School gardens are thriving in classrooms around the country. Over the past decade, school gardens have become a rare occurrence to becoming a well-known concept that is gaining popularity in schools of all sizes, public and private, rural and urban, small and huge. When you begin to study the benefits of gardening with students, their proliferation becomes completely understandable.
Firstly, school gardens teach students how to cultivate and harvest their food (one of the essential life skills a person can have), and certainly one of the most important lessons they can learn.
Additionally, according to research, working in school gardens can help students achieve the following:
- Students’ science achievement scores should be improved.
- Improve social skills by promoting empathy and cooperation amongst colleagues.
- Students’ understanding of nutrition and willingness to consume fresh produce will improve due to this program.
- Increase your emotional literacy.
- Develop a sense of belonging and duty in your community.
- Instill a lifetime love of the natural world in your children.
- School gardens provide hands-on learning opportunities and cater to students with a variety of learning styles. The result has been demonstrated to engage and focus pupils who may otherwise exhibit disciplinary concerns in the classroom.
- Gardens can help enhance the aesthetics of a school’s campus while also instilling a sense of school pride in students, instructors, and administrators, among other benefits.
Anyone – teacher, administrator, parent, or student – who believes in the benefits of school gardens should push for establishing a school garden at their institution. Are you unsure of where to begin? Here’s a simple guide to turning your idea of having a school garden into a reality.
1. Determine The Amount Of Space You Have Available
Who is it that your garden is providing for? What are the requirements? What kind of space is available, and how much of each? Parking areas, courtyards, rooftops, greenhouses, and schoolyards are all possible locations for a solar array. In addition, think about what is available in your neighborhood, such as public parks, vacant lots, and places of worship, nature centers, retirement residences, or community gardens.
Consider the following factors to assist in determining the optimum usage for the available space:
- Is it safe and straightforward for students and instructors to navigate the site’s interface?
- Is there a safe and dependable water source in the area?
- Vandals, rodents, and other possible hazards are prevented from entering the property.
- Is the region large enough to accommodate future growth?
- If you’re growing flowers, herbs, or vegetables, is the spot exposed to sunshine for at least 6 hours per day?
- Is there any evidence of lead or other heavy metal contamination in the soil?
2. Identify Resources and Establish Collaborative Relationships
Incorporating local relationships is a fantastic approach to maximize resources and acquire access to much-needed resources such as supplies and tools and funds, volunteers, and technical assistance. The USDA’s People’s Garden website contains a variety of gardening information to assist you in establishing and maintaining a People’s Garden in your school. Additionally, you can seek free technical support from a USDA Service Center, as well as from a local Cooperative Extension office, which can supply you with relevant, practical, and research-based gardening advice. Invite an Extension Master Gardener from your area to assist you in keeping your garden in good condition throughout the year, including the summer.
3. Examine The Condition Of Your Soil
A good school garden is dependent on the health of the soil. It is critical to gather soil samples to determine the soil condition at the proposed site. Has your soil been analyzed for pH, nutrients, and lead pollution by a soil testing laboratory? Contact your local Cooperative Extension office for further information on how to collect a soil sample and where to send it for examination. If your property has been contaminated, the most straightforward approach may be to garden in raised beds or a mobile garden planter.
4. Participate In the Design Process
Make sure you include everyone in the community — parents, students, teachers, administrators, food service workers, and other local partners. Encourage students of all grades to offer their thoughts and ideas, and be sure you incorporate them. Gather design concepts and combine them into a single design plan.
5. Choosing the Right Plants
Brainstorming session. Consider the broad picture while beginning with the tiny steps. Consider selecting safe plants, requiring little care, and being attractive in size and form, as well as being suited to their environment and climate (also referred to as your Plant Hardiness Zone). Have older students’ survey younger kids to discover what they want to grow? If you want to connect with what is being taught in the classroom, choose themed plants around a tale, a cuisine recipe, or a science lesson, and then plant them around that topic.
6. Construct and Make Use of Your Garden
Include the entire school community in the construction and planting of the garden – get their hands dirty in the dirt at every step of the process. Students’ sense of ownership, pride, and responsibility will be heightened due to their participation. Please use the garden to help students understand where their food comes from. Prepare your garden by planting herbs, fruits, and vegetables that are simple to cultivate, harvest, and prepare for cooking, such as lettuce, carrots, peas, and radish.
In summary, school gardens can be hard labor, but they can also be fun, and having students involved makes the experience even better. You can model a positive attitude for students by embracing school gardening with an open mind and a sense of wonder about the natural world. If you are in need of writing an essay on gardening topic and time is not on your side, you may ask yourself a question like ‘’who is going to write my essay?’’ Don’t fret, Peachy Essay professional writers got you covered. Wishing you much success with your gardening endeavors.