Starting over, starting fresh: Preparations are underway for planting at Dig It Kingman Community Garden’s Children’s Garden
The planting of the Children’s Garden at Dig It Kingman Community Gardens was canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but will resume this year on Friday, April 9. It is set to include multiple fun and educational activities for families and their children.
Andrea Penn is in charge of events at the Children’s Garden, and said she is excited to bring it back in 2021 after planting didn’t take place in 2020.
“It’s just refreshing,” she said. “It’s a whole wipe away the old and in with the new, whatever the new may be. It’s just kind of starting over, starting fresh. What the garden is doing with the kids is teaching a whole new group of kids skills for life.”
But starting fresh took a lot of work for volunteers at the gardens.
“We had to get the ground ready because it wasn’t planted last year,” Penn explained. “We had to make the ground usable.”
That entailed adding manure courtesy of Alpacas of the Southwest and the Mohave County Fairgrounds, and leaves from local landscaping companies to soften up the ground. From there a rototiller was brought in, which was followed by a “tremendous amount” of irrigation work.
“When you take a year off it’s hard to get everything back,” Penn said, expressing her gratitude to volunteers, local companies and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints leadership for their contributions.
Penn then began deciding what children would be planting on Friday. Planned fruits and vegetables include corn, carrots, tomatoes, green peppers, watermelon, beans, squash, strawberries and raspberries.
“We really are trying to hit everything that we know kids like,” Penn said.
Friday’s planting will begin at approximately 11 a.m. at the gardens, 2301 Lillie Ave. The event will begin with a story time, which will feature “We Are the Gardeners” by Joanna Gaines. Kids will then be split into two groups, with one starting at a crafts station while the other plants.
For the craft, Penn said kids will plant a bean plant that they will be able to take home and watch grow. She also said performers from Beale Street Theater may be present in costume as well, along with goats and chickens.
Penn is expecting 30 to 50 participants Friday, and hopes to see many of them return to the garden to keep tabs on their plants. She would also like to see some of those plants entered into the Mohave County Fair by their planters.
“I would like the kids to come back, and I would like them to be able to get some of their plantings when they’re ready,” she said. “If they planted it, they’d have first dibs when it’s ready.”
In the event that doesn’t happen and the gardens have an excess of fruits and vegetables, they are donated to the new veterans housing complex on Hualapai Mountain Road and the Kingman Area Food Bank.
“Everything we do is really just a teaching moment to patience, to sharing, communicating and working with others,” Penn said. “Everything about it is a learning skill.”
Penn is always amazed when she takes kids on tours of the gardens, as the children themselves are “fascinated” to see how their favorite foods grow. Planted broccoli, she said, has been known to wow kids in the past.
Those interested in attending Friday’s event are asked to RSVP on the organization’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/digitkingman.
“Anything you can do with your kids to learn is a fun activity, and to get outside, just get outside and enjoy what we naturally have here in Arizona, is nice,” Penn said.
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