When 9-year-old Alex Lovern’s mom Cathy Lovern and older brother Grant Lovern, a freshman at Edmond North, planned to build three 12-foot by 4-foot raised-bed gardens in April, Alex decided he wanted to join the fun and plant his own garden.
At the time placing with any of his crops at the State Fair of Oklahoma was the furthest thing from his mind, but with his mother’s encouragement he entered some of his canned goods and took fourth place in the 18 & Under category at the 2013 Oklahoma State Fair with his Some Like It Hot salsa.
“Alex noticed that the first three places were taken by a pineapple salsa, a peach and mango salsa and a jicama salsa,” Cathy said.
Gardening is a new venture for Alex.
“We had our garden-ready soil brought in by Minnick Materials and planted the second weekend in May,” Cathy said. “Alex loves cucumbers and watermelon, so he wanted a watermelon and cucumber patch.”
Alex, a fourth-grade student in Lynette George’s class at Ida Freeman Elementary, planted just one plant container of each, and each container had three small plants.
“From those small plants, we have harvested over 85 cucumbers, and canned over 40 quarts of pickles,” Cathy said. “In addition to his homemade salsa, Alex has entered a pint jar of bread & butter pickles, and a quart jar of dill pickles. He has three more large watermelons that should be ready to pick within the next few weeks.”
The first watermelon harvested from Alex’s garden was picked on Labor Day and weighed in at 35 pounds. He still has three watermelons on the vine waiting to grow large enough to pick.
He already has ideas for his salsa entry next year, his mom said. He is looking at making a watermelon salsa and plans on using the watermelon almost ready to be picked to practice with.
The family’s next plan is to build a greenhouse.
“Alex is a planner like I am and he said we had better get started building the greenhouse because it will be October and Halloween soon,” Cathy said.
The State Fair of Oklahoma continues through Sept. 22.