2016 SPROUTS & SPUD BUDS Registration

Spring will be peeking out from behind the budding shrubs before we know it and it will be time to get our Sprouts and Spud Buds back in the soil again! If you'd like a head-start read the information below and contact us if you have any questions. The children's gardening programs will begin in May and continue throughout the summer and early fall. We'll be meeting twice a week to plan and plant the gardeners' individual gardens and the common gardens. In addition to an in-depth organic gardening curriculum, the gardeners will have lessons that integrate art, nutrition, cooking, careers, and more, into the garden setting.

Registration for returning gardeners will close on April 3, 2016. Registration for new gardeners will begin on April 4
: children within walking distance of Eastside Community Garden (see maps) will have first priority and then other interested kids will be offered places based on their position on the waiting list. If you haven't gardened with us before but would like to join either Sprouts (7-9), Spud Buds (10-14) or Solanum Tuberosum (15 and up)  please call the IFCGA at 524-0383 or email us at growifcga@gmail.com. We will put your child's name on the list and notify you when a space is available.

As in previous years the gardeners will meet 2 times/week. Our classes will probably be held on Monday and Thursday afternoons when school is in session and then Monday and Thursday mornings the rest of the time (the final decision takes into account our volunteers schedules - we will finalize by early April). Harvest Festival, our culminating activity, is scheduled for Saturday, September 10 (weather permitting).  Final schedules will come with your registration forms. The cost for the full season is $65. For more details see the information below.



The SPROUTS program is a fun and educational program designed to teach kids the basic concepts for growing a beautiful and productive organic garden.  There are lessons and hands-on experience with everything from planting to harvesting: vegetable and flower varieties, garden planning, seed planting, good watering practices, weed and insect identification, composting and soil building, nutrition, safe tool use, food chains and life cycles, and more. The children learn fun and nutritional ways to enjoy the fruits of their labor. Each child plans and plants their own garden plot and is involved in the planning and planting of the common garden, an area where specialty gardens (wheat, Three Sisters, rice, etc.) and large crops like corn and squash are grown. Classes are taught by experienced  local gardeners and Master Gardeners. The fruits of our labors are celebrated with a Harvest Festival in September when a feast is created from the children's gardens and shared with family, friends and neighbors.

Our SPUD BUDS program for children aged 10-14 was introduced in the summer of '01. Along with the basic program goals above, the Spud Buds have more in-depth gardening lessons and additional opportunities for garden design, scientific investigation, entrepreneurship, and community service. 

The SOLANUM TUBEROSUM (Tubers)  program was initiated in  2006 to accommodate our increasingly busy high school gardeners (15 and up) with a more flexible schedule and independent program. Tubers also have the opportunity to assist in the Sprouts and Spud Bud programs as Junior Horticulture Aides.
If you would like to see pictures of some of our previous summers'  activities click here.

Two issues of the  Super Lady Bug comic book, written and illustrated by 2003 SPROUTS members, Mahriah and Allison, are now on the site. Click on their names to view.

More information about the SPROUTS program

Attendance: This is a learning program designed to introduce gardening concepts on a weekly basis and to build on what has already been learned with each week’s new lessons. The more they attend the more they will learn.  For that reason if  your child is going to miss more than 6 lessons throughout the session we ask that you wait for a less busy summer to enroll and let us make room for another child who can attend regularly.
Bad weather: weather conditions can vary significantly so checking the weather on class and dressing appropriately is important. If cancellation of a class is necessary notification will be by phone or e-mail.
Class location: Occasionally class will be held at an alternate location but gardeners are always notified in advance.

Toilet Facilities: We have no toilet facilities at the garden.
Sun Protection: We are be out in the sun for long periods of time we strongly recommend that each gardener comes to class with a hat and sunscreen, even on cloudy days.
Guests at classes: Gardeners may occasionally bring a friend to class if they have prior permission (at least one class in advance) from their instructor.
Visiting the garden: The gardeners are welcome - in fact, encouraged - to visit the garden between classes. There is always something to do - check their plot, water things in the common areas, or, of course, pull weeds. If other children accompany the gardeners please ensure that the visitors stay on the designated paths so they don't damage other gardeners’ growing things.
Pick-up time: If you will be dropping off and picking up your child please be prompt. Our teachers are all volunteers and we don't want to take unfair advantage of their willingness to help. If you arrive before the class is finished please feel to tour the garden, observe the class or, of course, pull weeds. If your child will be picked up by someone other than yourself please send a note with your child on the day in question. Gardeners are encouraged to walk or ride their bikes to the garden (with permission from their parents).

