Destrehan child loves growing and eating her own food

Represents new generation of homesteaders

Sydney Lorio can’t always reach the highest cucumber or tomato vines growing vertically in her backyard garden, but that doesn’t stop her from getting her daddy to help harvest her treasures.

“I like gardening a lot because every day we go out there and every day we get to pick something,” Lorio said. “After we pick it, I always put it in a container and then I usually eat it.”

The oldest of three siblings, she is herself a product of a new generation of homesteaders. Her parents want their children to know how food is grown, particularly when they started thinking everything came from the store.

So, Lorio’s father, Thomas, sparked his daughter’s interest in growing a garden in their backyard in Destrehan, which her mother, Mandy, said wasn’t hard considering her passion for flowers.

The going back to their roots lesson is working for this Destrehan 6-year-old. She isn’t only learning about gardening, but is thrilled about it.

“I really never wondered how it would grow,” said a determined Lorio. “I wondered when it would start to grow.”Her parents say she is absorbed with the plants, which includes cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, onions, berries, herbs and even a watermelon plant that has produced one smallish, but much loved melon. This garden grew from early, humble beginnings as a few plants indoors and then became this year’s larger garden and it’s going well.

Their one-row, 4-foot by 12-foot raised garden is a botanical backyard marvel.

Cucumber and tomato plants are growing vertically on a trellis attached to a wooden fence. The vines creep on them upward, and even though Lorio can’t reach the upper vines, she certainly has access to the lower half of the plants.

Donning her purple rubber boots, she stepped into the little garden to inspect and pick her bounty.

Lorio recalled how she and her father set it all up.

“We buy the seeds in a little pack,” she explained. “Every time, I would use a seed and drop it in the hole.”

When she saw the spouts, Lorio described the suspense of waiting for her vegetables and fruit to be ready for picking. In the process, she learned patience.

Mandy Lorio said her daughter’s love for flowers started a young age.

“It kind of started with flowers about two years ago,” she said. “She knows names of flowers I don’t even know. I have no idea where it comes from.”

But, when her father suggested a garden, Lorio was on it. They planned it together and then went shopping together to get the seeds and materials.

According to Mandy, “Now, it’s ‘Let’s just go check on the garden.’”

Lorio likes to pick what’s ready as soon as it’s ready – and wants to eat it. They had just eaten salads from her efforts.

Discussions have already begun about next year’s bigger garden, too.

“I always wanted to plant an apple tree, but I don’t know if it would grow here,” Lorio said. “But it might.”

The garden lessons are still being learned.

According to her mother, “Yesterday, she was yelling to Thomas there was a snail eating the leaves and a stinkbug was on something else. She was a mess because there were bugs on her garden.”


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