There’s nothing like time in the garden. You get to spend time outdoors, play in the dirt and see your hard work grow before your eyes. Sometimes, you even get to eat the fruits (and vegetables) of your labors.
The children who attend the Eides Family J-Space After School Program experience some of this in the courtyard outside J-Fitness at the Dwares Jewish Community Center in Providence.
One day recently, The Voice went along as the kindergarten through fifth-graders harvested seeds from the sunflowers in the garden. You may think those sunflowers are ready to chop down when the petals fall off and the centers turn black. But as Shannon Kochanek, director of after school and vacation camps, explained to the group, that’s when it’s time to dig out the seeds.
It takes quite a while and a lot of concentration to pull out those tiny seeds from their honeycomb-like casing. We agreed that it’s probably easier for birds because of their sharp, pointed beaks. The seeds went into a bowl to be roasted later.
The young gardeners also got to taste freshly picked cucumbers and tomatoes from the garden, which also has basil.
Experiences in the garden are a regular part of the J-Space program, which features a plot in the Sessions Street Community Garden and two greenhouses outside J-Fitness that get use during the cold weather.
FRAN OSTENDORF (email@example.com) is the editor of The Jewish Voice.