By Lynell Morgan, Co-Publisher
See full story in this week’s print copy of The Elgin Review
Elgin’s Cedar Creek 4H club really knows how to “produce” when it comes to vegetable gardens.
Five years ago, the 4H club was presented with a great opportunity. A plot of land was made available to them to use as a garden project. Five year’s later, what a garden it is becoming.
According to club member parents Lori Beckman, Diane Nelson, Anne Meis and Sandi Henn, it is a group project with the main purpose to provide vegetables for members to enter in the Antelope County Fair but it helps in more ways. The garden also provides produce for club members, their families and the community.
Last week, while members were busy hoeing, tilling, watering and using the old-fashioned method of getting down on their knees and pulling weeds, they took a break from work to share their experience of the garden.
“We’ve donated (produce) to the schools (St. Boniface Elementary School and Pope John XXIII Central Catholic) and the senior center,” explained Sandi Henn. In past year’s they have had an abundance of zucchini, cucumbers and tomatoes. Henn went on to explain that they try to work the garden about two hours a week, tilling and hoeing, trying to keep the weeds down and the plants well watered. For Henn, the garden is a looked-forward-to job. “I love it,” she said about working the garden.
This well-groomed garden had a rocky start this year. Anne Meis says that the potatoes were planted – on time – on Good Friday. They then were kind of ignored for a while.
“The first day out, I just — I said ‘I give up!’”, said Meis. Members Grace Henn, Amy Nelson and Erin Beckman shared their likes, and one common dislike, about the club project.
Grace names the variety in the garden as her favorite thing. “I like the different colored things,” she said, giving the example of the multi-colored carrots planted (orange, purple, yellow and white). “I also like taking the produce to the fair and just eating it.”
Amy also likes showing the produce at the fair plus, “I like taking some of it home. I like the different variety of things we plant”.
Along with the unique plants that the club has put in the garden – “I like the weird vegetables like kohlrabi”, Erin has a special connection to the garden. It is located on her late grandparent’s farm (Jerome Roth) and a section of it is her grandmother’s old garden area. “I thought, it’s like she’s still alive,” Erin said when heard of the plans to plant a garden in her grandmother’s old garden.
Onions, kale, zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes, okra, carrots, dill, rhubarb, beans, mini pumpkins, potatoes, sweet peppers, hot peppers — and that’s just some of what they have growing in their little piece of heaven.
With that list, you can imagine it takes quite a few hands to make this garden a success.
The club has members ranging in age from five to eighteen. While some club members don’t have time to help with the garden, when everyone who can help does help, things running quickly and smoothly. Club members currently involved with the garden project are Grace Henn, Amy Nelson, Erin Beckman, Landyn Veik, Michael Selting, Allison Selting, Elizabeth Selting, Jon Meis and Marie Meis.
Produce Available For The Public
As long as the weather continues to cooperate, the Cedar Creek club plans on having extra produce to share. If you are interested in some items out of their garden, please contact parents Anne Meis (402-843-2285) or Lori Beckman (402-843-0436). They will let you know what is currently available and make arrangements for pickup. Any monies donated to the club in return will be used for additional and/or replacement tools and items needed at the garden.