Archive for the ‘Learning Garden’ Category

Fertilizing the Garden with the 4R’s of Nutrient Management

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016
The garden looks green and healthy. I spent the last hour pulling weeds! Boy, do they grow fast! The carrots are thinner than I want and my green bean stand is weak as well. I will plant a few more rows of green beans to make up for what didn’t germinate earlier this spring. I have spent hours planting, watering, tilling, hoeing, weeding and now it’s time to fertilize! (more…)

The Resources You Need To Start Your School Garden

Tuesday, March 15th, 2016
  I believe every school should have a garden. Think back to your education, what do you remember? What teacher had an impact? I bet those memories are tied to an activity or teacher who brought innovation and experiential learning to the classroom.   What makes a school garden successful? Purpose, People and Passion   “Gardening requires lots of water – most of it in the form of perspiration.” -Lou Erickson   Purpose: The success of a school garden depends upon the fertility of the soil and the number of times the garden is used. The garden has to have purpose. The class has to have a reason to visit the garden, if not it sits idle, full of potential and completely untapped. Bring the class to the garden every day, even if just for a minute. A garden that is seen is a garden that thrives. Find curriculum that enhances the classroom academic standards. Use curriculum that gives you a reason to spend time in the garden; incorporate science, math, English, reading, nutrition and exercise into garden time. If the garden has purpose, it will be used and it will produce more than fruit; it will produce knowledge, understanding, application, and change.   People: It’s nearly impossible to build, maintain and grow a school garden by yourself. It takes a team of people. Create a committee; include staff, custodial team members, administration, parents and students. Communicate frequently, share a vision and move forward together.   Passion: A garden is living and it takes dedication to make it productive, especially in a school setting. Most school gardens begin when one or two individuals have a strong desire. Passion can dwindle as weeds grow, in addition to time and financial constraints. The passion to keep a garden growing must be continually fertilized with…

10 Ways Soil Nutrients are Similar to Human Nutrients

Thursday, September 18th, 2014
“Show me your hands! Wow, they look too clean! Let’s get them dirty!” School is way more fun when the students get to dig in! I am a regular volunteer at our school garden and the students love to see me in the hallway because they know they are going to get dirty while they learn. With almost every garden lesson we talk about the importance of fertile soil. To make it relevant to the students, I often compare their needs to the needs of plants. Humans and plants both have nutritional needs. Whether you in the garden, the kitchen, or at school, you too can teach the importance of human and plant nutrition. Here are ten ways soil nutrients are similar to human nutrients. Nutrients for plants mainly come from the soil. Nutrients for humans primarily come from food, often food grown in the soil. Potassium helps human control muscles and the rhythm of the heart. In plants, potassium helps plants control and use water efficiently. In the context of plant requirements, carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen are called the non-mineral nutrients. People need these too. The full list of essential nutrients both humans and plants need includes manganese, magnesium, molybdenum, iron, copper, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, hydrogen, phosphorus, sulfur, and chlorine. Nutrition labels & fertilizer bag labels give a clear breakdown of the nutrients provided. If only I didn’t have to worry about pesky calories like a pea plant! All of the essential nutrients plants and humans need can be found on the periodic table of elements. Iron in humans helps move oxygen. Iron helps the body make hemoglobin that moves oxygen and hemoglobin through the blood. This is similar to phosphorus moving energy around the plant. Calcium equals strong bones for humans. Whereas in plants, nitrogen helps grow strong stalks.…

School Garden Spotlight: Tony Jensen

Monday, March 24th, 2014
Mr. Jensen, agriculture teacher in Nebraska, has always spent a lot of time outside.  From landscaping with his wife to activities like hiking and camping, he knows the value of getting some fresh air.  Now, with the creation of a growing dome, his students are able to connect with nature while at school!  The garden is almost a year old and has already had two successful seasons of growing vegetables.  Below, Mr. Jensen shares the challenges and opportunities of creating a school garden. Name: Tony Jensen School: Freeman Public School County, State: Gage County, Nebraska Grade, Class: 7-12th Grade Agriculture   Tell us about your background with soil science, nutrients, and gardening. I have always enjoyed being outdoors doing activities like fishing, hiking, and camping.  My wife has a horticulture background so our family spends a lot of time in the garden and working on landscaping around our home and community. Why did you decide to start a school garden? We constructed a growing dome greenhouse in May 2013 and are using the raised beds inside the growing dome to grow vegetables year-round.  We then donate our harvests to local food banks and pantries to provide for our neighbors in need. To me, there are many teachable moments that come from this facility.  We can teach about crop production, soil science, renewable energy, healthy eating, food safety, and service to others through hands-on activities. What were the first steps in making the growing dome a reality?  We researched a feasible option for a greenhouse structure that would meet the needs of our school, we set goals for our project, and then began raising funds for the structure. What did you grow and how did you choose that plant?  The first year, we decided to experiment with a variety of different vegetables to…

Garden Spotlight: Sue Meggers & Hannah Ludwig

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013
Sue Meggers has gardened for many reasons over the course of her life.  When she was young, she gardened because her grandparents did.   (more…)

Garden Spotlight: Micah Weber

Thursday, October 17th, 2013
"Just plant it, seed is cheap!" says Micah Weber of Rock Valley, Iowa.  Mr. Weber has been the Agriculture Education Instructor for grades seven through twelve at Rock Valley Community School for the past 13 years.   (more…)

How-To: Harvest Sunflower Seeds

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013
As local farmers begin harvesting the corn and soybean fields around our school, I had the opportunity to help my daughter’s first grade class learn how to harvest sunflower seeds.  Last spring, as kindergartners, they planted sunflowers in front of the school.  Little did they know, they were planting a delicious snack they would enjoy in the fall!   (more…)

School Garden Spotlight: John Cole

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013
John Cole heard about the Helping Communities Grow program for FFA chapters and thought, "my students would enjoy that."  Little did he know, deciding to participate in the competition would lead to reconnecting with a classmate from over 40 years ago and so, so much more.   (more…)

School Garden Spotlight: Tracy Mendoza

Monday, September 23rd, 2013
"Gardens make children better, happier and more helpful" is Tracy Mendoza's motto when talking about her students and their school garden. (more…)

Smithsonian Exhibit Satisfies Food History Craving

Friday, September 6th, 2013
From the time you step off the curb, you begin experiencing the Smithsonian through their expansive gardens. About 20 Master Gardeners of Northern Virginia recently took a “field trip” to the Smithsonian Museum of American History. (more…)

School Garden Spotlight: Sarah Tucker

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013
"Start small, then let it gain momentum," is the advice Sarah Tucker would give someone starting a school garden. (more…)