Please describe your garden, is it raised beds, in the ground, do you have a greenhouse?
We now have 9 raised beds of various sizes. Surrounding the vegetable, herb and flower gardens is a shade structure and outdoor classroom. These have been funded by other grants and sources but serve to have the entire area.
What vegetables/fruit do you grow in your garden? What do you have a difficult time growing in your school garden?
We have had tomatoes, peppers, kale, carrots, onions, eggplant, beets, sunflowers, beans, lettuce, peas and wild flowers.
Depending on the year...peas were tought this year, any vine plants are difficult only because they take up so much room.
We also have many herbs like parsley, mint, oregano and sage.
Why did your school decide to add a school garden?
We began about 10 years ago because a grant was started by our local Health unit to promote healthy eating and to help teach kids where their food is coming from. We started with 2 beds.
What classes participate in the garden, what subjects are taught in the garden?
The classes that participate vary. I find the most success for planting is having the junior grades involved. Generally, classes who want to help in the spring, sign up to plant 1 bed each. I often rely on the intermediates for the heavy lifting and digging.
Who manages the garden day to day? Who manages the garden over the Summer break?
Those of us on the committee help to manage the gardens day to day, but always taking some students along to teach and guide them. We have a summer watering schedule as well involving willing staff.
What do you do with the harvest from your garden? Do you have a harvest celebration? Do you use it in the cafeteria, or culinary classes? Do you donate some of the produce?
The summer harvest is open to any families who want to come and take food, but honestly, we need to do a better job of advertising that in June when school ends.
Do you have community involvement? Do you have parents and volunteers? Have been able to source other funding to help your garden grow?
Some parents have offered to help with construction, planting and watering, but again, we could do better in this area.
What are your future plans for the school garden?
I think the 9 beds are sufficient for now, but we would like to use the entire area as more of a outdoor classroom teaching location.
Any words of encouragement/tips for a school starting a school garden?
Use the kids for everything! They are always eager and generally fascinated by watching the plants grow week to week.
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