|Over 500 Youth Participate in Dallas Co. JMG Program|
Martin Middle School Students Practice Plasticulture
Dallas County and Selma are seeing great things with the Junior Master Gardener program. During March of 2010, a successful Junior Master Gardener Workshop was held at Central Alabama Farmers Co-op in Selma. Twenty-three volunteers received training and eventually, in turn, taught Junior Master Gardener Programming to over 500 area youth. One of the volunteers was Susan Wood.
"Susan Wood is one of the many Junior Master Gardener volunteers who work everyday to change the lives of many of Alabama’s youth," stated John Hoomes, 4-H Regional Extension Agent.
Susan has taught the gifted class at Martin Middle School for many years. Martin Middle School is part of the Dallas County School System and is located just north of Selma in Valley Grande. The school is made up of about 330 seventh and eighth graders. The main JMG project of Susan’s class is a school garden. Susan mentioned the importance of school gardens in her curriculum and how the kids enjoy the alternative learning activity.
The school garden at Martin Middle School is a 100-square-foot plasticulture garden. Plasticulture, according to the American Society of Plasticulture, is the use of plastics in agriculture. In this school garden, plastic mulch is used to help reduce weeds, regulate soil temperatures and help retain soil moisture. The plastic is only used on the planted rows. Paths between the rows still have to be maintained to reduce the amount of weeds growing.
4-H Volunteer Susan Wood and her gifted class gathered on May 6 at the school garden with supplies in hand and with much excitement. After all, it was planting day, and an old 100-square-square plasti-culture garden was sure to provide challenges in many ways to the plans and aspirations of all in attendance. The warm weather made things somewhat uncomfortable, but everyone knew it was just another ingredient to the future success of the garden. Other ingredients had been donated by individuals, the school and Central Alabama Farmers Co-op in Selma.
There were many lessons about gardening learned that day by the Junior Master Gardeners, but, within two hours, the entire garden had been planted. Crops included sweet corn, okra, watermelon and pumpkins. Over the next four months, there was a bountiful harvest and even enough to share with the community.
Luci Davis is the State Junior Master Gardener Coordinator. For more information on the program, phone (334) 703-7509.