Requirements for SPUD BUDS and TUBERS may vary so please contact the IFCGA for details at 524-0383.

IFCGA Sprouts and Spud Buds


"What I say is, if a man really likes potatoes he must be a pretty decent sort of fellow." -A.A.Milne 

The Spud Buds potato trials began in the late spring of 2007 when the Spud Buds planted 11 varieties of potatoes in a trials plot in their gardens at the Eastside Community Garden. The SBs kept a trials log that documented varieties, planting date, conditions, progress, etc. They were harvested in September 2007. In February 2008, some Sprouts and Spud Buds gathered to rate the flavor of the harvest. Except for one variety the low-starch varieties were boiled and the high-starch varieties were mashed or baked. Gardeners sampled each category and then rated their favorites. The top 2 varieties in each category reflect the varieties that had the most total votes as the first or second choice of the tasters.  The remaining varieties are listed in order of the number of votes they received.  It was a tough job but somebody had to do it! 
                 Tough job      Refreshment
Potato Varieties Results                   Yield**                           
Boiled (waxy, low starch types)
1. Rose Finn Apple Easy winner! Great color, flavor, and texture Excellent
2. Banana Not far behind Rose Finn Apple Very Good
3. French Fingerling Fair
4. Austrian Crescent Poor
5. Peanut * Good
Mashed (high starch, fluffy)
1. German Butterball "Doesn't even need butter!" Excellent
2. Bintje Yummy! Excellent
3. All Blue Great color and flavor Very Good
Baked (high starch, fluffy)
1. German Butterball Favorite for texture and flavor Excellent
2. All Blue Just behind Butterball, very popular for color Very Good
3. All Red Nice flavor, texture, and color Very Good
4. Bintje Got a couple of 1st place votes Excellent
5. Purple Viking Good
6. Peanut * Good
* Expected this to be low starch but cooked up more like a high starch so included it in the "baked" category, too.
** Because of late planting date the yields were measured relative to the other varieties in the trial.

An article from a volume of our '00 newsletters about the SPROUTS program follows. If you would like to see pictures of some of our previous summers'  activities click here.

SPROUTS Program Grows

by Lauren Koss

You may have noticed the well tended 3x10 raised beds by the shed at the Eastside garden this past summer.  These plots were cared for by 12 industrious "Sprouts", the children enrolled in this years IFCGA Children's Garden Project.  The children met twice a week to learn about gardening practices as well as the fun, satisfaction, and occasional frustration of gardening. Three regular instructors led the classes with the generous assistance of Master Gardeners, parents, and local high school students.  Classes were taught on the basics of planting, weeding, and watering.  Other topics included composting, soils, capillary action of water, butterflies, worms, and insects. The classes were held outside on sunny days.  In inclement weather, classes were held in a combination classroom/greenhouse made possible by a very generous grant from the CHC Foundation.

In addition to regular classes,  numerous fun projects were sprinkled throughout the season.  The kids enjoyed making salsa, lemon verbena sugar cookies, and herbal vinegar.  They planted a butterfly garden, built a bean tee-pee, and made a worm farm.  We held scavenger hunts  and played "Veggie Bingo".  The group also went on a field trip to some of the city gardens with Lisa Stephens, a city gardener, and then toured the organic garden of one of the instructors, Kristi Appelhans.

But the highlight of the season was making fresh baked bread from wheat grown by the Sprouts!  Early in the Spring, wheat berries were "stomped" into the ground by vigorous little feet.  The wheat grew over the summer with little attention beyond regular watering.  In September, the wheat was cut and the sheaves were dried in the greenhouse.  The Sprouts then threshed, winnowed, and ground the wheat by hand.  The resulting wheat flour was baked into bread on the last day.  It was eaten hot out of the oven by the children and instructors, parents and friends.  Everyone agreed wholeheartedly when Bailey Martignacco said "This is the BEST BREAD I'VE EVER HAD!!"

The SPROUTS program was a success for the second year in a row thanks to many volunteers.  If you would like to help next year, please call Kristi or Lauren at 524-0383 or e-mail to growifcga@gmail.com.

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