Dartmouth, Nova Scotia
Please describe your garden, is it raised beds, in the ground, do you have a greenhouse?
Our school garden this year was in 6 raised garden beds. The beds were located on the main school grounds where students go for recess and lunch.
What vegetables/fruit do you grow in your garden? What do you have a difficult time growing in your school garden?
"We planted a number of items in our garden, they included:
We struggled a lot with the vegetables that grow above the soil this year. We had some plants that were eaten by bugs, some appeared to have not had enough water. We planted a number of seeds as well as transplants so the students could experience different levels of growth. When the students planted the seeds, they were not planted in much of an organized manner. This made it difficult to tell what vegetables were planted where and even what could be considered a weed or a plant. During the summer time I re-planted some of the seeds for when students came back in September, which went well since the weather has been warm into the fall. "
Why did your school decide to add a school garden?
As a school for students with learning disabilities, we really try to provide the students with hands on learning experiences anywhere we can. The school garden seemed like a great opportunity to give them that outdoor classroom for multiple courses/grades.
What classes participate in the garden, what subjects are taught in the garden?
The Food and Nutrition/Health classes were mainly responsible for the planting and watering, Math and Math at Work classes did a great job at planning and building planter boxes that were used. During the summer months I asked the summer camp to help with the daily watering and encouraged them to pick any vegetables that were ready during that time.
Who manages the garden day to day? Who manages the garden over the Summer break?
Myself and a fellow teacher managed the garden each day during the school year, then during the summer months I, along with the watering help of the summer camp, cared for the garden.
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 vegetables harvested from the garden were eaten by students and staff. We had planned to donate to the local soup kitchen, however our garden was not as successful as we had hoped.
Do you have community involvement? Do you have parents and volunteers? Have been able to source other funding to help your garden grow?
We wanted to keep the garden small this year as I have very little gardening experience myself, so we have not had parental involvement, however we had our summer camp involved in the care of the garden during the summer.
What are your future plans for the school garden?
We have a parent who has offered to come in and plant winter seeds with the students, and in the spring we will plant our garden again with better knowledge and learned skills from this past year.
Any words of encouragement/tips for a school starting a school garden?
Don't worry about a less than desired outcome your first year! Just giving students the opportunity to play/learn in the dirt makes a world of difference. The experience of the school garden regardless of how much success you had was a learning experience for both the staff and the students.
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