North Alabama Agriplex teaches kids about agriculture at Garden Camp

Kids participate in Garden Camp at the North Alabama Agriplex in June. (Cullman Tribune file photo)

CULLMAN, Ala. – With school out for the summer, many organizations around Cullman County are continuing to promote education during the break. One of these is the North Alabama Agriplex, which is currently holding a four-week Garden Camp to teach children about agriculture and horticulture. Kids from age 3-10 spend two hours at the Agriplex making crafts, touring and working in the garden, and creating a project based on the day’s theme to take home.

Breaking into three age groups (Peas for preschoolers, Radishes for K-second graders and Carrots for third-fifth graders), children spend the majority of camp time rotating between three activity stations – the garden, the project and snack time.

The first week of camp focused on soil, with opening crafts and activities involving worms and soil samples. Time in the garden had kids planting crops like tomatoes and zucchini, harvesting crops like kale and snow peas, and watering the plants with rain barrels. Projects for the different age groups included making mud pies, transplanting tomatoes, planting “salad bowls” to take home, and overall learning about Alabama soil and crops.

This week’s camp was the next step in the gardening process – growing. Kids learned about how to grow different plants and what plants are considered invasive. This week’s opening activities included painting rocks, decorating jars to fill with flowers, making leaf imprint rubbings and reading the book “Plantzilla” by Jerdine Nolen. Inspired by the book, all the kids worked on the same project: making their own Plantzilla friends. Using aloe vera, mint sprigs, grass seeds and succulent cuttings, the kids planted eyes, hair, mouths and other facial features for their Plantzillas. In the garden, they continued learning about harvesting by picking raspberries, squash and peppers, and older age groups got to learn about the process of hydroponics (which will be taught in further detail during the last week of camp) and about invasive plant species like bamboo.

Later camp themes involve harvesting (June 26) and water/hydroponics (July 10). While it is not accepting new arrivals for the camp (registration ended during the first week of June), the Agriplex is still offering different programs during the summer for both children and adults. Registration for the events below can be found at

The North Alabama Agriplex Heritage Center is located at 1714 Talley Ho St., Cullman.

Farm Kids Club – Water, Water Everywhere

July 13, 9-10:30 a.m.

Have fun with water through relays, science experiments, and games. $5 per child, $10 per family. Registration required.


Sewing Camp 101 (limited openings remaining)

July 15-19, ages 5-12


Living Landscapes – Backyard Chickens

July 16, 6 p.m.

Join Rachel Dawsey, backyard chicken veteran, and Alabama Cooperative regional Extension Agent Landon Marks will cover the best practices of raising chickens. $5 per person. Registration required.


Lunch & Learn – Rain Harvesting

July 17, noon-1 p.m.

Free program with door prizes at each event. New topic every month. Call 256-297-1044 to reserve your seat. Bring your own lunch. Registration required.


Heritage Skills – Crochet an Amigurumi (Japanese Stuffed Toy)

July 18, 6 p.m.

Michelle Morring will teach this class on how to crochet an adorable small stuffed yarn creature. Make and take, need basic crochet skills, cost $10. Registration required.


Sewing Camp 102 (limited openings remaining)

July 22-26, ages 9-18


Sewing 103

August 10, ages 9-18


Heritage Skills – Sacred Harp Singing

August 15, 6 p.m.

Join local Sacred Harp singers to hear the beauty of this historical music and learn the basics. $5 per person. Registration required.


Lunch & Learn – Preserving Peaches

August 21, noon-1 p.m.

Free Program with door prizes at each event. New topic every month. Call 256-297-1044 to reserve your seat. Bring your own lunch. Registration required.


Living Landscapes – Salad Bowl Garden and Growing Fall Vegetables

August 22, 6 p.m.

Plant a salad bowl garden to take home and learn what veggies you can plant in your garden for the fall. $5 per person. Registration required.

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Heather Mann