Its the beginning of the gardening year and so we have got our heads together to come up with some top tips for those of you who might be thinking of starting a school garden for the first time in the Spring.
- First things first, don’t be put off! It might feel like a big step and lots of work to start a school garden but don’t let that stop you. There are lots of ways of keeping the work manageable and sharing the load with others and the rewards can be enormous for both children and adult helpers alike. Plus there are some great ways of linking all that you do into the national curriculum and we have some helpful ideas on that so please take a look.
- Look at what you have. Do you have any green space that can be turned into a garden? Or do you want to start off with some patio planters, such as our potato growing kit or maybe a wooden salad bed or raised bed? Also think about access to water which will become more important in the drier weather, and also security if you are leaving tools and equipment outside.
- Find some helpers. If you don’t have much time or expertise think about finding helpers. The great thing about school gardening is it’s a team effort, and can really build a great community spirit. And you’ll be amazed at the skills and knowledge hidden amongst parents, grandparents, local allotment groups, gardening clubs, guiders and scouts etc. Also think about having a rota for keeping essential tasks such as watering, going over the holidays
- Do some planning. This is essential for the smooth running of any project. Think about what you would like to do, how long it will take, the materials you will need, how much help you will need and which children will do which activities etc. We have lots of exciting activities simply explained on our fact sheets so take a look at these for inspiration. Also think about costs and how you will go about funding your project. We have lots of information on finding funding so take a look.
- If you are just starting out keep it simple. Choose a fairly easy growing project with a good chance of success. When the kids get to reap the rewards a few months down the line they will be buzzing with enthusiasm and keen to do more. In our What To Do This Term section we have carefully selected a good range of things to sow that are not too difficult, so this might give you some ideas.
- Most importantly have fun. Enjoy your successes, laugh a little about your failings and learn along the way.
Love Your Environment – Love Gardening With Children