Youth Master Gardener Program
Georgetown Optimist Club
8260 State Road 64, Georgetown, IN
An important mission of the Sunnyside Master Gardeners is to develop a new generation of citizens who understand and value gardening in both private and public spaces.
The Youth Master Gardener Program was started in June, 2002, at Community Park in New Albany and moved to Georgetown in 2004, teaching children how to grow flowers and vegetables. The class schedule covers topics such as soils, plant growth and development, insects, ecology and the environment, annuals and perennials, fruits and nuts, and herbs and vegetables. Each of these topics is supplemented with hands-on activities. Each child has the opportunity to plant in half of a 4’ X 18’ raised bed, constructed by the Sunnyside Master Gardeners.
The adjacent butterfly garden is used to demonstrate various plants and insects. Kids plant, weed, and harvest—learning that vegetables come from the ground, not from the supermarket. The classes are held Monday mornings in June and July, plus an early planting day in May. In 2009, the program won awards from the National Gardening Association and Purdue University.
During 2010 and 2011 an irrigation system was installed by Master Gardeners with the funds awarded by the NGA and Home Depot. In 2013 a three-section concrete compost bin was installed to keep the area tidy and to teach the youth gardeners the value of composting garden waste. Over the years, produce from a specially designated "Community Bed" has been donated to the Youth Detention Facilities.