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6 Things We've Learned about School Gardens

Orono School Garden- Kids DayThis is our second year planting a school garden, and we have learned many things. Here is a list of what we've learned!

1. Send 2 classrooms down at a time. One class room can be planting while the other class learns about composting, gardening tips and/or plays a game. Half way through the period, switch the classes so they each have a turn at planting. This is much easier for your volunteers and master gardeners to manage one class at a time.

2Orono School Garden- Children Planting . Let students plant a variety of seeds, bulbs and plants in their school garden.  At our school, each class has their own raised garden bed, and it made for excellent team building.

3. Another big hit was to let each student have their very own plant by giving the students a paper coffee cup to fill with soil and a bean or pea seed (large enough to see and handle) to plant in their cup. They loved having their very own plant to water and care for in their classroom. The seeds sprouted in about a week.

Orono School Garden4. Most importantly, we learned you must have a plan to care for the school garden over the summer months. The first year we did not have a firm plan and the burden fell to the custodial staff and a few volunteers. This year we solved the problem by creating “Adopt a Week”. Parents signed up on line at a web site called Sign Up Genius. It’s a great website that allowed the parent to see what weeks were available, sign up,  and have an automatic email reminder  sent to them.

5. Offer all the produce that becomes ripe during their week as an incentive. We had our whole summer filled with the student’s families in just a few days.

6. Orono School GardenLastly, plan your planting day on a hot day and spray the kids with the hose at the end of their planting session. They will squeal with delight! It's nice to know that kids still get a thrill out of a simple garden hose!

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