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Kids plant seedlings at library program
CRYSTAL SPRINGS -- Books are just one of the things children at the Crystal Springs Public Library are digging into during June. Soil is on their lists, too.
Kids enrolled in the Dig into Reading-themed summer library program recently got a lesson on plants from specialists at Mississippi State University’s Truck Crops Branch Experiment Station.
Rick Snyder, Extension vegetable specialist and researcher with the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, gave the 80 children in attendance a basic explanation of photosynthesis and plant nutrition before guiding them to planting stations. MSU employees helped the children plant their own watermelon and sunflower seedlings to take home.
“Gardening has the potential to open their eyes to a whole new world,” Snyder said. “Children who raise vegetables are much more likely to eat those vegetables and continue to grow vegetables as adults. We hope today will spark an interest in gardening for them and help encourage healthy eating.”
Snyder said the watermelon and sunflower seedlings will be ready for transplanting in two to three weeks and should bloom soon thereafter.
The event was the second of four scheduled hands-on library programs that drive home the program’s theme.
“Bringing the children to the experiment station to learn about gardening is a perfect fit,” said Gwen Gallman, librarian at J.T. Biggs Jr. Memorial Library in Crystal Springs. “I immediately thought of Rick and the staff here at the station when I found out this year’s theme. It’s a great experience for the kids, and they can be actively involved in growing their plants all summer.”
Christopher McGowan said he enjoys gardening and helps his mom with her flowers and vegetables.
“I like to dig in the dirt and watch everything grow,” he said.
Gallman said 150 children are enrolled in this year’s summer reading program. Children in each of five age groups receive rewards for the most books read at the end of the program.