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Plant a Seed Day Celebration gets youngsters involved

By Susan Shinn Turner

Smart Start Rowan

Springtime is the time we plant flowers, along with seeds that turn into good things to eat.

Children ages 5 and under learned about the process of planting seeds from Rowan County’s Master Gardeners during the inaugural Plant a Seed Day Celebration on March 7 at Smart Start Rowan.

Besides the Master Gardeners who volunteered their time, Chelsea Childers, children’s outreach program supervisor at Rowan Public Library, kicked off the 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. sessions with songs and a story. Each of the 13 children who attended received a free book in English (“Little Sunflower”) or in English and Spanish (“Lola Plants a Garden”).

Childers sang a variety of songs, including the ABC Song — once in English, once in Spanish, and once backward. If you’ve never tried it backward, it’s harder than it sounds.

Master Gardeners Debbie Scott, Kim Curlee, Sue McHugh, and Pam Frame made basil seed necklaces for the children. They wet cotton balls, then placed tiny basil seeds on them, then put both in miniature plastic bags. The women threaded ribbons through the bags that children could wear to keep warm. After a few days — voila! — the basil would sprout and could be put in peat cups and planted.

The women brought along a small tray of basil leaves that the children could smell. Curlee said that basil could be used in making spaghetti and pizza, both foods that children typically love to eat.

Curlee also showed children how black-eyed peas were planted.

“If you look at a black-eyed pea,” she said, “it is hard as a rock. But if you drop it in water for a while and take it out and put it in a plain baggie and put it in the fridge for three or four days, now it’s got a sprout. It will split wide open, and be nice and soft and ready to put in the dirt. With dirt and water and sunshine, a plant comes up.”

Anabel Melgar brought her sons Jordyn, 4, and Jaxon, 1, to the event.

“I’ve been seeing this on the facebook page,” she said. “We were actually headed to the library, and I remembered this. I’m always looking for things for them to do.”

Carolyn Ennis also follows Smart Start Rowan’s Facebook page. She brings her daughter Tallulah, 4, to programs here.

“It’s always a good time,” she said. “We try to do everything we can for enrichment and fun.”

Jeanne LeMaster brought her granddaughter, Lov Villamil, 3, to the event. LeMaster is also a Smart Start Rowan board member.

Fe Goodman has been bringing her daughter, Sofia, 4, to play groups sponsored by Smart Start Rowan for the past year.

“We come here at least once a week to play and borrow materials,” she said.

“Our Plant A Seed Day Celebration was in recognition of National Plant A Seed Day on March 19,” said Shurna Rabsatt, Smart Start Rowan’s family support program lead. “National Plant A Seed Day was created to inspire millions of families around the country to take a purposeful action toward a healthier future by planting a seed. Smart Start Rowan was excited to be a part of this community-wide movement. We were grateful to see the families who came out to celebrate with us. We are looking forward to seeing more families next year as we are planning for an even larger event.”

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