August 2010
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Clarke Co. Junior Master Gardeners Work to Provide Local Seniors with Fresh Produce

Members pose with their garden equipment after plowing and preparing the soil for their summer garden.


Congratulations to Solid Rock Clovers and Cloverbuds JMG for being our August Group of the Month. This Clarke County group is located in Grove Hill and formed during the winter of 2009. The group ais made up of 15 young people who participate in many other activities as well as Junior Master Gardener (JMG). The group meets every Monday as a 4-H club and completed many of the JMG activities and well as the Health Rocks program sponsored by 4-H. Christie Merck is the club leader for the group and has several of the parents who volunteer.

Christie Merck holds an ivy vine while Mary Alice Papis takes a cutting for her propagation lesson.

The Solid Rock Clovers JMG group has worked this year to start a garden to help feed some of the local senior citizens who do not have access to fresh produce. The garden this summer has produced squash, beans, cucumbers and a few other varieties of summer vegetables. Christie Merck encourages the kid’s parents to help participate in the garden. One communication she sent to the parents was because she wanted to be sure they had on their work clothes so they could help the kids pull weeds instead of the plants. The kids learn so much from being in the garden with adults who can teach them while they are working. The group uses composted rabbit pellets to fertilize the garden. They collect the rabbit pellets from a local community member. During the month of June, the group harvested two, five-gallon buckets full of beans and some cucumbers, and took them to two of the town’s seniors.

"The kids were excited about being able to share the fruits of their labor," said Merck.

She went on to say the seniors were very grateful to have the fresh beans and cucumbers.


Solid Rock Clovers & Cloverbuds standing next to their butterfly bush community service project at Laurie Carleton Park.

This spring the group participated in another community service project the whole community will benefit from. They received a JMG mini-grant this year and chose the town park as their project. The park is located in the center of town close to the courthouse. The Solid Rock Clovers JMG partnered with another 4-H club in town, the PAWS 4-H Club to revitalize a corner of the park. The Solid Rock Clovers JMG planted butterfly bushes and the PAWS 4-H Club built a bird bath placed in the middle of the two butterfly bushes. Wendy Padgett, 4-H Regional Extension Agent, stated how great it was to have the two groups come together to complete a project the whole community would appreciate.

The group’s weekly meetings consisted of many activities beyond the two community projects already mentioned. The Clarke County High School has a greenhouse and hosts a plant sale every year. The group toured the greenhouse this spring and was able to purchase plants at the plant sale.

Members proudly show off their plant people they created from one of the JMG activities.


Jack Brewer of Lewis Pest Control talks to the group about insects in the garden.

Early in the spring, the group had a guest speaker, Jack Brewer, talk about insects in the garden. Mr. Brewer is a former 4-H agent who currently works for Louis Pest Control in Thomasville. Finally the group participated in a service learning project by going to Clarke Preparatory Academy and taught the kindergarteners the Hamburger Plant activity. Christie Merck and her volunteers do a great job keeping these kids active and learning about gardening.

Luci Davis is the State Junior Master Gardener Coordinator. For more information on the program, phone (334) 703-7509.