BY EMILY HAYNE
As the Mahtomedi Community Garden education intern I work with a number of master gardeners as well as beginning gardeners throughout the summer. At the District Education Center I had 12 excited young summer Mahtomedi Adventure Camp (MAC) kids plant a variety of plants: tomatoes, peppers, onions, brussel sprouts, eggplant, strawberries, lettuce, and more in the community garden. Even though the young gardeners wish to take these plants home with them, we will instead harvest the fruits and vegetables and donate them to the area food shelf. There are also six pots located in front of the DEC building. Here we have vegetables as well as herbs such as cilantro, basil, and oregano. These pots will provide a wonderful variety of vegetables for the MAC garden club. Later this summer we will attempt to make a few food dishes such as salsa.
I am also working at O.H. Anderson MAC this summer. In May we planted sweet corn, snap peas, carrots, tomatoes, peppers, and a variety of herbs. Since then I have joined the O.H.A. MAC gardeners on Mondays, and I teach them not only about gardening but our surrounding environment. I have prepared lessons that focus on the animal food chain, insects, soil samples, tree growth, and more. While these lessons have been fairly scientific, I am introducing the gardeners to environmental art. This week we will be gathering organic material such as twigs, leaves, rocks and pine cones to create beautiful displays in the prairie and surrounding forest. For the remainder of the summer the MAC garden club will focus on native and invasive species, environmental career exploration, and nutrition followed by a cooking class and gardening picnic celebration. It has been a wonderful experience working with curious students who enjoy gardening and learning about the natural environment.