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4-H gardening program taking registrations

Growing healthier youth 4-H style, the 4-H Children's Garden is in its fifth season and is taking registrations for the 2010 summer season.

The 4-H Children's Garden is for youth in first through third grades in Otter Tail County. The garden is in the shape of the four-leaf clover with four raised beds in the shape of an H, the trademarks of 4-H. It is located on the East Otter Tail County fairgrounds in Perham. Kids enrolled in the 4-H Children's Garden plan, plant, maintain and harvest their own garden plot. The University of Minnesota master gardeners, 4-H and community volunteers who love kids and gardening help assist and educate youth using their gardening experience. Meeting dates are Fridays from 9:30 a.m. to noon with the exception of May 21. On May 21 for kids, parents and volunteers, the time will be 5-7:30 p.m. The remaining dates are June 4, 11, 25, July 9, 30 and Aug 13 (9:30 a.m. to noon). There is a cost per child with a family maximum. Scholarship and fee waivers are available upon request.

The Junior Master Gardener Program for fourth- through sixth-graders that started three years ago is also taking enrollment for the upcoming growing season. These kids will learn team work as they work together planning, planting, maintaining and harvesting their garden plot which is also located at the fair grounds in Perham. They, too, will meet the same dates and time as youth in the 4-H Children's Garden. There is a cost.

Along with learning gardening skills, leadership and positive citizenship through engaging hands on activities, youth will be educated in healthy eating habits. Research has proven that youth who garden tend to eat healthier. With the ever-increasing obesity of youth in our culture, nutritional education is vital in helping kids make healthier choices. Likewise, with the economic uncertainty in these days gardening is one simple way families can take a bite out of the grocery bill and have fun doing it.

For more information or a registration form please contact the University of Minnesota Extension Office at (218) 385-5420. Registration deadline is May 10 and space is limited.