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Hannibal Courier - Post - Hannibal, MO
  • A jump on spring: Oakwood students help plant seeds for community garden

  • Although the calendar says spring is just over a week away, more often than not it’s felt like winter. The cold weather hasn’t dampened the enthusiasm of Jessie Dryden, Common Ground Community Garden project developer, from wanting to prepare for the upcoming growing season. On Tuesday, Dryden had help from Oakwood Elementary School second graders, who planted an assortment of seeds in containers.
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  • Although the calendar says spring is just over a week away, more often than not it’s felt like winter. The cold weather hasn’t dampened the enthusiasm of Jessie Dryden, Common Ground Community Garden project developer, from wanting to prepare for the upcoming growing season. On Tuesday, Dryden had help from Oakwood Elementary School second graders, who planted an assortment of seeds in containers.
    According to Dryden, students planted seeds that will produce flowers, herbs or vegetables. The twist to Tuesday’s planting was that Dryden didn’t tell her helpers exactly what they were putting in small pots filled with black dirt.
    “It’s a little game,” she said. “As the plants grow they’ll be encouraged to observe them and guess what they are. Hopefully they’ll continue to watch them through the summer.”
    Dryden is hopeful that as the young students watch the seeds they will come to “realize the importance of patience” when gardening.
    One of Dryden’s other objectives is to show youngsters that there’s no magic to growing a garden.
    “I want to show them it’s not rocket science,” she said with a laugh. “People have done this – planting seeds and nurturing them - for generations.”
    According to Dryden, the time is right to begin planting seeds.
    “Plants that grow from seeds need to start growing now so that they’re big enough to endure the weather once they’re planted outside,” she said. “This will be about the right amount of time.”
    Tuesday’s plantings are scheduled to be re-planted at the Community Garden (322 S. Eighth St.) on Saturday, May 17. Dryden is hopeful that many of the students taking part in Tuesday’s planting will be on hand with their families for the re-planting.
    “I encourage everyone to come down and plant that day,” said Dryden.
    A social engineer and volunteer activist who is partnering with the Hannibal Parks and Recreation Department on the community garden project, Dryden plans on turning the re-planting event into a “mini organic gardening workshop.”
    “As people gain knowledge and confidence hopefully they will start growing their own food,” she said.
     
    Teamwork
     
    Tuesday’s planting was the culmination of a team effort. Families and Communities Together (FACT) provided “everything you would need for seed growing,” according to Dryden.
    “It was an awesome donation,” she said. “It was such a big blessing. It will help us next year and maybe even the year after that.”
    Page 2 of 2 - This winter Dryden extended an invitation to schools to participate in the planting.
    “Oakwood was the first to step up,” she said. “I was contacted by one teacher (Terra Murphy) who said other second grade teachers might be interested, too.”
    All totaled seven classes will be assisting in the planting.
    “This is a tremendous opportunity and blessing,” said Dryden. “I hope this catches on and more people want to participate in the future.”
    Dryden would love to see schools begin planting their own gardens on site.
    “I would love to show them how to create a garden without spending a lot,” she said.

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