Our school has started a garden (with a little help from willing parents and teachers). How about starting one where you live? If not school, maybe your local community center? Gardens are easy when you have an assortment of hands involved. Literally. And it’s fun!
The garden we decided on is a good size, about 20 feet by 30 feet. We chose a nice sunny spot with a brief wave of shade in the afternoon — a good thing under the Central Florida sun. People aren’t the only ones who benefit from a break in the heat! First there was the big job of weed removal. Our middle schoolers began the chore, breaking up a large part of the grassy area, followed by the little ones.
We decided on a variety of vegetables and herbs; beans and peas, corn and broccoli, tomatoes and peppers to name a few, accompanied by some fragrant basil and rosemary and a solid staple of parsley! Once the temperatures get a bit cooler, we’ll indulge in some broccoli and cabbage, potatoes come December.
Actually, our upper elementary students will begin the broccoli and spinach indoors and watch them grow before making the transplant to the garden. They’re studying leaves and roots and seedlings make for a fine project.
Of course when you have this many kids in nature at one time, you never know what exciting things you’ll discover. “Look there!”
“What is it?”
Nobody knew, exactly. I think there were a few bugs I saw for the first time, actually. Leave it to the youth to teach you a thing or two about the wild!
Within days, our weeds were pulled and our rows outlined, using weed-preventer paper. We do like to keep the maintenance manageable. I learned THAT from my children!
“Awe, Mom. Weeding again? Why were weeds even invented?”
Can’t answer that one for you, except maybe oxygen? They’re green, they must help the environment, right? Either way, it’s amazing what a group of energetic kids can accomplish!
To keep things simple, we’ll use the current fence line for our pole beans and peas to climb at will. We’ll also garden in “sections” and ease into a good crop rotation for the future. We are organic, you know.
As part of the process, we’ve designated an area nearby for a compost pile. Now all those scraps from lunch and snack time won’t go to waste! Well, technically they’ll still be waste, but now it will be “waste not want not” — we’re making compost here, not garbage!
And in the middle of it all, we have children learning the meaning of hard work (trust me, weeding and tilling is NOT for the weak), the camaraderie of working together, the basics of botany, the value of recycling, and the wonderous thing we call life as they watch plants sprout, grow, produce — amaze and delight! Not to mention an excuse to get OUT of the classroom. Does it get any better?
So consider the same for you and your school and share the adventure of gardening! Stay tuned as these kids explore and discover their own world of gardening.