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Gardening Yearround in the Classroom


... and small vegetable plants, like cherry tomatoes. ... Growing potatoes indoors. Cuttings. water, floral foam, vermiculite. Division. Transplanting ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Gardening Yearround in the Classroom

Gardening Year-round in the Classroom

Debra Spielmaker Utah State University
Extension Agriculture in the Classroom
School Garden Challenges
  • Mandatory testing. When or how can I fit a school
    garden into my curriculum?
  • Administration
  • Location
  • Funding
  • Garden knowledge

I just buy my food at the grocery store
  • Gardening has gone from a necessity to a hobby,
    but gardening in the future may
  • Serve as an option for more sustainable
  • Improve nutrition and health

Why Garden?
  • Because seeds are miraculous!
  • Healthy eating (kids try what they grow)
  • Strengthen relationships
  • Self-sufficiency, food preservation
  • Cooking, leading to better nutrition
  • Garden-based learning promotes a sustainable

What Research Says
  • Children participating in activities from Health
    and Nutrition from the Garden had improved
    knowledge concerning the benefits of eating
    fruits and vegetables, and they demonstrated an
    increase in healthier snack consumption after the
    study (Waliczek Zajicek, 2006).
  • Third and fifth graders showed more positive
    attitudes toward fruit and vegetable snacks and
    an improvement in vegetable preference scores
    after completing activities from a nutrition
    gardening curriculum (Lineberger Zajicek,
  • Garden-enhanced nutrition curriculum improves
    fourth-grade schoolchildren's knowledge of
    nutrition and preferences for some vegetables.
    The results lend support to the inclusion of
    vegetable gardens within the school setting.
    Administrators of future school garden projects
    are encouraged to include a wide variety of
    fruits and vegetables in their garden programs
    (Morris Zidenbert-Cherr, 2002).

What Research Says
  • Nationally, about 20 of elementary schools
    students are overweight. In 2006, 22.5 (58,745)
    of Utahs elementary school age children were
    overweight (Utah Department of Health, 2007).
  • A school garden can be a hands-on teaching tool
    affecting students attitudes and behavior
    regarding fruits and vegetables (Lineberger
    Zajicek, 2000).
  • Interest in using gardens for educational
    purposes has grown over the past decade (Guy,
    Cromell, Bradley, 1996).
  • Results show once weekly use of gardening
    activities and hands-on classroom activities help
    improve science achievement test scores (Smith
    Motsenbocker, 2005).
  • Skelly and Bradley (2000) noted that not only do
    gardens need to be installed, but teachers need
    to learn how to incorporate them into their

What is learned or gained from gardening?
  • Life skills
  • Planning
  • Cycles of life and nature
  • Nutrition
  • Hard work
  • Biology, chemistry, ecology and other sciences
  • Communication

School Gardening Content
  • Not just sciencebut the opportunity for
    curriculum integration creating a cognitive
    learning opportunity to improve retention and
    student achievement.

Getting Started - Indoors
  • Start small
  • Window boxes or containers, because of their
    small size, can actually turn out to be rather
    luxurious gardens. Recycle clean bleach and milk
    containers. Cut off the tops and use them as
  • Mobility
  • Drainage of a container is the most important

Getting StartedIndoors or Outdoors
  • Get some child-sized tools from a local nursery
    or garden center. Try to find tools that look
    genuine so the kids will feel like real
  • Can't afford it? Plastic spoons and shovels work
    well in small boxes.

What Plants Need to Grow
  • Media to anchor plants(soil or soilless media,
    or water)
  • Nutrients
  • Water
  • Light
  • Optimum temperature
  • CO2 (only an issue for production greenhouses)

Plant Growth Media
  • Indoor Seeds or Cuttings
  • Paper towels (seeds)
  • Cotton (seeds)
  • Rockwool (not recommended)
  • Floral foam (cuttings)
  • Jiffy-7 pots (seeds or cuttings)
  • Seed starting (soilless) media (seeds or
  • Water (cuttings)

  • How much?
  • Indoors, less is best
  • Provide drainage
  • Outdoorswhat type of soil do I have?
  • Sand, more water
  • Clay, less water
  • Loam, ah just right!

Textural Triangle
  • Send your soil samples to soil lab, usually at
    land grant colleges and universities
  • Order a soil testing kit of your own and test the
    soil (60)

  • Nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, N-P-K
  • Fertilizer nutrient functions http//

Primary Nutrients
  •  Nitrogen (N) Key element in plant growth
  • Promotes vigorous leaf and stem growth to improve
    the overall quality of the turf
  • Essential component of the chlorophyll molecule
    which gives turf its dark green color
  • Involved in regulating the uptake of other key
  • Phosphorous (P) Used in the formation and
    transfer of energy within the plant
  • Influences early root development and growth
  • Encourages plant establishment
  •  Potassium (K) Used by the plant in large
    quantities, second only to nitrogen
  • Key component in the formation of carbohydrates,
    or food for the plant
  • Encourages rooting and wear tolerance
  • Enhances drought and cold tolerance
  • Key component in cell wall strength and
    resistance to disease

Nutrient Availability and pH
  • Keep the light close, withinone inch of the top
  • Best light spectrum one cool and one white light

Optimum Temperature
  • Varies, air and soil
  • cool season peas, greens of all kinds
  • warm season corn, squash, beans
  • tropicalwho are you guys? Florida California?

Getting Started - Outdoors
  • Be willing to put up with a less-than-perfect
    looking garden
  • crooked rows and some weeds are okay

Getting Started - Outdoors
  • Leave an area where kids can dig, even after
    planting. This is often their favorite part of
  • Look for earthworms together!

Getting Started - Outdoors
  • Make a secret place in the garden for kids.
  • Leave a space between the stalks of easy-to-grow
    sunflowers or bean poles so they can crawl inside.

Getting Started - Outdoors
  • Kids like extremes, so plant huge flowers, like
    sunflowers, and small vegetable plants, like
    cherry tomatoes. Plant fragrant flowers or herbs.

Getting Started - Outdoors
  • Teach kids about the importance of soil and how
    to compost.
  • Always use untreated seeds.
  • A word about pesticides and fertilizers

Getting Started - Outdoors
  • Easy with web resources

Local Resources
  • Check with your county Extension Office, garden
    centers, public/private gardens to see what is
    offered locally.

Literature in the Garden
  • Books
  • Kids Gardening http//
  • Junior Master Gardener Lessons with books
  • Plantzilla
  • Miss Rumphius
  • Brother Eagle Sister Sky
  • The Gardener
  • Tops Bottoms
  • Weslandia
  • National Resource Directory
  • Utah Agriculture in the Classroom

Calendar of Activities
  • Seed or flower dissection
  • Conifers, Dicots Monocots
  • Making compost, vermiculture
  • Sprouting seeds
  • Living Necklaces, Gloves, Jewel Cases
  • Sprouting sprouts in a jar
  • Jiffy-7 pots
  • Growing potatoes indoors
  • Cuttings
  • water, floral foam, vermiculite
  • Division
  • Transplanting

Calendar of Activities
  • Lots of Nutrition
  • Fruit Vegetable Bulletin Board and more

Garden take-home...
  • When we understand the resources and cycles
    involved in food production, we begin to see how
    agriculture affects our quality of life and our
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