School Gardens are a unique opportunity to teach students where their food comes from in a variety of ways. There are already several studies that take place in the current curriculum where the vegetable garden could be of great help. The more the garden can be incorporated into their classes and their school community, the more the message will be driven home to them.
A school vegetable garden is not only about growing food. It is also about the science behind it. Lessons in plant cycles, photosynthesis, ecosystems and environmental sustainability are just a few of the things that may be taught. Math can be integrated with studies in simple addition and subtraction but also volume, mass, area, graphing and planning. I have also seen quite a few of the children’s art studies where Mrs. Montgomery has integrated the observation of nature into some amazing and beautiful artwork.
A few details about the garden bed:
- Made from North American grown Western Red Cedar
- The wood is untreated – This is because anything wood is treated with can potentially enter the soil and then into the vegetables being eaten.
- A layer of garden fabric was placed inside the bottom of the bed first
- Followed by fractured cracked limestone pea gravel for drainage
- Another layer of garden fabric was place over the gravel and attached to line inside of the walls of the bed. This is done to keep the soil in.
- The bed was then filled with Premium Food Production full organic soil that consists of OMRI-certified organic leaf compost, Organic & finished composted cow manure, pine bark fines & Rice Hulls
A garden’s success or failure can be identified by looking back to see what took place previously. In our case we are starting with a fresh slate.
You can record as much, or as little as you want; however, the more the better. Record keeping and observations can be a fun activity to incorporate into the classroom. Some information that would be beneficial to record is:
- Planting dates for seeds & plants (when did you start them indoors/outdoors?)
- Transplanting dates
- Source and cost of plants and seeds
- Weather such as rainfall, snowfall (was there a blizzard), frost dates
- Plant characteristics, date of germination, date they emerge in the spring, appearance of blooms
- Date of harvest
- Condition of beds
- Pictures-throughout the season and the growing process, included with plant detail or in a separate section
- Wish lists-Plants to consider for the future and additional tools needed.
- Inspiration and thoughts
- Supplier notes-Which you like and which you don’t; what brand of tools held up and what brand did not?