Summer garden for kids

Activity in the Rapid City Children's Garden Project - 2013

Mary Hercher, Master Gardener and co-leader with Cathy Robeson, of the activities and programs in the Rapid City Children's Garden, part of the Educational Garden sponsored and developed by the Rapid City Garden Club, writes the follow summary of gardening activities at mid-summer:

  • The scarlet beans and the peas are blossoming, carrots are growing, the thrips ate our nasturtium, the corn is getting tall, onions are ready to pull, pumpkins are vining out, the sunflowers are reaching for the sky, and the zucchini and cucumber vines are looking good. 
  • We had some hail damage, but think the plants will heal themselves. The leaf lettuce has been harvested; we all took some home for sandwiches and salads. We look forward to the giant pumpkin harvest. 
  • We are working on fencing this area to keep the deer out. The ultimate goal of this project is that the children will plant, monitor growth, and harvest and consume what they grow. It is a success!


But the real magic occurs every other Monday when the children and volunteers arrive for a morning in the garden. We are all back for our 4th year of the Children in the Garden Project. We have been working hard and having fun along the way.

On June 10, we planted our vegetable seeds. And, yes, we were late getting them into the ground, but all have sprouted and are growing and flourishing in our garden. The weeds are growing as well, so we spend about 15 minutes each time we visit the garden in a race to fill our ice cream weed buckets with all the weeds we can find. And we find a lot!

We have learned about seeds while disecting a soaked lima bean seed to find the baby plant that lives inside. We found the root, stem and first true leaves of the baby plant. A scavenger hunt had us matching the seeds we planted to the sprouts in the garden. Giant rhubarb leaves helped us to learn about leaf parts and the function of the leaf as a food factory for the plant. We then went on a leaf hunt to find 5 leaves. We enjoyed making leaf rubbings of the found leaves--the rubbings were lovely. There are many different kinds of leaves for us to notice the next time we are the garden. Observation is a valuable gardening tool.

Mary Roduner’s, SDSU Consumer Horticulture Field Specialist, brought her insect collection, and with her stories and hands-on insect gathering activity will have us all looking at garden bugs in a new way! Mary Roduner, in addition to being the Consumer Horticultural Field Specialist is also an entomologist. She helped us to learn about the good and not so good bugs that may live in our garden. We learned how to sweep for bugs and had fun discovering what we had captured in our bug nets. A variety of insects found their way into our nets: lady bugs and their larval form, damsel fly, spiders, ants, hover fly, aphids, grasshoppers, a leaf hopper, and some that flew away before they were identified. It was great fun for all involved.

Gardening does require work and effort. It is equally important to remember to stop, enjoy the beauty of the garden and to have some fun in the garden along the way.


The following photographs, taken by Mary Hercher, show the activities the day Mary Roduner came to teach the children how to sweep for insects and how to observe and study them.

Sweeping for bugs

Look what we found!

Look out, bugs, here we come!






How To Store Potatoes For 20-Plus Years

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If 20 years sounds like a long time to store potatoes, then it might surprise you to know that “fresh” potatoes in the grocery store are often 11 months old when you buy them. Modern developments in commercial food storage allow growers to store produce with a chemical (1-methylcyclopropene), which extends the shelf life of vegetables.


Of course, fresh potatoes won’t last 20 years, but you can dehydrate them to get that kind of long-term shelf life while maintaining nutritional value.

Now save carrots for 20 years with a dehydrator