Finley Gardeners Excited To Harvest Vegetable Crops

ASES gardeners answer questions from teacher David Avila about their crops. The students have learned a lot about growing things and always look forward to eating their harvest.

Finley Gardeners Excited To Harvest Vegetable Crops

Third graders in the ASES program at Finley Elementary School look for ripe zucchini in their garden on Tuesday

As exciting as video games and music videos might be for kids, there’s a special kind of excitement they show when they’ve created something with their own hands. This was obvious by the attitudes of third grade gardeners as they harvested some of their crops at Finley Elementary School Tuesday afternoon.

The students in the ASES (After School Education and Safety) program are on their second set of crops, having planted radishes, beets and carrots for a late winter harvest.

Students in the afterschool program check the progress of their tomato plants. The tomatoes, along with most of the other vegetables, still have a while until they’re ready to pick.

“They were so excited when they pulled those radishes out of the ground,” said Ceci Mendez, who is guiding the students through the process of planting, care and harvest of the vegetables. While they could see the green leaves on top getting bigger, it was still hard to imaging there was something taking place underneath.
The current crop includes zucchini, tomatoes and a variety of peppers. Tuesday’s harvest was of zucchini, while the other vegetables still need a little more time to ripen.

David Avila, a teacher at Holtville Middle School, is the director of the local ASES program, and he stopped by earlier this week to see how things were progressing. When he asked the students what their favorite crop is, there was no doubt.

ASES gardeners answer questions from teacher David Avila about their crops. The students have learned a lot about growing things and always look forward to eating their harvest.

“Watermelon!” they all shouted. Even though the watermelon and cantaloupe vines still have weeks to go before they bear fruit, it is obvious what everyone is looking forward to eating. The third graders won’t have to worry about school finishing before their crops ripen either; ASES will run through summer school.

The program also includes cooking classes, and students are learning how to prepare some of their vegetables in meals as well. Mendez added that her students have actually taken the seed to plate concept a little further, collecting recyclables earlier this year to purchase their seeds, potting soil and other gardening supplies. The school’s PTO group also helped.

Ceci Mendez collects the young gardeners’ harvest in a basket as they make their way down the row.

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