Before school ended for the summer in West Feliciana Parish, students at Bains Lower Elementary harvested the gardens they planted in spring.

The excitement of the prekindergarten, kindergarten and first-grade youths could hardly be contained each time they visited their outdoor classroom, LSU Agricultural Nutrition Agent Layne Langley said.

“The students worked in teams to plant bush beans, cabbage, carrots, cherry tomatoes, cucumber and squash transplants, as well as watered and weeded the garden beds,” said Langley. “To make weeding fun, I had them search for the longest weed.”

While waiting for their harvest to grow, the youths — all members of the Green Thumb Club — spent time during several nutrition classes participating in a garden obstacle relay by using rakes and hoes to move cantaloupe and corn to a goal.

“They enjoyed racing against one another and using the tools and produce for fun while learning about different fruits and vegetables,” said Langley.

Recently, the youths returned to the gardens to reap their harvest.

“To see the delight on their faces was priceless. Carrots of all shapes and sizes were pulled and tasted, as were cabbage and radishes, something new they planted this year,” Langley said. “During one of my visits, I helped them harvest, wash and clean the radishes, which we then tasted by dipping in a little salad dressing. I think they were surprised by how much they liked them.”

The young gardeners also tasted a variety of berries.

“I think they were just really pleased to taste what they themselves had planted, nurtured and brought to harvest,” said Langley.