gardensbanner2016

Let's Grow - St. Patrick's Day Banner

 

When our schools want gardens and to learn how to grow,
There is plenty of information for you know.

Seedlings, materials and grant money too,
As the school garden liaison, I’m here to guide you.

Our garden guide, our newsletter and this webpage too,
Are the school garden tools now available for you.

Use the garden as a classroom and to be with nature,
A perfect environment for teaching binomial nomenclature!

Check it all out, dig in and grow,
Click away, there’s so much to know.

School District of Palm Beach County Garden Stats - Fall 2016

121 Schools with Gardens
105 Growing Vegetables
34 Growing Fruit
57 Growing Herbs
75 Butterfly Gardens

We are LUCKY to have School Gardens! 

Find your LOVE for gardens!  School gardens help students create new practices in the area of

Nutrition, Fitness, Exercise, and Emotional Well-Being!

Nutrition:

Study after study indicates that when students participate in gardening and learn how to grow their own food, the are more likely to try new things and cultivate better nutrition practices.

Fitness and Exercise:

"Cross-Fit Gardening" is a new trend and one I participate in myself!  There is certainly no shortage of fitness and exercise associated with the maintenance of any garden.  In addition to building, digging, planting, weeding, raking, mulching, etc., gardens are wonderful places to create walking trails and introduce activities associated with "structured play."

Emotional Well-being:

An incredible solution to remedy the turbulence that everyday life introduces is to take a stroll through the garden.  Gardens are very special spaces!  On any given day, most of our senses will be engaged as we breathe the fresh air that exists inside the garden. The birds chirping, the fragrances, the tranquility, the visual stimulation from various textures, the sizes and shapes of the objects, and the wildlife that meanders in and out.  All of these aspects influence our emotional state of being and allow us to set aside our concerns and  redirect our energy and focus as we marvel at the wonder of nature. Ahhhhhh!  Beautiful isn't it?  Let's go there now!

Getting Started

  • Establish a garden team at your school to share the excitement and the responsibilities
  • Create partnerships with parents and with the businesses in your community.
  • Ask for help when you need it!  Parents and the community partnerships are excellent resources to reach out to for garden support:
    • Donations
    • Supplies
    • Maintenance Support

Planting Guidelines 

Interested in learning what time of year and which varieties of fruits and veggies grow best in South Florida?  Check out this planting and harvesting guide provided by UF/IFAS by clicking the image below.

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Planting and Harvesting Guide

2016 Golden Shovel Award Winners

 

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Congratulations to the 2016 Palm Beach County Winners!

Olympic Heights Community High
Most Community Involvement
Bright Futures Academy
Most Creative Learning Environment

 

Use the Garden as an Outdoor Classroom!

 

Learning in this space is especially fruitful because it engages all of our senses.  The visual beauty and serenity, the sounds of the birds and creatures that visit the garden, the textures under our feet, the scents and fragrances from the flowers and the fruits and the veggies that we can taste come together to create a beautiful learning environment.  Studies indicate that students learn more effectively and have higher levels of retention when more of their senses are engaged.  So, why not bring learning into the garden?  Here are some ways to create meaningful lessons in a new and fun environment for students while contributing their academic agility.

Math Lessons:
Teach children about measurements by measuring the beds and the heights of flower stems as growth takes place. Perimeter, Area, Radius and Circumference are excellent lessons to incorporate into the garden.
Science Lessons:
The topics are endless here. For starters, talk to kids about the evolution of plants, seasons, planting cycles, harvesting, weather, geology, insects, bees, pollination.
Nutrition Lessons:
What a beautiful opportunity to introduce children to ways to improve their health by choosing fruits and vegetables.  When children are incorporated into the process of harvesting they can participate in taste testing to enjoy the produce they've grown.
Planning Lessons:
Critical thinking and planning are skills we all benefit from.  Introduce children to the planning process using the garden.  Start with a plot of land, determine what types of gardens you want to include on your campus, discuss the location of the gardens and the exposure in that area, the number and size of beds to build, produce best to grow and budget and parameters to work within.
Arts and Creative Writing:
Using the garden to encourage creativity as it relates to drawing, painting, reading and writing! to work within.

HarvestoftheMonth

Using the lessons provided by the Fresh from Florida's Harvest of the Month Program, teachers have the opportunity to bring gardening into the classroom. Introducing a variety of math, science, social studies and language arts lessons, students learn about the nutritional benefits of a featured fruit or vegetable each month. Teachers can sign up to receive packets for their students each month which contain puzzles, lessons, recipes and information about the highlighted item.  Take a look to see if this is an opportunity that you'd like to incorporate into your classroom.  Please share with other teachers at your school too!

For more ideas to create academic lessons in the garden, check out these resources from the Florida Department of Agriculture:

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Garden Safety

While gardening is so much fun and is an exhilarating activity with many benefits, it's very important to be mindful of safety practices while we are in the garden.

SunSafety SunSafetyTips

 

TomatoStakingwithTennisBall Tomato Staking

We all know that as tomato plants grow taller, they require vertical supports. Cages, fiberglass or wooden stakes, and metal conduits are available and often used to support tomato plants.To avoid injuries to the face, neck and hands, please consider the following:

  1. Tomato stakes should be between three and four feet tall.
  2. Smooth and round out edges on all variations of stakes and/or support implements.
  3. Poke holes in old tennis balls and place them on top of all tomato stakes in the garden.