It was a dirty job.
But almost everybody wanted to do it.
Last Saturday was gardening day at the Hutton Settlement children’s home. About 50 people - staff and kids living at the home, along with some Seafirst Bank employees and Camp Fire girls and boys - hunkered down under the clear blue sky and planted vegetables in an acre-or-so of crumbly earth.
The Hutton Settlement kids will tend the plants and get to eat the vegetables this summer and fall.
Some prime specimens will be entered in the Spokane Interstate Fair. Some onions and tomatoes will find their way into a top-secret salsa recipe.
Shawn Gillam, 8, didn’t know the recipe. But one ingredient was obvious.
“Do you have any poppers, er, peppers?” asked the freckled boy with the sun-bleached hair.
Don McCandles of the Gardeners of Spokane gave him the seeds he sought.
“We’re giving them expertise,” McClandles said from beneath a green gardener’s cap.
One of the Hutton kids wasn’t burying onion bulbs deep enough. McCandles came to the rescue.
“You need to cover him up a little, so he can grow,” he advised Ashley Twiggs, 10.
Then more kids came.
“What are you planting?” 7-year-old Hope Bocook asked Ashley.
“Can I help?”
Of course. Hope’s twin sister, Candace, got in on the job, too.
String marked the rows where the veggies would germinate. Paper signs mounted to stakes identified what went where.
“Salsa Onions” was written in red, a picture of one drawn thick with crayon beneath. There were radishes, beans, beets and tomatoes, too.
Mary Jo Lyonnais, director of Hutton Settlement, was busy getting dirty. She has been at the place 17 years, but this was her first foray into the garden. She liked it, though - especially the pumpkins.
To heck with that Great Pumpkin that Linus is always looking for. “We’re trying to grow the greatest pumpkin,” Lyonnais said.
They have a good shot, too. The seeds were donated by farmer Bob Critchfield of Pumpkin Hill fame. Those suckers can weigh up to 600 pounds.
Not far off was the Seafirst Bank bunch. Laura Jetton and Stephen Prince brought co-workers to help. Jetton, also a Camp Fire leader, had five of her club member kids in tow.
Just don’t ask them for their troop number. They don’t have one - they have a name.
“It’s Holly’s Hikers Adventure Group,” Jetton corrected.
Then the Seafirst crowd discussed new ways of tracking delinquent credit card holders.
Korina VanTassle was more concerned with withdrawals. Though most folks were planting, the 13-year-old Hutton resident had discovered some already-growing rhubarb.
“Oh, yum!” she said, holding a just-uprooted red stalk like a popsicle.
Not a bad find. But planting veggies is still small potatoes compared to Scooby-Doo.
“I’d rather be sleeping or watching cartoons,” VanTassle admitted.
Well, we did say almost everybody wanted to garden.