A Coordinator’s Tips On School Gardening
Annette, a second-year coordinator in New York City, shares some tips on gardening:
“My gardening philosophy: follow natural systems, learn through observation, experiment and accept feedback, produce little or no waste, grow with a purpose (for food, medicine, soil health, pollinators, education), share the harvest, and have fun.”
Here are four quick tips for starting a school garden from Annette!
1. Find a partner! It can be a staff member, parent, community organization, etc. that is willing to put in as much time and effort as you are to making the school garden a reality.
2. If you’ve never grown food before, pick up a book, check out gardening blogs, or visit other school or community garden sites to meet folks already growing food and learn from their experiences. If possible, volunteer (and bring your students!) at another site to get some hands-on experience before starting your own.
3. Look for resources in your community! This could be donations of money, tools or supplies, or peoples’ time and expertise.
4. Start small and simple – find a site with lots of light and decide if you’re planting in ground or in raised beds (remember to get your soil tested if planting in ground), then create your garden design and a planting calendar to guide you – this can always change but helps to have a place to start.