It’s that time of year again, when you realize the summer has flown by and school is just around the corner! Are you planning for a successful year in the school garden? Whether your garden has been a hub of activity for the past few months or perhaps left a little neglected while students were away, it’s important to begin thinking about how your growing space will fit into the new school year.
While the start of school is undeniably busy (as are the weeks leading up to it) try to take the time to complete these five simple steps to help ensure that your school garden isn’t left in the dust.
- If you haven’t already, begin planting crops for a fall harvest. If you want something that will be ready for young gardeners to pick right when they get back to school consider seeding a bed of radishes, which mature in 3-4 weeks.
- Celebrate your summer volunteers! Send out thank you notes or emails letting folks know you appreciate all their hard work. Ask if they’re willing to spend time in the garden throughout the school year. Are any of them willing to support classrooms interested in visiting the garden for educational activities? Your goal should be to keep these volunteers engaged and connected.
- Take stock of your garden situation. Set up a garden committee meeting (or consider forming one if you don’t have one already) to determine any garden goals or projects for the new year. Consider creating a plan of action or list of needs that you can share with the PTA, teachers or school administration.
- A new school year often means new students and families, and sometimes new school staff, so make sure to spread the word about your school garden. Consider including a short write up about the garden in the first school newsletter; not only will it introduce new folks to the garden, but help remind others about how they can get involved.
- Encourage classrooms to get outside! Depending on how bountiful (or weedy) the garden is, you might organize a school-wide garden work day as a way to tackle new projects or catch up on maintenance. Alternatively, facilitate fun activities, like scavenger hunts, that help students get reacquainted with your growing space.
- Garden Stories: The Hornworm Incident
- Your School Garden Questions: Answered! (part 1)
- Reflections of a Perfectionist Gardener
- My Kids Aren’t In the Garden
- Digging Into Soil
- Maintaining Youth Engagement in the Garden All Summer Long
- Strawberries in a Hanging Basket
- Plant a Seed and Watch it Grow – or Not
- Monarch Monitoring
- Say YES to High School Gardening Intensives