Learning from their elders

Beltrone residents teach Shaker kids

Look at these kids

Look at these kids Photo by Andrew Beam.

Audio clip

Malta Song

— It was over 90 degrees on Friday, July 22, but that didn’t stop students from the Shaker High School Summer Program from traveling to the Beltrone Living Center to pick up a few tips from the Gardening Club to help manage their own community garden.

The students heard from Beltrone residents, including John Diggs, about the importance of patience when it comes to gardening.

“You can’t just put the seed in and think tomorrow you’re going to have a vegetable,” he said, standing next to his raised garden bed. “You have to have patience and follow through. You can’t just throw the seed in and walk away. They want care.”

He then began clawing around the soil to provide more air for the seed and picked at the weeds that could potentially choke out the growing plant. He also told the kids about the reward of actually watching their plants grow. If they’re tending to a vegetable garden like his, there’s even another added bonus.

“At the end, guess what? You get to eat them,” he said. “No preservatives and you did it.”

Diggs said gardening isn’t something that is forced upon him, it is something he chooses to do, which makes it all the more fun. When he had his own house, he said he tended to his own garden in his backyard, and as kid, he said he used to sell vegetables with his family as a way to get some pocket change.

He said he comes out when the sun is setting to water his plants. This is important for gardening because if you water the plants while the sun is out, it will take the moisture away. It is a relaxing hobby for him, though, and teaching the children about it is something Diggs said he enjoys.

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