Burlington--Interest in gardening has surged this summer with more people staying closer to home and looking for fun, healthy family activities.

To encourage kids and their families to grow food and eat together, University of Vermont (UVM) Extension 4-H has developed Eating What We Grow, an online bi-weekly gardening series that will run throughout the summer.

Each hour-long class will include a 20-minute presentation followed by an interactive Q & A session. Although geared to beginner gardeners, ages 9-14, the information and at-home activities will be of interest to both younger and older youths and adults. Links will be provided to more advanced gardening information for experienced gardeners and anyone wishing to explore a topic further.

Although free, pre-registration is required by the Monday prior to each week's session. To sign up, go to http://go.uvm.edu/4-h-garden-survey. All presentations will be recorded and archived for future reference.

Sessions will run from 10-11 a.m. on the following dates:

July 7: It's Not Too Late. The session will cover gardening basics, month-to-month gardening tasks and succession planting.

July 21: What Plants Eat and What Eats Plants. Viewers will learn about composting, soil building and how to identify and control common garden pests.

Aug. 4: Garden Neighbors. The focus will be on weeding, thinning, pruning and mulching and include easy-to-prepare vegetable recipes to try at home.

Aug. 18: This Year, Next Year--Planning and Preserving. Featured topics include harvesting vegetables to eat fresh or preserve, drying herbs and planning for next year's garden, including soil testing.

The sessions will be led by UVM Extension 4-H staff Liz Kenton, Martha Manning, Molly McFaun and Anthony Willey. To request a disability-related accommodation to participate, contact Rose Crossley at rose.crossley@uvm.edu or (866) 860-1382.

In addition to these four sessions, UVM Extension 4-H will maintain a resource and referral library, including a blog for youth gardeners called Kids in the Garden, to help them and their families grow, prepare, eat and preserve food. The blog can be viewed at http://go.uvm.edu/kids-in-the-garden. Interested gardeners also may join a private Facebook group for ongoing discussions at https://www.facebook.com/groups/vt4hgardening.


Mary Alice McFaun