Lil’ Gardeners

the kids at Lily Pad Lab have a small plot in the Southside Community garden

Eric Rasmussen

Apparently 14 hours of television a day no longer makes for a constructive summer, so community kids and parents are thankful that the Lily Pad Lab has teamed up with the Southside Community Gardens to host several classes.

Vanessa Moessner, owner of the Lily Pad Lab, explains that the opportunity arose because of the Lab’s connection with Mayo Clinic Health System, a supporter of both Lily Pad events and the UW-Extension-founded gardens in Fairfax Park.

“We are always looking for new and creative ways to work together to promote healthy eating and living to young families,” she said.

Three different classes will cover the growing season. First is the Tiny Scientists Plant Lab, where 2-6 year olds will start seedlings and learn about soil and compost. Then the K-4th graders take over in mid-June to handle the manual labor, like weeding and watering, while learning about construction, tracking plant growth, and testing other garden variables. Harvest season will welcome kids of all ages and their families to finish the cultivating and help with the harvesting.

Regardless of when young gardeners join the effort, Moessner has prepared an experience that will make it easy to abandon the TV, get outside, and take ownership of their own healthy eating.

“The secret is to let them help and feel important in caring for the plants and to let go of the neatness and orderliness,” she said. “The veggies still taste great even if they are not planted in neat rows!”

Visit for more information on Tiny Scientists – Plant Lab, STEM Garden Club, and Kids in the Garden classes.

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