CREATION OF OUR SCHOOL GARDEN
This school has been a fantastic year for our school: we created a school garden.
Located in Bedford Stuyvesant where healthy food is not easily accessible to the families of the school,we have created a powerful learning tool.
Our school is PS/IS 262 EL Hajj Malik Shabazz with about 500 students from Pre-k to 8th grade.
First of all, we are teaching the children to grow food and eat healthier.
Having high rates of obesity ,asthma and diabetes in our community,this school garden is really a good way to teach the children how to make better choices for their health.
In a school garden you can teach the children everything from Nutrition, Health, Science, Art, Languages and …GARDENING.
In our school garden we planted vegetables: tomatoes, onions, basil,dill,rosemary,thyme and LETTUCE.
Any kind of lettuce is easy to grow and the children can harvest it.
SUCCESSFUL FIRST YEAR
We had 2 grants this year : one for the school garden of $2000 from Grow to learn.
If you want more information about their grants please visit their beautiful and very informative website.
And an other one of $450 for compost from Citizen committee for New York city.
So we are going to start composting in Fall 2014!
We also had because we are a school garden registered with Grow to learn,
free soil and wood from Greenthumb.
If we need tools we can use the free tool loan from Grow NYC.
this year has been a wonderful one with very special people who you meet in Conferences,
workshops with one thing in common: they are passionate about gardening and concerned about
food justice (to learn more visit Just Food they have a big conference every year,very interesting).
Creating a school garden is challenging. Make sure you will be able to commit enough time to make it happen.
Once you have a team of parents, teachers with the parent coordinator you can do this fantastic project.
You need to be very clear about what gardening is : HARD WORK.
People helping have to be ready to sweat, shovel some soil, woodchips or compost.
There are also a lot of rules that you need to be aware of : access to water is a big one.
We found a solution to that by filling a rain barrel of tap water because we couldn’t have immediate access to the water.
The children of the school loved the project.
Every time a class was coming to the garden ,the students always asked
if they could come everyday to the garden because it is a lot of fun!
They can observe bugs in the compost: earthworm or other insects.
We are giving the children a lifetime experience that they will remember:
smelling basil or observing the flower of the tomato is learning while having fun!
The children were fascinated when i was explaining that seeds make a plant with flowers and that
the flower after pollination give the fruit.
We have in our school garden a strawberry plant, a blueberry bush and a raspberry bush.
But we also have other plants called Native plants.
We are not only growing food but trying to attract butterflies.
We planted native plants which means plants that are adapted to our climate.
These native plants attract butterflies, bees and any insects that feed on nectar.
We also have host plants for the caterpillars.
The proof is right below: we found two monarch caterpillars!!!
Why do we want to attract butterflies and bees or any other pollinators:
because they help with POLLINATION which means more crops in a vegetable garden!
And it is also good for wildlife.We are creating a habitat for all these insects.
We also decorated the garden raised beds with green paint and my daughter started to paint on them too!
This is the little story of our school garden.
Did you start a garden this year?
Can you share your most successful crop?