A nine-week program to turn area youth into green thumbs began Thursday at the county’s community garden.

“Garden ’N Grow” was launched by University Extension in Texas County, and it involves children ages 9 to 13 who will learn gardening, math and science skills.

Late last week children were sticking plants and seeds in the dirt at the garden site, which is east of Mercy Clinic in Houston. The offering is being taught with participants in the Houston Optimist Club summer program.

For two hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays for nine weeks the youngsters will experiment with plants, learn what makes them grow, detect between good and bad bugs and even figure out what is a plant and weed.

They’ll also learn about nutritional components associated with the different vegetables they will grow.

The goals of the Garden ’N Grow program are to experience the fun of gardening, to enjoy a feeling of success and to have the satisfaction of sharing harvested food with others in need. Vegetables harvested from the gardens are for home use and donations to local food agencies, such as the Texas County Food Pantry on East Highway 17.

To learn more, check http://plantsci.missouri.edu/gng.

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