Los Fresnos News

Youngsters at Sunny Glen Children’s Home take pride in garden they created

Youngsters at Sunny Glen Children’s Home in San Benito work hard to clear grass out of plot of land they decided to turn into a vegetable garden back in April. Photos: Ann Johnston / LFN


SAN BENITO – While you can learn to garden at all ages, experiencing it as a child gives you many years to enjoy gardening and learn from it.

A group of young gardeners at Sunny Glen Children’s Home in San Benito has been working hard since April to start a new garden plot. The youngsters, both boys and girls from ages 9 to 16, are now beginning to harvest their crops.

The group created a beautiful garden plot that is 35×60 feet in size, which is about triple the size of a single-car garage. The area was initially covered with mature grass that they had to remove completely with a small tractor.

They then used a tiller followed by everyone wielding a simple hoe.

A scarecrow and old compact discs are used to chase away birds that have threatened the garden.

Their gardening sponsor and mentor is very proud of their hard work and of how clean they got the plot. The children still keep the plot completely free of weeds since they appreciate the effort it took to get the garden started.

There have been some setbacks, however, particularly because of blackbirds that have raided the just-planted rows of corn seed. The birds seemed to know exactly where each seed is without having to scratch around to find them as if they have X-ray vision. So the young gardeners have employed several methods of fighting back.

Some of the young gardeners harvest black-eyed peas.

On their third attempt to plant corn, they covered the rows with netting. This helped. They also hung old CDs on strings around the garden to twist and flash in the wind. Finally, using recycled lumber from some old wooden gates to give it form, they constructed a large scarecrow with a hat and bright red shirt. All of the measures seem to be working well. One young man commented that “ nothing more has been eaten by the birds.”

The children have already been picking their okra, green beans and black-eyed peas. Their cucumbers have had a slow start, but show promise of a good crop. They also have yellow squash, watermelon and cantaloupe plus the corn.

Youngsters shuck, or shell, black-eyed peas that were recently harvested.

For variety and a little fun, some purple okra as well as regular green okra was planted. They are experimenting with a sweet orange watermelon, also.

Now, with pride of accomplishment from hard work, the garden group is truly enjoying the “fruits of their labors.”