ILLIOPOLIS, Ill. — Griffin Giles is an active 10-year-old who loves to create. Whether he is constructing his own Halloween costume months in advance or making Christmas ornaments made to look like his favorite historical figures, the young man is always working on something creative.

His newest endeavor did not require construction paper or glue, just mud, water and patience.

Griffin’s garden is a work of art that many adults would have struggled to create. He understands he chose the ideal year to start his first garden.

“I try my best to water it and the rain helps,” he said.

The Sangamon Valley West Elementary fifth-grader began the project because of his fondness for corn. The list of veggies expanded to include green beans and eight varieties of tomatoes as well as sunflowers and morning glories.

“We had peas, but they withered,” he said.

Griffin started his garden in early May with seed trays laid out in his dining room. The Giles family ordered the seeds from an online resource, except for the corn, which was donated by a local farmer. His thumb turned green almost immediately.

“When we would come home, he would ask if he could go hoe the garden,” said his mother, Amy Giles. “He put a lot of love into it.”

Griffin does not use pesticides, but instead uses manual labor or old gardening techniques. He sought advice from his grandmother, who is also a gardener. His research consists of whatever advice she gives.

“She said to leave pieces of Irish Spring soap bar around the garden,” Griffin said. “It will keep away the rabbits.”

The trick worked well. However, he now has a ground squirrel that has been nibbling on the food. Advice from his grandfather included a water-filled moat or a BB gun.

“I’m going to try the water, because I don’t want to hurt it,” Griffin said.

His parents keep up with their son and his other adventures which includes karate, baseball and guitar.

“And I skied for the first time this summer,” he said.

The young entrepreneur is often making things, mostly for his own enjoyment or just to see if he can do it. During the summer, Griffin has been making rock candy. He mixed sugar with hot water in a jar and hung a string into it.

“It is supposed to grow up the string,” his father Jay said.

“It will take about a month to grow,” Griffin said.

Griffin loves to read books and enjoys Greek mythology. In his spare time, he makes masks and helmets based on his favorite characters, such as a gladiator as well as comic book heroes Ant-Man, Iron Man and Black Panther. He also makes Spiderman “web slinger” grappling hooks, origami ninja stars and a solar viewer for watching the solar eclipse.

“You give him cardboard and duct tape, and he is busy for hours,” Jay said.

He will ask his parents and grandparents for the tools and materials to make his projects.

“We make a lot of trips to Hobby Lobby,” Jay said.

Griffin’s garden is a precursor to his future plans. The youngster wants to be a paleontologist when he grows up. “It is basically a person who digs up dinosaur bones,” he said.

His plan for the garden is to sell half of his crop when it is ready at a miniature farmer’s market in front of his father’s barber shop in Moweaqua. The remainder will be shared with friends, family and neighbors.

“And I know we will be eating a lot of cherry tomatoes,” his mother said.


Source: (Decatur) Herald & Review, http://bit.ly/2eGtzoG

This is an AP-Illinois Exchange story offered by the (Decatur) Herald & Review.