WILLCOX — Elsie S. Hogan Community Library is hosting a gardening program for local youth, ages nine and up. Meetings are every Friday from 9:30 to 11 a.m, and refreshments are provided.

“The main reason we did this was to get the kids back,” said Library Programs Coordinator Lucy Wilson. “It made me happy because I was missing everybody so bad.”

In their first few weeks, Wilson and her participants have started a diverse garden. The program focuses on the preparation, seeding, and nurturing of a spring garden, which includes zucchini, carrots, cabbage, lettuce, squash, radishes, onions, asparagus, cantaloupe, dwarf grapefruit, flowers, and a pineapple plant. Snacks are provided, which Lucy Wilson admits as her way to attracting more kids. The program has about 7 participants, all of whom have done hands on work with the garden, which includes both indoor and outdoor plants. They will turn their harvest into a gourmet salad once everything has ripened.

Jaden Wilson (no relation) has been one of Lucy Wilson’s most reliable students. He has planted a variety of vegetables in the small pots pictured and watered the outdoor beds.

Horticulturist Eric Clark of Civano Nursery visits regularly to guide the young gardeners, and Lucy Wilson and her students have all learned from him.

“It’s going to turn out really well,” said Lucy Wilson. She would like to thank Ginger McWhorter of Sierra Lumber, who donates the seeds and supplies every year.

Looking to the future, Lucy Wilson will host a library shadowing and training program which will teach young teens about cataloguing, Dewey Decimal Calculation, and repairing books during the summer. She is also planning an outdoor summer reading program in the Keiller Park Ramada, but dates are not set for either activity.

Parental permission forms for the garden program are available at the library for anyone interested. If you have any questions, please call (520)-766-4250.