Kids Can Grow

Hands-on Gardening Experience for Children, Aged 7 to 12, in York County

"Kids Can Grow" youth participant stands proudly next to her newly planted square-foot, raised-bed gardenUniversity of Maine Cooperative Extension’s hands-on Kids Can Grow program gets children excited about gardening.

Kids learn and practice gardening in a series of six monthly sessions from April through September at the UMaine Extension York County demonstration gardens. They are mentored and inspired by a team of Master Gardener Volunteers. Successfully raising vegetables, flowers, and herbs build self-esteem and start children on a journey that can become a satisfying, lifelong hobby.

Kids Can Grow Teaches Children:

  • how to choose, plant, and grow nutritious vegetables, herbs, and beautiful flowers for their families;
  • the basics of good nutrition and food safety; and
  • how to build and plant a 3′ x 5′ raised bed garden at home, with materials, seedlings, and amended topsoil supplied by us.

Kids Can Grow has been inspiring young gardeners for 20 years! UMaine Extension educators and Master Gardener Volunteers have been teaching children how to grow fresh produce and flowers in our York County demonstration gardens since 1999.

All produce grown in our Kids Can Grow demonstration gardens is donated to the Maine Harvest for Hunger project. Children learn responsibility, for they have ownership of their home garden and the produce it creates. Through the monthly sessions, children learn how to seed, thin, transplant, fertilize, weed, water, and harvest their own gardens.

Earth Buddy made in Kids Can Grow Program
Earth Buddy

Kids also create garden crafts such as terracotta garden stones imprinted with plants, stones, etc., earth buddies (see photo, right), or “websites” (spider houses to attract beneficial insects). Nutrition education is an important part of Kid’s Can Grow. Children learn about nutrition and food safety in our program. They create “harvest pizzas” using produce from their own home gardens. Kids Can Grow is also a specialty 4-H Club. Each Kids Can Grow participant is enrolled as a 4-H member so they can display their garden produce, posters or journals about what they have learned, their garden craft items, and/or samples of preserved foods such as tomato sauce at the Acton Fair, our county agricultural fair, held in August.

The cost of Kids Can Grow is only $25 per child, thanks in part to generous support from sponsors like the York County Master Gardener Association and local farms and businesses.

Important dates for Kids Can Grow in York County 2020

  • March 30: Applications are due in the office. Online application is available, or a printable application is available.
  • April 9: Parent Orientation, Kennedy Center 15 Oak St. Springvale, 6pm-7pm
  • April 25, May 23, June 6, July 11, August 22, October 3: Saturday KCG classes at Crossroads United Methodist Church, Sanford, ME


  • Saturday, April 25, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
  • Saturday, May 23, 10a.m. – 1p.m.
  • Saturday, June 6, 10a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, July 11, 10a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, August 22, 10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, Oct. 3, 10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

For More Information, Contact:

Frank Wertheim, Cooperative Extension Educator
UMaine Cooperative Extension in York County
15 Oak Street, Suite 302
Springvale, Maine 04083
Tel: 207.324.2814 or 1.800.287.1535 (in Maine)