School Gardens in the News

1) San Diego, CA
BRETT: Gardens are a solid investment

My first thought when I read that Paul Ecke Central Elementary in Encinitas was awarded a $30,000 grant for a school garden was, “that seems like a lot of money to invest in a garden.” Then I thought again.

I thought about things that children need to grow up strong and healthy: exercise, fresh air, nutritious food, a connection to living things and a sense of purpose and achievement.

2) Franklin TN
Garden designed for math, science

Raised flowerbeds in the shapes of trapezoids, triangles and pentagons are just the beginnings of a new math tool for Freedom Intermediate School students.

Between two classroom wings at the school, the garden will feature native Tennessee plants and will give students a chance to visually and physically understand basic math concepts.

3) Jacksonville, FL
Ortega Elementary students sell produce to benefit food bank

In late September, about 20 students from Ortega Elementary School got their hands dirty by digging in the dirt.

After a lot of hard work and dirty nails, they had a garden filled with seeds that would one day reap banana peppers, cucumbers, cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower.

4) Columbia, SC
Students harvesting rewards of gardening

Seventh-grader Chauncey Rogers was so interested in his first gardening experiences at school, he asked if he could have a plant to take home. He dug a hole for the collards in his backyard, gave them a good watering and has kept an eye on them ever since.

5) Missoula, MT
Lowell School selling cookbook with recipes inspired by student garden

When Lowell School put in a garden last spring, all who call the school home – its students, teachers and parents – learned far more than how to grow food. They found inspiration in the humble, daily work it takes for a garden to come to life.

It was so much fun, and so rewarding, that the school community set about a plan to keep the garden going. What better way than to create a cookbook with recipes the students and their families used when they harvested the school’s bounty?

6) Lake Charles, LA
Local students grow food for good cause

Months of hard work in the garden are paying off for students at Ralph F. Wilson Elementary School. This week students are picking the harvested fall crops they have been growing since September.

“This is the first time we’ve actually harvested,” says Linda Hooper, a fifth grade teacher at Ralph F. Wilson Elementary.

7) Pune, India
Now, medicinal plants to take root in city schools

With the intention of taking students back to grandmother’s remedies and to the wonders of ayurvedic/herbal medicines, the directorate of social forestry will introduce the concept of herbal gardens in various schools across the state from early 2010.

The directorate will set up the herbal gardens under the promotional scheme of the National Medicinal Plants Board (NMPB), Government of India.

8) Portland, OR
Woodward Gardens, Mary Woodward Elementary School

Woodward Gardens is seen as an outdoor extension of Mary Woodward’s Science Program. All aspects of the Garden can only occur from cooperation. This cooperation involves cooperation of the children with one another and their teachers and parents. There are a lot of parents who garden, but who hadn’t realized that their skills could be valuable to teachers tight on time and resources. Our garden coordinator arranges for appropriate resource people or parents to help with outdoor or classroom learning sessions, maintain a resource closet, plan lessons and plantings with teachers, and oversee garden maintenance. Students help fund ongoing supplies with our annual plant sale. The development of this garden has resulted in a greater variety of learning experiences, a sense of stewardship for our natural resources in our children, and stronger ties to the community.

Winter Sunflower

We have a volunteer sunflower growing in our garden. Volunteers are plants that come up on their own without being intentionally planted. In the  case of our sunflower we had planted some nearby last spring. In another garden we had lots of volunteers that sprang up after deadheading the season before. Its a good idea to know what seedlings look like so if any pop up in your garden you can let them continue growing instead of weeding them out.

winter-sunflower2

Winter sunflowers don’t grow as large as normal sunflowers and sometimes they have funny faces (like the one above), but here in Southern California where the winters are extremely mild, they do grow and flower.

At West Hollywood Elementary School we are playing a game with our rogue sunflower. Whoever guesses the correct height of the sunflower once it flowers gets to keep the flower (assuming the squirrels don’t get to it first).

rogue-sunflower

School Gardens in the News

1) Stillwater, OK
Recycled rainwater sprouts Skyline gardens

A rainwater recycling program at Skyline Elementary School quickly sprouted more than just roots and took on a life of its own.

During a whirlwind of activity the last eight months, Skyline students and staff have teamed up with representatives from Oklahoma State University, the city and Sustainable Stillwater, a community environmental organization, to build a cistern that will help support a garden behind the school.

2) Algonquin, IL
Garden a hands-on lesson for Scout

Sometimes, Shelby Cieslinski of Algonquin said, she halfheartedly regrets teaching her children to volunteer. Like when, after leading her oldest son Jonathan’s Boy Scout troop, her youngest son Josh assumed she and her husband, Thomas, would volunteer to lead his, too.

But late last month, she couldn’t have been prouder of Josh when the Community Unit School District 300 Board of Education recognized him for his work designing and implementing a butterfly garden at Lake in the Hills Elementary School.

