As the “grown ups” set t-posts and put up fencing around the Market in the Park – GA community garden on the UK Extension farm, ten-year-old Kayleb became frustrated that he couldn’t help… Then, he found the most gloriously huge bug unlike anything he had seen before and was super-excited. His parents had come from their community garden site to assist at the Extension garden and were busy doing a huge part of the work of fencing.
I (gratefully) took a rest from setting posts and went into the garden with Kayleb to check out his find. It was a gloriously huge bug… Unfortunately, it was a gloriously huge potato bug… on a tomato plant. The plants were being taken over. Our Spinosad was on order, but had not yet arrived by that point. I knew Kayleb had proudly brought his gardening gloves with him, so I asked him to go put them on. He dashed off and was back, ready for action in only moments. I showed him how easy it was to knock the bugs off the leaves… then… the ultimate ten-year-old boy gratification… to stomp them soundly into the ground. He took on the task like a pro with cheers and encouragement coming from the adults working on the fence. He is now our official Bug Hunter.
Our Spinosad has since arrived, and I must admit I have experienced my own joy in watching those evil little Potato Bugs fall away… However, I think Kayleb and his skill set will continue to thrive in bug hunting! I love seeing kids get involved and finding ways in which they are contributing to the cultivating and maintaining of these gardens.