“Change the food in the schools and we can influence how children think. Change the curriculum and teach them how to garden and how to cook and we can show that growing food and cooking and eating together give lasting richness, meaning, and beauty to our lives.” ― Alice Waters
If you have been following me for any length of time, you know I am an advocate for kids in the garden. Over the years, you’ve watched my children grow in my gardens helping to build new raised beds, harvesting the crops, and finally helping prepare the fruits of our labors in the kitchen.
I believe every school in the country should have a school garden in order to teach our children where food comes from. I will be discussing in upcoming blogs how to incorporate kids in the garden, as well as the anonymity of food in our culture today. This is the main reason why I think it is crucial to incorporate school gardens!’
Thankfully, school gardens have become increasingly popular in recent years, and for good reason. Incorporating a garden into a school’s curriculum can have a range of benefits for students, teachers, and the wider community.
In today’s blog post, I am going to provide you with the many benefits of incorporating a school garden and why it’s a worthwhile investment for any educational institution.
Now let’s look at the many benefits school gardens can have!
Let’s Look at the Academic Benefits of School Gardens!
School gardens have the ability to provide a hands-on and engaging way for students to learn about science, math, and other subjects. For example, students can learn about the life cycle of plants, the importance of pollination, and the role of soil nutrients in plant growth. They can also use math skills to measure the growth of plants and calculate the amount of water and fertilizer needed.
School gardens also provide an opportunity to help students develop critical thinking skills as they problem-solve and make decisions about garden design, plant selection, and pest management.
Besides enhancing academic learning, school gardens can also foster teamwork, leadership, and communication skills. Students can work in groups to plan and plant the garden, share responsibilities for watering and weeding, and harvest the produce. They can also take on leadership roles by leading garden tours, organizing fundraising events, and teaching younger students about gardening. Through these activities, students can develop a sense of responsibility, confidence, and teamwork.
What are Some of the Potential Health Benefits of School Gardens?
School gardens can promote healthy eating habits and improve overall health. When kids can grow their own fruits and vegetables, they now have the opportunity to learn about the nutritional value of different foods and develop a taste for fresh, healthy produce. They can also learn about the benefits of eating a variety of fruits and vegetables and the importance of balanced diets.
School gardens can help address issues of food insecurity and promote healthy eating habits among students and their families. The produce grown in the garden can be used in school meals or donated to local food banks, providing fresh and nutritious food to those in need. By involving families in the garden project, schools can also encourage parents and caregivers to incorporate healthy foods into their own meals.
And let’s face it… kids are more likely to try something they decided to grow!
What are Some of the Potential Environmental Benefits of School Gardens?
School gardens can promote environmental awareness and encourage sustainable practices. By learning about the importance of soil health, water conservation, and biodiversity, students can develop a sense of stewardship for the environment. They can also learn about the impact of human activities on the environment and ways to reduce their ecological footprint.
Moreover, school gardens can provide habitat for wildlife and attract pollinators such as bees and butterflies. By planting native species and avoiding the use of pesticides and herbicides, school gardens can help support local ecosystems and promote biodiversity.
This is another opportunity to teach kids about the benefits of organic gardening and incorporating companion planting, rather than using harmful chemicals.
Can the Local Community Benefit From School Gardens?
The answer to this question is a responding YES! School gardens have the ability to serve as a valuable resource for the wider community. By donating produce to local food banks or hosting community events such as farmers’ markets or garden tours, schools can help promote healthy eating habits and support local food systems.
They can also serve as a gathering place for community members, fostering social connections and community involvement.
School gardens can also provide opportunities for intergenerational learning and mentorship. By involving older adults or community members with gardening experience, schools can create meaningful connections between generations and promote lifelong learning.
That Sounds Great! Now, How can I Help Start a School Garden in my Community?
Starting a school garden can seem daunting, but with the right resources and support, it can be a rewarding and successful project. Here are some steps to get started:
Get support from school administrators, teachers, and parents. Starting a school garden requires buy-in from all stakeholders, as well as support for funding and maintenance.
Find a suitable location for the garden. Look for a sunny, well-drained area with access to water and close to the school. Ensure that the site is safe and accessible for students.
Develop a garden plan. Consider the garden’s size, layout, and design, as well as the types of plants to grow. Involve students in the planning process to ensure that the garden reflects their interests and needs.
Secure funding and resources. Look for grants, donations, or partnerships with local organizations or businesses to support the garden’s development and maintenance.
