School Gardens in the News

1) Chipley, FL
Chipley Garden Club Members Help Students Plant Terrariums

Members of the Chipley Garden Club once again visited Kate Smith Elementary School this week in preparation for the 2010 Youth Fair to be held in Washington County.
Previously the garden club members handed out live plants to be grown by the students, but this week they were on hand to help students prepare and plant their own terrariums that will later be entered in the Youth Fair.

2) Wilmington, NC
Alderman Elementary students install rain garden

Alderman Elementary third graders stepped outside the classroom Monday morning to learn about the environment. Volunteers from Wal-Mart and the PTA gave students a hand installing a 2,500 square foot rain garden.
The garden was placed near the entrance of the school to catch and treat rain water from the schools roof and parking lot. Students learned what it takes to make a rain garden.

3) Tampa, FL
Volunteers build reading garden at Tampa’s DeSoto Elementary School

Jalissa Stanley vigorously sanded a bench as her classmates and other volunteers planted flowers, placed pavers and built a pond in a grassy courtyard at DeSoto Elementary School on Saturday.
Jalissa, a third-grader, said she looks forward to bringing books out to the new reading garden that was built in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month.

4) Yakima, WA
They like to talk garden at McClure Elementary

It isn’t difficult to get kids at Yakima’s McClure Elementary School to talk about their garden.
In fact, schoolchildren recently had so much to say about their nationally certified Schoolyard Habitat that there just wasn’t room to include all their ideas in a story, set to be published Saturday in the Yakima Herald-Republic and at yakimaherald.com.

5) Baltimore, MD
At farm run by Baltimore city schools, they’re planting veggies. . .and ideas

About 15 miles from their campus near the tattered corner of Belair Road and Erdman Avenue, fifth graders from The Green School wandered across 33-acres of farmland and marveled at the city’s newest classroom.
It was a field trip to Great Kids Farm, a key component of the Baltimore city school system’s push to provide fresh fruits and vegetables that students can eat at lunch and appreciate for a lifetime.

6) Silver Spring, MD
Student bee detectives use garden as ‘living laboratory’

There’s a buzz at Saint John the Baptist Catholic School about a new garden that’s helping students understand plant biology, gardening and bee pollination patterns. Full of lavender plants, marigolds and, of course, plenty of bees, young students are getting an early start in biology as they observe the insects and how plants grow.

School Garden Preparation – Dorsey High School

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Preparing a garden bed for seed sowing is a difficult task, in fact it is the most difficult task we’ll perform in the garden all year. Over the summer, weeds grows unfettered, plants die, and the soil is depleted of nutrition.

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All those planting beds need to be cleared and amended.

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Thankfully, at Dorsey High School, we had a few students show up for garden work on a Saturday and they did a fabulous job.

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For approximately two and a half hours students weeded, removed bermuda grass, old plants, and completed some seriously needed site prep work.

See video, How to Amend a Raised Bed, to view the process of adding amendments (preferably organic compost) and turning (or aerating) the soil.

School Gardens in the News

1) Nashville, TN
Nashville school gardens get kids outdoors

The three Eakin Elementary students pulled and tugged until they glimpsed the top of the orange vegetable. “I think I can get it,” they took turns saying. After much effort, their eyes grew big when they finally saw the carrot and its roots. “Can we eat it?” they all asked simultaneously.

2) Moraga, CA
Garden helps Moraga students grow

It’s a typical math lesson in a not-so-typical classroom.
“How many cups in a quart?” Alice Noyes asked more than a dozen fifth-graders sitting outside on a sunny Friday morning.
“Four,” replied Ethan Valencia, who was then dispatched to mix 2 quarts of water with 1 quart of salt to make a mixture for seasoning seeds from sunflowers planted by students last year.
Welcome to the Rheem Elementary School garden.

3) Baltimore, MD
Baltimore schools go vegetarian one day a week

When the assistant White House chef Sam Kass visited a Baltimore school last week for lunch, he was treated to vegetarian eggplant dip that the students had made with vegetables and herbs from their own organic school garden.
It’s all part of an effort by the Baltimore school system to introduce children to healthier and more sustainable foods. In pursuit of that goal, lunches are now vegetarian every Monday in school cafeterias across the city.

4) Brooklyn, NY
Little Green Thumbs

One of my fondest grade-school memories involves a sweet potato, toothpicks, and a glass of water. There was something magical about watching as a tangle of roots first appeared in the water, followed by leafy tendrils that spilled over the glass and then extended wildly across the kitchen windowsill.

