Upcoming School Garden Grant Deadlines

Upcoming school garden grant deadlines are listed below. Don’t delay, apply now.

1) Burpee Home Gardens® is now accepting applications for the 2012 “I Can Grow” Youth Garden Award

The award will sponsor and support youth and community gardens across the US in 2012. What the Youth Garden Award includes: Up to 500 vegetable and herb plants*, $2,500 for program supplies, On-site assistance for initial garden layout and installation, Installation day event publicity coordination, Five gallons of Daniels® Plant Food (a sustainable fertilizer), Flip® video camera to document garden progress,  *Quantity of plants is dependent upon size of garden and need.
Deadline is December 23, 2011.

2) The Captain Planet Foundation (CPF) provides grants to schools, as well as community-based environmental and educational organizations. No grants are made to individuals or businesses.

Grants from the Captain Planet Foundation are intended to:
* serve as a catalyst to getting environmental activities in schools
and communities.
* inspire youth to participate in community service through
environmental stewardship activities.
Deadline is January 15, 2012

3) Whole Kids Foundation will grant 1000 schools $2000 each to build or expand their school garden.
Deadline is December 31, 2011

4) Herb Society of America – Grant for Educators
Each year, the Grant Committee anticipates funding one or two grants for a total of $5,000. The grant recognizes innovative projects that enhance herbal education in school systems, in communities, or in any public forum (electronic or person-to-person). It requires learning goals and a mechanism to measure the educational outcomes.
Deadline is December 31, 2011

5) California Fertilizer Foundation (CFF)
Provide funding to California public and private elementary, middle and high schools to increase the understanding and awareness of agriculture in California’s youth through school gardens. During the 2011-2012 school year, CFF will award 24 grants of $1,200 each to schools in California. At the end of the year, CFF will invite those schools to reapply for a “progress grant” of $1,500 and a free agricultural field trip.
Deadline is January 15, 2012

 

Meet the Beneficials: Natural Enemies of Garden Pests

Ladybug

The University of California Integrated Pest Management Program has produced a very informative poster for identifying good bugs that prey on bad bugs. We call these call good bugs, beneficial insects.

Meet the Beneficials: Natural Enemies of Garden Pests illustrates the various natural predators and parasites that feed on common garden pests.

One example is the lady beetle shown above. They are known to feed on aphids and whiteflies.

So before reaching for harmful pesticides consider biological controls such as  beneficial insects to do the job instead.

 

Soil Testing

removing asphalt

Removing Asphalt

Soil testing is sometimes necessary when putting in a new school garden especially if asphalt has been removed. Even an existing  garden can be tested to make sure the soil contains all the proper nutrients and is free from contaminants.

Los Angeles County Master Gardener, Herb Machleder, offers this recommendation from Peaceful Valley Organic Garden and Farm Supply, located in Grass Valley, Northern California:

1) “Complete Soil Analysis with free booklet” #SVS200 $49.98

This is a very complete analysis of major, minor, and trace nutrients and minerals and all the usual soil characteristics; pH, cation exchange, etc. The booklet is very helpful for interpretation, and also indicates any amendments that would be appropriate and how to order them, on the same web site. The kit includes full instructions and a small addressed package to return the sample for analysis. For a small extra fee, they offer a phone call service with their staff soil expert, to discuss the analysis, if questions remain. I’ve used the service for several of the school garden orchards, when we really weren’t sure of what kind of soil we were dealing with. By using the recommended amendments we very pleased with the fertility results. The phone call service was stated as $10 per minute, but no additional bill was sent for up to 30minutes. They seemed very eager that the results be interpreted properly, and any amendments needed were appropriate.

2) A more limited soil test is called: “NPK Analysis” # SVS100 $29.98 . It also comes with complete instructions and a sample-taking kit. The price is all inclusive.

