I’m helping a school put in a new school garden and will use this site to keep a record of the things we consider.
- ASK for Money from garden clubs and other nature groups. The school I’m working with asked one group for $2000 and they gave them $2500!
- Kirkwood Garden Club, Webster Groves Garden Club, NABA, WGNSS, St. Louis Audubon, Gateway Greening, Brightside St. Louis, Forest Releaf, Kiwanis, Optimist club.
- Get some help. The teacher emailed me asking for help and to come out to the school and give some advice.
- Order seed and containers to grow it in. I like the trays with 36 cells per tray and a plastic cover. Here’s the link from Park Seed. I prefer the larger cells and instead of transplanting plants I just let the largest plant live in the cell and snip off the others. Depending on the cost of the seeds, I put anywhere from one to six seeds per cell.
- Evaluate the area.
- Do some research on raised beds – see links at the bottom.
- Evaluating seed starting possibilities.
Park Seed has a professional, but expensive solution to starting seeds and plants for $399.
I use a much less expensive solution in my basement – regular fluorescent lights – $20 to $50 each – that I just hang from the ceiling. I prefer the more expensive, but better shop light from Home Depot.
Another solution I use is a wire shelf unit. I can usually fit nine trays on this four shelf unit. I could also possibly use the top shelf if it has some natural light.
Site Analysis – look at the potential site and see what its pluses and minuses will be.
- Sunshine – does it have enough – what’s the path of the sun – what will be the sunny and shady areas.
- Water availability – hose? turn-off valve necessary? sprinkler? While raised beds look nicer, they also will dry out faster.
- Soil analysis – usually pretty bad for most Missouri soils.
- Drainage – will water drain away from the site?
- Site level or sloping?
- Raised beds or in-ground? Stone, wood, concrete block?
- Paths through the garden areas.
- Materials for paths – stone, mulch, paving materials.
- Define the garden area – fence – stone
- Stay away from playgrounds.
- Signs for garden?
- Tool-shed-Storage area?
- Distance from school? The closer the better usually although you don’t want kids walking through the garden beds.
- Areas for instruction – tables/benches
- How easy will it be for maintenance people to work around the area?
- Who will maintain the garden during the school year?
- Who will maintain the garden during the summer?
- Weather Station?
- How will you get rid of garden waste?
- Composting – where will this be?
- Garden Design – get kids involved.
- Organic vs artificial?
- What are you going to plant? Vegetables, herbs, butterfly garden etc.?
- Accessibility – how can you make this wheel chair accessible?
- Security and Safety – is this area safe for kids to be?
- Containers for invasive plants.
- Future Usage – what are the plans for this site in the future? Will the school be using this space for other purposes in the future?