Hello gardeners, today we are here with an interesting topic so-called school gardening. This article is all about what is school gardening, how to start school gardening, and what are the requirements for school gardening.
Introduction to School Gardening
School gardens are a wonderful and beautiful way to use the schoolyard as a classroom, this will reconnect students with the natural world and the true source of their food, and this will also teach them valuable gardening and planting concepts and skills that related to several subjects, such as science, art, health, physical education, and social studies also, as well as several educational goals, that includes personal and social responsibility.
A Step By Step Guide to School Gardening
In a school garden, school children tend to work on planting flowers and vegetables in gardens. The school garden is another activity of regular school work. It is a different effort to get children out of doors and even away from books. It is a very healthy realism putting more vigor and intensity into schoolwork.
Benefits of School Gardening
School gardens help children learn
School gardening is the study of life for school children. This is an act of caring for living soil and plants that gives children a foundation for understanding the principles of plant birth, growth, maturity, death, competition, cooperation, and lots of other lessons that transfer to human lives. In a school garden, children also experience these lessons on their hands through a learning method that is very rich and they even learn activities. The results teachers see a day is now supported by science: school gardens can also help our youngsters learn better, both academically and emotionally.
Working or participating in a school garden helps children to stay active, reducing obesity
Teachers across the country agree that when children participate in gardening, they move their bodies more than when passively listening in a classroom. Jumping, bending, lifting, and stretching all this type of things take place in a typical gardening session.
Gardening moderates moods and eases anxiety
There is a piece of evidence that exposure to beneficial microbes in the soil can help regulate the neurotransmitters affecting our brain’s emotional state. A whole practice involving exposing yourself to green spaces or green thumb to lift the mood has even emerged globally, with convincing results. But gardens are more than just another green space: they are hands-on, outdoor classrooms that teach children self-regulation and mindfulness—both of which have been shown to decrease anxiety and depression.
School children who garden at school develop empathy and practice risk
Teachers who garden with their students can notice increased empathy towards other students and the organisms living in their school patch. That is all because tending to a ‘bug hotel’ or watching birds and earthworms survive in the garden helps the children to understand the interdependency of nature. A school garden also helps to provide the perfect place for children to learn about boundaries and responsibility by practicing new activities in a safe place. By using a paring knife, trying out a hammer, or balancing on the edge of a raised bed are all ways for children to test their knowledge and learn new skills in a supportive environment.
Where to Start your School Garden
After getting your school garden from idea to harvest is a journey with many steps. Luckily many others have traveled this before. The list to start have five main key steps or points that are recommended by teachers and parents with their experience in successful school gardens. If you have already completed your design and if you are looking for materials to order, you need to have raised garden beds, planters, rain barrels, composters, watering items, and gardening supplies.
You need to form a garden committee
A garden committee makes many decisions about how a school garden will look, what it will be used for, and how it will operate. The committee may start as a primary planning body that later develops into an operational committee, or it may simply offer direction for a garden coordinator. Whatever model or plan you choose or select, the committee should at least consist of 5-10 members representing the following areas:
- Your school’s administration
- Teaching staff
- Community volunteers
You need to determine goals for your school garden
Once when you have your committee in place, you need to determine goals or plans for your garden. This is an important next step. Many schools build gardens for different reasons. Here are some common goals and objectives are listed below:
Who will use the garden completely? Which grade levels will spend time within the garden? How will they use the space? Some of the schools tend to assign only one bed for every classroom, while other schools share the beds over multiple classrooms.
How often will students use the garden? Biological processes are always happening within the garden—not just during planting and harvest. Aim to possess children to visit the garden weekly during your gardening season and fewer frequently when things are dormant. Even when things appear to be sleeping, there are still lessons to find out. Regular visits will help children develop a reference to space.
Who is going to be liable for scheduling? Someone on your garden’s committee, usually an educator, will get to oversee the timing of classroom visits. Too many children within the garden directly can show pride out of the experience.
Who else is required to accomplish your goals? If you propose to supply the varsity cafeteria with fresh vegetables for a part of the year, you’ll get to plan your activities around local seed and harvest times. Consult local experts through your neighborhood nursery or extension office to urge information right for your climate and soil conditions.
Find Your Site/Location
Now it’s time to know the main purposes for your garden, you need to review available sites and need to determine which one is right for your needs. Along the way, you also need to consider the following questions:
- How much space do you need to meet your school gardening goals?
How many beds does one decide to install to supply food for your school’s needs? What’re the simplest thanks to dividing that space into beds? The other items include compost bin, tool shed, potting tables or benches, trellises, etc
Is there is enough sun for your school gardening?
Direct exposure to sunlight is one of the most and main important needs to your garden will have. While salad green plants need about 4 hours of sunlight per day, your site will ideally need to have 7-8 hours of sunlight to accommodate the broadest range of fruits and vegetables. If you are unsure about how much light your site gets, you need to use a sunlight calculator to be sure of growing plants.
- Is the site secure for your school gardening?
In most of the locations or areas, school gardens must be fenced to keep away from animal pests and little feet looking for shortcuts at recess. You need to fence at the initial stages to protect your plants from animals, pests, etc.,
What Sort Of Soil Is On-Site?
