Whiting Farm spring gardening includes children's program

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AUBURN — Whiting Farm is a working four-season farm dedicated to offering education, nutrition and enrichment for a population of diverse needs. The farm will host two gardening programs this spring.

The first is the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Volunteers Program training for Androscoggin and Sagadahoc counties, which will begin from 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 27, at the farm, 876 Summer St. The 16-week training will continue Tuesdays through May 15, then take a summer break, resuming Aug. 28 to Oct. 2.

The program will provide participants with at least 40 hours of in-depth training in the art and science of horticulture. Trainees will receive current, research-based information from UMaine Extension educators and industry experts. In return, trained Master Gardeners will volunteer their time and expertise for related activities in their communities. Gleaning at Whiting Farm during the harvest season is scheduled as one of the hands-on activities for trainees.

The $220 fee includes all materials; limited financial assistance is available. Apply online by Saturday, Feb. 17, at extension.umaine.edu/androscoggin-sagadahoc/master-gardener-volunteers. Accepted applicants will be notified by March 1.

For more information or to request a disability accommodation, contact [email protected] or 207-353-5550.

In April Whiting Farm will continue its annual Children’s Garden Program. The program is run by two Master Gardener Volunteers and is designed to encourage children to find the fun in gardening, while learning the importance of growing their own food.

The program will begin during April school vacation and continue through the growing and harvesting season, ending in October. During their time on the farm, children will participate in fun hands-on lessons, focused on topics such as seed germination, pollinators and pests of the garden, worms and their important role in soil health, raising and caring for chickens, companion planting and garden planning.

In May and June, participants will be welcomed back to the farm to care for their seedlings and to plant them in the Children’s Garden. During the growing season children and their families will be encouraged to participate in weekly afternoon gardening activities.

When harvesting time arrives participants will be invited to visit the garden to learn about harvesting techniques and pest management. They will harvest fresh vegetables from the Children’s Garden and Whiting Farm fields to take home to share with their families.

The children’s program will be held from 9 a.m. to noon and will be held Tuesday through Friday, April 17 to 20, open to children in grades one through four. The cost of the season-long program April to October is $150.

Registration information can be found on the Whiting Farm Facebook Events page or at https://whitingfarmjfmh.ticketspice.com/childrens-garden-program-2018 or call 207-777-5129.

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