there are no plants in this garden that you can't pull," said Kris Spiller, LifeWorks coordinator for BBC. "Pull anything that's green, or red, orange, yellow, anything."
The program, which is in its second year, has proven popular, with 98 children signing up this year. After they sign up and receive a log book, they can work in the garden whenever they're able.
When the produce is harvested, it will be split between participants based on how much time they worked.
Some of the children weren't too eager to weed the beds.
"I'm waiting till we get to plant stuff, not pull stuff," said Cash Mercer, 9.
"I just want to plant the seeds," Samantha Like, 5, agreed.
"I like pulling out the weeds because me, my little brother and my mom all pulled out an entire box, and now we're working on another one," said Chloe Lock, 8.
Weeding isn't the only thing they'll learn over the summer. There will also be hands-on lessons in composting, planting, working the soil and harvesting. June 20 they will learn about how bugs can be beneficial for gardens, complete with a bug collection.
Ladybugs in the garden created moments of excitement, as did the discovery of a small strawberry growing from a plant from last year's garden.
As she pointed the strawberry out to the children, Spiller explained the process -- first a seed, then a green plant, a flower, a green strawberry and a red strawberry.
"I think a lot of people don't understand their food doesn't come out of a plastic box. We started this so they could see where their food comes from," Spiller said.
Soon the beds will be clear of weeds and ready for planting some of the 300 packets of seeds donated by Burpee. They plan to grow tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, sunflowers, watermelons, peas and beans.
The program, which will be ongoing through the summer, is open to children 3 to 17 who live in Fort Carson Family Housing.
The garden is irrigated, but is in compliance with post watering restrictions, Spiller said.