HUMBOLDT PARK — A new garden outside a Humboldt Park school is growing nearly as fast as the club whose job it is to care for it.
The Moos Elementary School garden club was founded in the fall with a solid group of 30 students in kindergarten through eighth grade.
As of this week, the club has grown to include more than 100 students out of Moos' 533 students.
"It's really something," said Julie Wohlfeill, a kindergarten teacher who helped launch the club. "They are super into it."
The kids who stay after school every Monday agree.
Benjamin Nguyen, a second-grader who lives a stone's throw from the school, 1711 N. California Ave., said he makes sure to keep an eye on the plants nearly every day.
"I really love planting," he said while watering the raised planter beds Monday afternoon.
What the 7-year-old doesn't like are the weeds.
"I can't believe the weeds are soaking up all the vitamins," Benjamin said. "It's so sad."
The two teachers who started the club, Wohlfeill and her colleague Jackie Boyer, who teaches sixth grade, applied for a grant over the summer with The Kitchen Community.
That nonprofit, which has helped schools and communities start 240 gardens across the country, funded the garden beds, watering systems, plants, soil and training for the instructors.
While the garden club has been meeting since the fall, the group installed the planters April 26.
"I just wanted to build a community. It gets families involved. It gets the community involved," Wohlfeill said.
The club leaders have been learning on the fly as neither of them have had any gardening experience of their own before the fall.
"We've got a lot of buy-in from the community," Boyer said.
Before heading out to the garden plots every Monday, the kids get a refresher on watering techniques and some basics of tending to a garden.
Once their harvest of lettuce, radishes, spinach, peas and strawberries are ready, it will be served in the school cafeteria during lunch.
The strawberries were many students' favorite, mostly they said, because it's the best tasting of the food they are growing.
"Watering strawberries is fun because it's like when you throw balloons, but only softer," said 10-year-old Xiomara Rogers. "Another thing about strawberries is they taste good."
For more neighborhood news, listen to DNAinfo Radio here: