Gardening where the sidewalk ends

School Garden in Summer July 6, 2009

Filed under: edibles,neighborhood gardens — greenwalks @ 7:10 pm
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We’ve been spending a lot of time at the nearest school playground this summer, since my daughter wants to keep her monkey-bars skills on the upswing. I hadn’t looked at the school garden in a while, but last week I peeked over the fence and saw what they’ve been growing.

This giant teepee looks like it was pretty easy/cheap to make, just super long bamboo stakes and some twine, plus some plastic edging material to outline the circle, keep the stakes seated, and hold the good soil and maybe even a little water in.

School garden teepee

Peas are beginning to wind up the stakes, while beautiful purplish cabbage and broccoli expand to fill the interior.

School veggie garden teepee close up

Nearby, another bamboo structure, this time an A-frame trellis for tomatoes. I’m more used to seeing tomatoes in cages or trained against fences, so this open structure is a little different. I wonder if it will do the trick of keeping them from falling over? I guess it depends on how tall the tomato varieties are.

School garden tomato trellis

A few little hills of squash (or are they cukes) amidst the only weedy patch, with calendulas (edible flowers) in the background:

School garden squash patch

I’ve shown this concrete-block raised bed before, since it seems pretty easy to build and has the nice touch of a mosaic top. This summer, it contains many varieties of lettuce, so lovely in their contrasting colors, a pot of mint, and many many daisies. Those last may have crept in there as self-seeders, they do that in my garden at least. The big white barrel looks to be a rain collector – so they are teaching conservation and sustainability too, nice to see.

School garden raised bed

I’m kind of curious to see what happens at harvest time – do the kids at the summer programs eat salads and broccoli, or is it all just educational/ornamental?

I dream of having the time/energy/wherewithal to write a successful grant for our own school to become an Edible Schoolyard. We have the space, but I don’t know how much longer we’ll be in it since the district wants to shift things around in our part of Seattle – it’s hard to think of starting something like that and then having to leave it behind. Alice Waters started this program in 1995 at a public school in Berkeley, CA. The kids help plant, grow, and learn about where their food comes from. And then they get to eat it! Sounds pretty wonderful to me.


8 Responses to “School Garden in Summer”

  1. Matron Says:

    I cannot underestimate how influential it is to teach children how to grow their own food. They are like little sponges at that age and everything soaks in. At some time in their adult life they will turn to growing their own. I did!

  2. Every school should have a garden. I was suprised to see peas just growing in this one. Around here, the peas are “done” and have long since been pulled out to give room for a second planting of green beans.

  3. easygardener Says:

    It is good that children get to see vegetables growing. They are more likely to be interested in growing their own later on. Sad to think that some might never have seen peas in an actual pod!

  4. Wonderful! We certainly had nothing like this when I was in school. I wish every school had one. Although there is the unfortunate timing of the growing season and the school year not really meshing very well.

    Your daughter is smart to keep those monkey-bars skills primed. It’s amazing how fast they fade…

  5. Catherine Says:

    I love when school’s do things like this. It is so great for the kids. I wonder what they do with the veggies too, let us know if you find out.
    I hope you can get a grant for your daughter’s school. What a great thing that would be.

  6. Megan Says:

    It must be a great true education for kids to learn about gardening early in life, so they can get a head start when they grow up and start their own gardens. I’m sure you do have the wherewithal to write a grant for your school. Time and energy are harder to come by, but maybe you do a little bit every week and you’ll look down one day and have it finished. I know from fostering animals, it’s hard to leave things behind, but the rewards far outweigh the sorrow of parting.

  7. I love it when schools have gardens…we have some lovely ones around here! Great pics, Kim

  8. Jane Says:

    What a great school garden. But who cares for it when school is out?
    We have some corn, planted as a screen, and I love to hear the parents point it out to the children as they walk by our garden. I think it’s never too early to nurture an understanding of the connectedness of life in children.

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