3) Australia
Students dig in and get their vegie patch started

BEAUTY Point Public School students will get help from the countryside when growing pumpkins for the Daily’s Great Backyard Challenge.

A teacher at the school owns a property in the country and has promised to bring in “good garden soil” to help grow giant pumpkins, science teacher Mirelle Farrell said.

4) Zebulon, NC
School Gardens Will Grow Food to Eat, To Learn, And To Share

Elementary school teachers are going green in Franklin County, NC with installation of school gardens. Teachers are adding gardening to their lesson plans for science, nutrition, and other subjects. Produce grown in these gardens will feed the students, the teachers, and other local residents.

Working with Franklin County school teachers and Dale Byrns, Creative Education Office, several gardens are being installed. In Spring 2010, over 100 elementary school students will be growing food for themselves, learning about nutrition, working in the garden, and sharing their produce in the local community.

5) Temecula, CA
TEMECULA: Garden program gets state honor

A program in Temecula schools that allows children to work in gardens on their campuses and learn about growing food and plants has earned the district a statewide award.

There are gardens at 22 Temecula Valley Unified School District campuses, where children gets hands-on lessons about topics such as science, weather and healthy foods.

6) Los Angeles, CA
Lunch with Alice Waters in Larchmont elementary school’s garden

When Alice Waters talks about improving school lunch, she doesn’t just mean making the chicken nuggets more nutritious. She wants to see a table set, maybe with flowers. She wants children to have enough time to have conversations as they eat.

Kids off the Couch

Two resourceful moms have built a website dedicated to getting your kids off the couch. It is called appropriately, KidsOffTheCouch.com. Each week they feature a memorable movie for the family to watch together and couple it with an off-couch activity.

Some of their garden related activities include:

1) The Secret Garden + Edible Gardens

2) My Fair Lady + A Flower Market Visit

3) FernGully: The Last Rainforest + Botanical Gardens

primary_413

Lastly, as a bonus, the illustrations by Laura Cornell are brilliant.

Seed Sale from Botanical Interests

Botanical Interests, Inc., supplier of quality seeds to independent garden centers and health food grocery stores, is extremely interested in helping schools with their school gardens.

For schools needing NEW seed for their gardens, email shaynal@botanicalinterests.com for a 40% discount code off any seed purchased from botanicalinterests.com.

Include the name of your school and your contact information. Old or donated seed with poor germination is very discouraging to kids and teachers when it doesn’t germinate after so many hours of preparing a garden!

Also check out http://www.botanicalinterests.com/schools.php for easy, paperless seed school fundraisers.”

For more information about School Garden Fundraisers see my Q&A with Curtis Jones, President of Botanical Interests.

Botanical Interests

Potting up

When starting seeds indoors it is sometimes necessary to repot new seedlings into a bigger container rather than plant them immediately outdoors. We call this practice potting up. In the enclosed video I am potting up Broccoli into a peat pot which can then be transplanted at later date directly into the soil.

School Gardens in the News

1) Redlands, CA
School recognized for edible garden

Redlands High School’s special education students make meals from the produce they cultivate on-campus. Their work received an honorable mention Tuesday for the School Garden of the Year Award, by the California School Garden Network.

2) Denver, CO
Gardening uniting generations

Kathy Komarek, 61, steadies a pumpkin for Esther Hung Pai, 10, as she scrapes the seeds out. Toward the end, it gets too hard for Esther’s tiny hands to clean out her pumpkin, so Kathy takes over. Younger and older hands continue working in unison.
Through a program called Connecting Generations, those hands have been working together in unison at Harrington Elementary in the Cole neighborhood.

3) Turlock, CA
Elementary students take gardening to a new level

Second grader Amelia Boyd’s favorite part of the Julien Elementary Garden Celebration is the taste testing. Along with tasting the variety of plants, she  danced to garden songs, learned about nutrition, and studied the process of photosynthesis on Friday.
“I love the Garden Celebration because we get to sing garden songs and the tasting is going to be fun, but I hate pears,” Boyd said.

4) Liverpool, United Kingdom
How does your recycled school garden grow?

PUPILS at St Anne’s Primary School in Rock Ferry are set to benefit from a project to spruce up their garden.
They are using reclaimed timber, to create a pergola and planters, as well as recycled plants, stones and galvanised steel for seating.

5) Pittsburgh, PA
Carrick students raise butterflies, watch them take flight

“It’s called controlled chaos,” Principal Vincent Lewandowski said with a smile. With a whistle blow, he was quickly able to quiet the nearly 300 students in grades two through five assembled on the playground of Pittsburgh Public Schools’ Roosevelt Elementary.
On a sunny morning last week, the students were anxiously awaiting the release of 60 monarch butterflies raised at the school’s intermediate campus in Carrick.

6) Palm Springs, CA
Forget bag lunch; students grow theirs

Col. Mitchell Paige Middle School students will plant their own produce in their new community garden this year.
Work on the 2,400-square-foot garden at the northeast edge of the school started last week.