5) Palm Springs, CA
Schools take the lead in teaching students how to live a healthy life

Childhood obesity rates have skyrocketed nationally, tripling in less than 30 years. It is a serious problem that endangers students’ health and taxes the medical system.

Scarecrows in the Garden

"Go Skatecrow Go!" by students at Fayette Middle School

"Go Skatecrow Go!" by students at Fayette Middle School

Scarecrows in a school garden is a fun activity. The Atlanta Botanical Garden is currently exhibiting its annual “Scaregrows in the Garden”. See link for pics and ideas.

Target Field Trip Grants Program

Deadline: Nov. 3, 2009

As part of the Target commitment to supporting education, Target Field Trip Grants program will award 5,000 grants of up to $800 each to U.S. educators to fund a field trip for their students. Target Field Trip Grants may be used to fund trips ranging from visits to art museums and environmental projects to cultural events and civic experiences. Education professionals who are at least 18 years old and employed by an accredited K-12 public, private or charter school in the United States that maintains a 501(c)(3) or 509(a)(1) tax-exempt status are eligible to apply. For more information, and to apply, visit target.com.

Starting from Seed

The vegetables we grow are mostly annuals. They start from seed, flower,
and end as seeds all within a defined year. That’s their life cycle.

Bolted Lettuce

Bolted Lettuce

Save some seeds this year.  The easiest are cilantro and lettuce.
We also do arugula, fennel, marigolds, beans and sunflowers.
See Starting from Seed for more instructional material.

marigold

Marigold Seeds

Support School Gardens – Contact Your Representative

On August 4, 2009, an amendment introduced by Senator Bernie Sanders of
Vermont to provide 2 million dollars to fund a “school community garden
pilot program” was unanimously approved as part of the Senate Ag
Appropriations Bill, which passed the Senate on the same date.

Gardens are powerful educational tools, providing opportunities for children to experience the natural world as they develop strong academic skills and positive attitudes toward fresh fruits and vegetables, and learn important sociological skills that enhance the quality of their lives. Says one teacher from the Arnold Schwarzenegger Charter Elementary School in California, “Children demonstrated a better understanding of concepts and applied them in more sophisticated ways after having instruction in the garden.”

The Sanders amendment funding the program will now go through the conference committee process with the House of Representatives.

I encourage you to contact your representatives in Washington to urge them to keep the funding for the program in the final Agriculture Appropriations bill.

Please click here to send a letter in support of the funding.

As you contact Congress about the bill, I recommend focusing on members of the conference committee, who are listed below. These are the members who will have the most sway over whether the funding is ultimately kept in the bill, and we anticipate that they will make their decision by the end of the September 2009. Thank you again for all of your help!

Sen. Kohl (D-WI)
330 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510
Sen. Pryor (D-AR)
255 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510
Rep. Farr (D-CA)
1126 Longworth House Office Building
Washington DC 20515
Sen. Brownback (R-KS)
303 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510
Sen. Specter (D-PA)
711 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510
Rep. Boyd (D-FL)
1227 Longworth House Office Building
Washington DC 20515
Sen. Inouye (D-HI)
722 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510
Sen. Bennett (R-UT)
702 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510
Rep. Bishop (D-GA)
2429 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington DC 20515
Sen. Cochran (R-MS)
113 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510
Sen. Bond (R-MO)
274 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510
Rep. Davis (D-TN)
410 Cannon House Office Building
Washington DC 20515
Sen. Harkin (D-IA)
731 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510
Sen. McConnell (R-KY)
361A Russell Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510
Rep. Kaptur (D-OH)
2186 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington DC 20515
Sen. Feinstein (D-CA)
331 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510
Sen. Collins (R-ME)
413 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510
Rep. Hinchey (D-NY)
2431 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington DC 20515
Sen. Durbin (D-IL)
309 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510
Rep. DeLauro (D-CT)
2413 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington DC 20515
Rep. Jackson (D-IL)
2419 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington DC 20515
Sen. Johnson (D-SD)
136 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510
Rep. Kingston (R-GA)
2368 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington DC 20515
Rep. Latham (R-IA)
2217 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington DC 20515
Sen. Nelson (D-NE)
716 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510
Rep. Obey (D-WI)
2314 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington DC 20515
Rep. Emerson (R-MO)
2440 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington DC 20515
Sen. Reed (D-RI)
728 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510
Rep. Lewis (R-CA)
2112 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington DC 20515
Rep. Alexander (R-LA)
316 Cannon House Office Building
Washington DC 20515

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONACT:
Office of Senator Bernard Sanders
332 Senate Dirksen Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
(202) 224-5141