Involve students in the garden project. Encourage students to take ownership of the garden by involving them in the planning, planting, and maintenance. Provide opportunities for leadership and teamwork.
Integrate the garden into the curriculum. Use the garden as a teaching tool to support academic learning and promote healthy lifestyles.
We Have Our School Garden! Now, How Do We Maintain It?
Maintaining a school garden requires ongoing care and attention. Here are some tips to keep the garden healthy and productive:
Develop a maintenance plan. Create a schedule for watering, weeding, fertilizing, and pest management. Involve students in the maintenance activities to ensure that they take ownership of the garden.
Provide ongoing support and training for teachers and volunteers. Ensure that they have the knowledge and skills to maintain the garden and address any issues that may arise.
Use sustainable practices. Avoid the use of pesticides and herbicides, and use organic methods for weed and pest control. Compost garden waste to improve soil health.
Involve the wider community. Encourage families and community members to volunteer in the garden and participate in events such as harvest festivals or farmers’ markets.
What are Some Curriculum Ideas for School Gardens?
School gardens can be integrated into a range of subjects and learning activities. Here are some curriculum ideas for school gardens:
Science: Learn about plant growth, soil health, and the life cycle of plants.
Math: Use the garden to teach measurement, geometry, and data analysis.
Language arts: Write garden journals, poetry, or stories about the garden.
Social studies: Learn about the history of agriculture, food systems, and cultural traditions related to gardening.
Art: Use the garden as inspiration for art projects such as painting, sculpture, or photography.
Nutrition: Learn about the nutritional value of different fruits and vegetables, and use the garden to prepare healthy meals and snacks.
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“You are also far less likely to waste food when you have nurtured it from a seed into a plant.” — Darina Allen
Asparagus is one of my favorite vegetables. It’s tall wispy stalks teasing to cut back and cook on a grill slathered with thyme infused olive oil… oh yum. Spring’s bounty can’t come quickly enough!
As many of you follow me on Facebook and Instagram know, I just recently received my Purple Passion and Martha Washington asparagus crowns. Well, I certainly am not ready to plant these beauties, and I need to make sure they remain moist and viable for when I am ready to plant them.
Check out my video at my YouTube Channel!
Here’s my easy step by step on how to store your asparagus crowns!
Here is a super quick and easy tutorial on how to store your asparagus crowns if you receive them before you are ready to plant them. Be sure to check out my blog on How-to Plant and Care for Asparagus if you missed it!
Step 1: Carefully remove the asparagus crowns from packaging, making sure not to cut any of the roots when opening.
Step 2: Take 4 to 5 sheets of paper towel and stack together, then get them wet; wring out about 90 percent of the water.
Step 3: Place the wet paper towels on your counter or table; Carefully layer the asparagus crowns on the center of the sheets.
Step 4: Carefully fold the wet paper towels over the crowns like an envelope.
Step 5: Place the packaged asparagus crowns into a zip lock type storage bag; carefully press out most of the air being sure not to press on the crowns.
Step 6: Place the package in your vegetable crisper drawer or in the fridge in a location they won’t get crushed or banged around.
Be sure to let your family members know what they are and to be careful.
Check the package weekly to make sure the paper towels are still damp. If they begin to dry out, repeat the process being careful not to damage the crowns or roots.
Once you are ready to plant your asparagus crowns, remove them from the packaging and follow my planting instructions found at my blog post!
“Love is the flower of life, and blossoms unexpectedly and without law, and must be plucked where it is found, and enjoyed for the brief hour of its duration. ” D. H. Lawrence
Today I am going to discuss my top 9 favorite perennial fruits & vegetables to grow for the home gardener and how to care for them! Of course there are so many more, especially for those of you who live in Zones 6 through 10, however I really only feel comfortable providing all of you information on plants I’ve personally grown. But don’t fret friends… in a few short years Dave & I are retiring down south. We are aiming towards Savannah Georgia… oh how I long for those wonderful warm winters!
Perennial vegetables are a great choice for home gardeners because they come back year after year, providing a steady supply of fresh produce without the need for replanting. These are all super easy to grow when provided the proper growing environment and care. Some require pruning such as strawberries, but the rest you can just plant, walk away, watch them grow, and dine on deliciousness for years to come.
Click on the video below as I discuss my top nine favorite perennial fruits & vegetables for home gardeners to consider growing, along with tips & tricks on how to care for each of them. Enjoy friends!
You will find a plethora of information there, so be sure to check it out.
Thanks for joining me today!
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Until next time Dragonfly friends,
Remember to eat fresh, shop local, & have a happy day!