The key to successful gardening is building and maintaining healthy soil. Starting with healthy, living soil gives your garden the nutrients it must thrive. And while you’ll add fertilizer before planting, healthy soil is quite just nutrients. The simplest soil structure is fluffy, lightly textured, and filled with organic matter that’s continually breaking down. It provides enough air pockets or air circulation for roots to infiltrate and water to travel.
If there’s dirt available on site, conduct a soil test to seek out what nutrients you’ll add. Performing an easy squeeze test will assist you further evaluate your soils and organic matter content?
If like most soils, yours needs help, the simplest sources of organic nutrients are finished compost and well-rotted manure (at least two years old). Both of those can augment whatever soil is out there on-site for a winning combination of nutrients plus organic matter.
What Sort of Beds Will you Use?
While a standard in-ground garden is that the simplest to put in, it requires that good quality soil be available onsite. You’ll order additional soil or well-seasoned compost to reinforce what’s there, but there should be something to start with. The benefits of in-ground gardens include flexibility, good moisture retention, and therefore the ability to feature cold frames or hoop houses as required increasing the season.
Raised beds are commonly utilized in school gardens because they create weed control easy and are accessible for all ages and skills. They also are available a spread of heights, widths, and lengths. In most cases, use beds 3 or 4 feet wide so that children can reach the middle of the bed without standing on the soil.
Raised garden boxes generally haven’t any bottoms and sit directly on the soil. This is often the perfect set-up. However, if you want to install your beds on concrete, consider purchasing beds with integrated bases and increasing the peak of your garden to a minimum of 18 inches. Taller beds will offer you more versatility in terms of what plants you’ll grow. Any garden beds that have bottoms fitted to them must be designed to make sure good drainage.
Where Is Your Water Access?
Your site should ideally be no quite one hose length far away from the closest faucet or standpipe. If you propose to put in in-ground irrigation, space far away from your water source will affect the pressure needed to urge water to your site.
Can You Go Vertical?
Schools eager to get the foremost out of their space often add vertical elements. This includes trellises on raised garden beds, wall pockets of varying sizes hanging on fences or walls, and stacked garden towers during a central, accessible location. Just make certain to put vertical elements so that they don’t shade any beds behind them.
Tools Required for School Gardening
Since most gardens are designed for one class to go to at a time, the number of tools will usually reflect the typical class size at your school. The subsequent list of materials was adapted from the Healthy Planet Foundation’s basic supply list for a schoolyard garden.
- Watering can (3)
- Hand trowels (25-30)
- Round shovel (2)
- Flat shovel (2)
- Garden hoe (2)
- Digging fork (2)
- Drinking water safe hose (1)
- Garden twine (1 200ft roll)
- Gardening gloves (25-30)
- Plant labels (50)
- 1 wheelbarrow
- 1 spray nozzle
Plan and Style your Garden Site
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Working with a faculty garden or landscape designer is be often beyond the reach of faculties sticking to a bare-bones budget.
To begin, talk with other schools in your district that have already got successful gardens and ask who helped them with their design.
In case if you miss this: Growing Organic Spinach At Home.
Sample Designs of School Gardening
Starter Teaching Garden
If your primary goal is to provide a hands-on learning opportunity, a basic teaching garden can contain a couple of simple beds targeting crops that produce during the varsity year. This low-cost design features raised beds planted with vegetables, along with side a little pollinator garden or insectary which will double as a cut garden. Including flowering plants in your design increases the training opportunities for your garden as an entire.
- 4 x 8 raised garden beds (4)
- 4 x 4 raised garden beds (2)
- Raised bed climbing trellis (2)
- Mixed vegetable and flower seeds
- Winter squash
- Blanket flower
School Food Garden
For a bigger school whose goals include in-season food production for a cafeteria or food utility program, the subsequent design includes a spread of vegetables, flowers, and fruit:
- 4 x 8’ raised beds (12)
- 3.5’ x 4.5’ hexagonal raised bed (1)
- 1 compost bin
- 1 tool shed
- 1 in-ground pumpkin patch
Primary Sensory Garden
Thematic gardens are an excellent thanks to connecting children with nature using an unconventional angle. This garden type targets children within the primary grades by engaging their senses of touch, smell, sight, and taste. The precise selection of plants during a sort of textures encourages handling, and in some cases, eating.
- 3’ x 6’ L-shaped raised beds
- 3.5’ x 4.5’ hexagonal bed
Taste: Basil, parsley, chives, rosemary, lettuce, and strawberries
Smell: Lavender, thyme, Agastache foeniculum, and lemon balm
Sight: Nasturtiums, speckled lettuces, and purple curly kale
Touch: Succulents, red flowering sedum, and chaparral sage
Fertilizers Required for School Gardening
Chemical fertilizers may give plants a fast fix, but they have been shown to deplete soil over the future. Instead, feed your plants and your soil at an equivalent time with an all-purpose organic. You’ll need half a pound for every 10 square feet of soil. Perennial plants and shrubs will produce other, more specialized requirements. You’ll also grow a canopy crop chosen for your climactic area to feature nutrients in the soil. Ask your local nursery or seed supplier for more information.