Dirt doesn’t hurt

Local master gardeners cultivate youth into growers at Callaway Expo

Thomas Harris, 10, Millersburg, makes a hole — with a little help from Master Gardener Anna Offutt — for a plant in his bucket garden Friday afternoon at the Callaway Youth Expo.

Thomas Harris, 10, Millersburg, makes a hole — with a little help from Master Gardener Anna Offutt — for a plant in his bucket garden Friday afternoon at the Callaway Youth Expo. Photo by Katherine Cummins.

AUXVASSE — Children and adults alike had a good time playing in the dirt at the Callaway Youth Expo on Friday afternoon.

The Callaway Master Gardeners once again spent time teaching area youth the joys of gardening, helping them transplant various vegetables, herbs and flowers into buckets of soil to take home.

“I like playing in the dirt and watching kids grow things,” master gardener Anna Offutt said as she helped children dig holes for the plants — urging them to use their hands instead of the trowel.

The children Offutt was helping gave similar answers when asked what they enjoyed most about the activity.

“I liked the planting because you got to pick what plant you wanted and get dirty,” Thomas Harris, 10, of Millersburg said. “I picked a flower, lettuce and lemon balm — it’s what you make tea with — because I really like tea, and I had to get lettuce and I like flowers.”

His younger sister, Kirsten Harris, 6, said she picked lettuce, mint and a tomato plants “because they look better.”

“It smells really good, actually,” Kirsten said.

Whitney Ward, 14, said her favorite part of the the gardener’s tent was the planting because it reminded her of her grandmother, who has a big garden.

“I liked putting the rocks in the bucket — I just like a lot of rocks,” Whitney said.

Like Thomas, Lydia Casady, 9, of Auxvasse, said she enjoyed “the planting and getting in the dirt.”

Amelia Schweiss, 5, of Fulton said she wanted to do the gardeners’ activity “because I like it.”

“I like picking out the plants,” Amelia said.

Like Offutt, Susan Anderson of Fulton — who was helping the children water their newly-planted gardens — said her favorite part of representing the master gardeners at the expo was working with the children.

“I just love the kids — I’ve worked with kids for 30 years as a school nurse,” Anderson said.

Fellow master gardener Peter Sutter said he also was there because, “I like working with kids and I like gardening.”

“I enjoy just watching them get dirty,” Sutter said.

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