Get the kids into shape for the future. School is the perfect place to begin the lifestyle they will lead. A school garden club will encourage outdoor exercise, an interest in all things that grow, a knowledge of insects and wildlife, a healthy diet and a community spirit.
It is never too early to begin. All it takes is one enthusiastic teacher to start the ball rolling.
A kids garden club can be arranged as an activity during recess or lunch.
Get the children to help every step of the way so that they learn to enjoy the satisfaction of creating, planting, nurturing, harvesting and finally cooking their home grown produce.
What you will need to begin.
- Plenty of open space for raised garden beds that should be narrow enough for small arms to reach the centre. Vegetables need sun and fresh air.
- Water for irrigation, a nearby tap for the hose and later on, as the gardens develop, a water tank
- A shed or covered area for storage of the tools. Children will learn to respect the equipment that they acquire.
- Compost bins to recycle the vegetable waste from the school canteen and school lunches
- Tools – trowels, spades, forks, gardening gloves, wet weather gear and sun protection for the children
- A worm farm to provide fertiliser
- Use recycled products wherever possible to encourage the children to be creative and to minimise cost and waste. But make sure that the materials used are child friendly, no rusty metal or timber with splinters!
- Finally an enthusiastic group of parents, teachers, children and plenty of patience and imagination to get the garden growing.
To make the garden club a success it needs to be well organized from the beginning. Raise funds by involving all the children from the start. The garden needs the support of the whole school.
- Put a compost bucket in each classroom area for fruit peel and vegetable waste (avoid meat that will encourage vermin), to be collected daily
- Ask parents for donations of seed.
- Have a stall in the school grounds to sell your produce on a regular basis
- Run a scarecrow competition at the school fete.
- Send out a newsletter to both school and community for volunteer help. It is amazing the hidden talent and interest that will be found.
- From the outset organise a weekly meeting to plan the ongoing development and production of the garden
- Make sure that the things you grow are fast maturing crops to keep the interest of the children.
- Grow flowers and herbs as well as veggies, teach companion planting.
- Above all make it fun and involve the children every step of the way.
Suitable Autumn planting
Broad beans, bush beans and climbing beans, sugar snap peas, snow peas, and peas, broccoli, brussels sprouts, carrots, lettuce, onions, parsnips, cabbage, cauliflower and strawberries.
Parsley, oregano, mint, chives and coriander
Flowers for fun, insect control and butterflies
Sweet Peas, English marigolds, violas, cornflowers, English daisies and primulas are all suitable as companion plants that won’t grow out of control.