Please describe your garden, is it raised beds, in the ground, do you have a greenhouse?
Raised beds ( 2 feet deep) made from untreated 6 x 6 inch cedar. We do not have a greenhouse (yet!)
What vegetables/fruit do you grow in your garden? What do you have a difficult time growing in your school garden?
We chose to grow heirloom or organic varieties of pumpkins, turnips, carrots, sweet peppers, celery and radishes. We also planted some saskatoon and current bushes. We found that the turnips and radishes did not do well at all, but we didn't plant until late June because we were constructing the beds in May/June. The summer was also very hot and dry.
Why did your school decide to add a school garden?
Our student action group requested it, and as teacher advisors we felt it would be a great school community building activity, a nice legacy to leave the school, and serve as a hands on experiential piece. We also constructed raised gardens to plant native flowers and we plan on adding a bee hive to our roof in 2018! All of these projects tied in nicely.
What classes participate in the garden, what subjects are taught in the garden?
All of them helped to construct and plant the gardens. Art classes and photography classes, math, science, and ELA descriptive writing.
Who manages the garden day to day? Who manages the garden over the Summer break?
The student action group during the school year. In the summer we had a rotating list of staff and student volunteers come in to weed and water on a regular basis.
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?
We didn't have as much produce as we would have liked because we planted so late and because of the hot dry summer, but we did have celery, peppers, carrots and pumpkins to do try and taste. It was interesting to see how heirloom varieties are so different from what is available in the store. Next year we hope to plant earlier so we can have more available for the foods lab and will plan for early and late maturing crops a little better.
Do you have community involvement? Do you have parents and volunteers? Have been able to source other funding to help your garden grow?
We have seen a lot of community interest in the garden since it was built. Many people enjoyed it over the summer and would stop by to help our staff volunteers on a spontaneous basis. We received funding from the Toyota Evergreen Foundation, as well as from the city of Winnipeg, and from Manitoba Ed/Manitoba Hydro.
What are your future plans for the school garden?
To start planning in January for spring planting and to start seedlings as well. We have been talking about either developing a green house or indoor growing racks with lights. We are getting a bee hive as well, so we are looking at ways of teaching how the flower gardens, food gardens, and insect populations work together.
Any words of encouragement/tips for a school starting a school garden?
Don't give up. There are lots of challenges, and logistical issues, but the amount of engagement from students and staff here has been amazing. The learning opportunities are endless, as are the connections to sustainable living lessons. And just to be able to build something and "play" in the dirt is incredible for students!
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