• Kids Enjoy A Summer Garden at Simi Boys and Girls Club Despite the Drought - Monday, August 3, 2015 at

  • While the drought put a damper on many backyard gardens in summer, it didn't stop the enthusiasm for gardening by the kids in the garden club at Simi Valley Boys and Girls Club summer camp. Twice week, campers between the ages of six and 11 tended the small garden at the club, carefully using only enough water to keep the vegetables and fruit trees growing strong.

                The garden club planted watermelon, pumpkin, carrot, radish and squash seeds. Already sprouting are peppers, tomatoes, strawberries, potatoes plus newly planted apple and orange trees. The campers have also planted flowers that they will donate to the Simi Valley Senior Center.

                "The club is using the drought situation to teach the children about drought tolerant fruits and vegetables like Sugar Baby Watermelons and New Zealand Spinach," says Virginia Hayward, chief executive officer of the Boys and Girls Club. "Through California's water crisis we can teach our club members how to be responsible and caring individuals and how to adapt to certain circumstances. It's truly a wonderful program and the children love the hands on learning component."

                What do the young gardeners think of their handiwork? "It's awesome. I love to plant and watch things grow," says Juliette, age eight, who has been a Boys & Girls Club member for three years. "I can't wait until everything is ready to eat."

                A gardening club of Boys and Girls Club teens are responsible a portion of the garden. The club will continue to meet and garden through the fall.

                Agromin, the organics recycler for cities throughout Ventura County, donated the organic vegetable gardening mix for the Boys and Girls Club's eight garden boxes.

                "Tending an organic garden and enjoying the results of your hard work teaches responsibility, the value of healthy, chemical-free food and an appreciation of where our food comes from," says Bill Camarillo, Agromin CEO. "Hopefully, these will be lifelong lessons as we all strive for a more sustainable and environmentally-friendly future."

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