The print catalog is full of great information on beneficial insects, green manure crops, etc. The website is www.groworganic. com

 

4 Tips for Starting a School Garden with Students

If you’re an elementary school teacher and searching for a way to get your students more engaged with the outdoors and less glued to computer monitors and TV screens, you should consider starting a school garden. Since Michelle Obama started the White House garden as part of her healthy eating and living initiative, many teachers across the country have taken to a project of this sort, thanks to its simplicity and interactivity advantages. Though it may seem mind-boggling to begin with, the reality is that a school garden is actually rather simple to start. All that is needed is a small outdoor space with at least six hours of sunlight, a nearby water source, and the seeds and/or transplants to get started.

Tip #1: Start Small Grow Bigger
It is much easier to expand a small garden then to manage a large garden for those who are inexperienced. One or two raised beds are plenty for an average size class. Choose plant varieties that are easy to manage and quick to mature like radishes and lettuce. Even if you can only invest an hour a week in the garden with your students you will still be able to see spectacular results. After all, a small garden teeming with produce is lot better than a large garden too big to manage.

Tip #2: Don’t try to control everything
One of the best parts of having a school garden is having your class take the reigns with this project. Engage students in the planning process and allow them to choose what plants they want to grow. Have them make signs so they can establish “ownership” and feel proud of their accomplishments. Try giving out individual silk flowers to students who see early successes. The silk flowers will last a long time and are perfect mementos to help keep the students motivated early on.

Tip #3: Do more than just planting
Not everyone has a green thumb, so perhaps some of your less gardening-apt students can help out with other highly important features of the garden. You can have some students paint patio furniture that blends with the colors of the flowers growing in the garden. Patio furniture in bright, summery colors will look great, and the final pieces will give the students more reason to congregate in the garden even just for reading purposes.

Tip #4: Rinse and Repeat
If you’ve raised edible vegetables having a harvest party is a great way for the students to celebrate their success and eat a fresh, healthy meal in the process. Making a big salad that can be enjoyed by all is a great way to go. Then, if the project worked out well for you, think about growing other types of edible gardens like a pizza garden with tomatoes, peppers and onions, or a three-sisters garden with corn, beans, and squash. Once your students experience the joy of tasting the fruits of their labor they’ll definitely want to repeat the project in the next semester or next year.

Burpee Home Gardens® is now accepting applications for the 2012 “I Can Grow” Youth Garden Award.

Burpee Home Gardens® is now accepting applications for the 2012 “I Can Grow” Youth Garden Award. In its third year, the “I Can Grow” program continues to support urban school and community gardens in cities across the United States. To date, the “I Can Grow” program has provided more than 8,000 vegetable and herb plants to help create 16 gardens nationwide.

The 2012 “I Can Grow” Youth Garden Award will be presented to established or start-up school and community gardens that demonstrate well-developed and staffed plans for a youth-centered educational program, with an emphasis on nutrition and food production, environmental awareness, social responsibility and scholastic integration.

Click link above for complete article and link below for application.

Garden grant application available online; due Dec. 23, 2011

 

 

Edible Weeds

Dandelions
To some gardeners weeds are the bane of their existence, to others they are nothing more than plants growing where they shouldn’t. To some enlightened gardeners weeds are a delicacy. The secret really is knowing which are good weeds and which are bad weeds.

Good weeds I will define as edible plants that are growing in places you don’t want them to grow. Bad weeds are everything else.

purslane
Some good weeds are dandelions and purslane.

Dandelions are packed with Vitamins A, C, & K. Purslane has an abundance of Vitamins A & C.

Here’s a recipe for Sauteed Dandelion Greens. And here’s a recipe for Purslane and Parsley Salad

Next time you’re clearing out your beds make sure your not throwing away lunch.

A Child’s Garden of Standards: Linking School Gardens to California Education Standards

seddlings

The California Department of Education has a free publication for downloading regarding school gardens and curriculum. A Child’s Garden of Standards: Linking School Gardens to California Education Standards links garden-based education activities selected from several published educational materials to specific academic content standards for grades two through six in science, history/social sciences, mathematics, and English language arts.

Free download version available here (PDF; 5.22MB; 112pp.)