School Gardening Project

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I was blessed with the opportunity to head up a gardening project with a Kindergarten / First Grade class at a local elementary school this fall.  I kept notes to share on the blog, to hopefully encourage other parents and volunteers to organize a garden project at their own school!  It was so easy, and it has been amazing to share the garden with the students!

This project has cost about $200, and is currently two months old.  Mostly the cost has been the wood, hardware and dirt. I was able to get some project materials donated by businesses in our community.  The parents of the children in the class donated a large portion of the gardening soil, and my husband and I purchased and made the garden boxes for the school.

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Gardening Supply List:

Wood 10″ wide, cut into four 5 ft and four 3 ft pieces

Stainless steel hardware

20 cubic yards of organic gardening soil (10 for each box)

Peat moss (we needed about 3 cu ft)

1 schoolroom watering can

Lettuce sprouts (donated by Full Moon Natives)

Organic Radish & Carrot Seeds

Flower Seeds (Zinnia & Marigold so far)

Kids Aprons (donated by our local Home Depot)

2 old tires (donated by a parent who needed new tires for her van)

1 Rain Gauge

1 Do Not Disturb gardening sign & stake

17 energetic kids

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First we met with the school’s principal, to get approval and listen to his concerns about the project.  We promised to weave the garden activities into their classroom curriculum and got the final approval for our year long project.

Next, we constructed two 5″ x 3″ wood garden boxes, and then filled them with peat moss and gardening soil. The kids enjoyed feeling the difference in the peat moss and the gardening soil.

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The kids are currently growing a salad garden, since lettuce, carrots, and radishes have a shorter growing season.  We have a goal to harvest our winter garden by the holiday break in mid December.  In the spring, they will plant native milkweed and learn about our endangered monarch butterflies.  They will also continued to grow different selections of vegetables throughout the rest of the school year.

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The students will learn to use the garden’s rain gauge.  It is a plastic gauge with magnified numbers found at our Home Depot for about $5.  We will record rainfall measurements and discuss the occasional lack of rainfall.  I secured the rain gauge to the side of the garden box with a stainless steel screw, so that the students can not pick it up and play with it.

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Last week we added unwanted tires to the garden space. We painted them the school color and filled them with soil and previously sprouted zinnia seeds!  The kids were really excited about their tires.

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Our class teacher came up with the “Gardening Teams” idea.  Each morning, I spend about 15 mins with a small group of children.  They get one on one interaction in the garden, while we are taking care of it each week.  Gardening Team 1 is on Mondays, Gardening Team 2 is on Tuesdays, and so forth.  I enjoy answering their silly questions and listening to their interesting stories.

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Our romaine lettuce is looking great!  I am hoping that not only will the kids eat it, but also share it with teachers and staff at their school.

I will update as this gardening project continues.  I am so excited to help teach food education to our youth!

Happy Gardening, Bee

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