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Spring hopes eternal

Shelly Schultz, back, helps her daughter Megan, 7, and son Cole, 4, plant flowers in a mini-greenhouse Wednesday. Participants in a Berg's Nursery class for young gardeners took home flower and vegetable seeds for their own garden.

Mother Nature may be playing a trick on us this week, what with the snowfall and everything, but a small group of kids did their part to fight back on Wednesday, reminding us that spring does truly get warmer.

Children took part in the Veggie Tales Veggie Gardening Seminar at Berg's Nursery. The community education workshop for pre-school through fifth-graders was led by owner Randy Berg, who taught the kids tips for planting vegetables and flowers, and then showed them how to plan seeds.

"I was surprised at how much they would interact," Berg said of the kids. "Interaction is always fun."

Each child received a small Veggie Tales gardening kit, complete with six miniature planting pots, flower and vegetable seeds and even pumpkin seeds. The kit's label advertised the small amount of work needed to turn the seeds into beautiful plants: "Just add water and watch them grow!"

Berg told the kids about the differences between vegetables you buy in the grocery store and fresh ones you can grow in your own garden. The taste is different because products meant for the store are grown for how they will ship best, while garden vegetables are grown for taste.


Noah Zimmerman, 9, was eager to participate in the discussion since he has a garden at home.

"I like going and getting to pick the stuff," Zimmerman said.

Berg compared some vegetables that are related to each other, and also checked to see if the kids knew the relationships. For instance, a green pepper and jalapeno are related, just different varieties, and a tomato and eggplant are "cousins .... you'd never know it, though," Berg said.

He said he was also impressed with the knowledge the children have regarding gardening. He asked them what might be a cause of seeds not growing, and some chimed in by saying too much water or a lack of sun.

"It's really important not to water too much," Berg said.

Berg reminded them to make sure to check the seeds every day and give them the proper care by keeping them warm, and then they can be planted outside, along with the pumpkin seeds, when the weather cooperates a little more.

Children also learned that some vegetables, such as cabbage, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts, do better when the weather is colder.

As for the favorite flowers for the youngsters? Honeysuckle, daisies and bluebells were a few of the responses. Others also said they liked to grow carrots.


Toria Strampe, 8, helps out with the home garden every year. The big thing she learned from the seminar was that eggplants and tomatoes are related. Her favorite part of the afternoon? Planting the seeds.

"You get to grow them on your own," Strampe said.

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