CMA Garden Club

Grown to a different Beet

We are proud to offer a free interactive program where children and parents can practice gardening in a hands-on environment using aeroponic systems and dirt-based techniques. Learn about the growth of food and flowers, insects, and seed saving. We will discover harvesting and explore how to use what is harvested to make delicious homegrown food. So please wear something you can get dirty in, and join us at Garden Club!

The CMA is grateful for Whole Kids Foundation and Scotts Miracle-Grow Foundation grants to engage children, ages PreK-10, and their families in edible educational gardening using containers of and three aeroponic systems from Tower Garden by Juice Plus.

Join us for the Inaugural Garden Club to help set up the aeroponic tower systems on May 6, 2023, from 10 – 11:30 am. Registration is limited to 10 families. Sign-up below. 

Upcoming Dates & Activities

October 14, 2023 – Seed tape and Leaf tracing

Seed tape is pre-sown seeds pressed between tissue and evenly spaced for growing. Learn about this fun and simple gardening technique and make your own Carrot or Lettuce seed tape to bring home! And to celebrate Autumn and the beautiful falling leaves, Garden Club will trace colorful Autumn leaves onto paper.

October 21, 2023 – Worm bin and Radishes 

In this engaging and educational activity, Garden Club will learn about worm bins and the importance of compost in gardening. Visitors will get to view, feed, and watch the worms work their gardening magic! Afterwards, Garden Club will have the opportunity to work with their hands and sew Radish seeds to bring home.

October 28, 2023 – Fresh Salad and Beets

For this activity, Garden Club will get to enjoy the fruits of their labor and harvest greens for a simple Caesar Salad recipe! Visitors will get to learn about the fun and fulfilling rewards of gardening by harvesting lettuce from our resident hydroponic towers, as well as the joy of cooking. After the cooking lesson and a refreshing, healthy Caesar Salad snack, visitors will then get the opportunity to sew Beet seeds to take home!

November 4, 2023 – Mud sensory play and try micro-greens salad activity 

Get dirty for fun and education! Don’t wear white for this messy and engaging activity, as visitors can learn about the importance of soil in gardening and about the fun of getting your hands a little dirty. After a cool dip in the mud puddle, visitors can try micro-greens in a delicious simple salad!

What's Growing in Our Garden

Plants in the garden from left to right: 

Cucumber Biet Alpha, Yard Long Beans, Spoon Tomatoes, Yellow Isabellina Zinnia, Marigolds, Amaranth Alana’s Rojo, Shishito Pepper, Amaranth Calloo, Potatoes (russet), Ageretum 

This garden was designed with our extreme summers in mind. Amaranth is a staple crop in the Caribbean due to its beautiful leaves that are edible in soups and stews. Edible grain also grows on top as a seed late in the season. Zinnias with deadheading (a process which removes the spent blossoms) continue to bloom for long periods of time. Spoon tomatoes or Currant tomatoes are also named the Florida Everglades tomato. They are native to that area and can produce tomatoes with great stamina all season long. The only downside to this plant is the flimsy stems, which break at the slightest of movement.

Learn more about Aeroponics

These hydroponic grow towers were donated by the Whole Kids Foundation, for the CMA to demonstrate different food growing processes. Hydroponic growing is a process where the roots are suspended in air and water trickles through the suspended roots. A pump pushes the water from the bottom to the top of the tower, where it falls down onto the roots about every 12 minutes, like a waterfall. The water used contains a chemical nutrient solution, created to have all necessary nutrients for plant growth, making them grow up to 30-50% faster than traditional methods. In the Summer, hydroponics can be used for heat loving crops, and in the Winter greens are a great crop for these towers. Things like lettuce, Bok Choy, and flowers to attract pollinators all grow well in hydroponics during the Winter.

Learn more:

About the Gardener

Hello, my name is Allison and I grew most of the plants on display at my house from seed. My passion is growing food, flowers, and herbs and teaching others to do the same. On Saturdays, we have instructional segments where I share simple lessons about gardening and cooking. Then, we look for and fix any problems that are occurring in our example garden with families that come, fertilizing, pruning, and harvesting together. These gardens are meant to educate us on what growing food actually looks like. We practice growing food, harvesting and using the food, as well as memorizing what times of the year what can be planted. (Timing is key to a great harvest).  We are so often disconnected from where food actually comes from, and what it looks like, that I wanted to include displays of some of our favorite foods to eat, like peppers, potatoes, tomatoes, and greens. The hope of this program is to share a love of eating fresh, local food, and to become a beautiful place for pollinators to thrive. In an increasingly concrete world, we have lost many pollinators who aid in food production. I hope to meet you on a Saturday here at the museum. If you have any questions or comments about the garden, you can contact me at

All the best,

Allison Gerardino

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