One common question we get at SYG is, “what do you do during the wintertime?” Since it’s too cold to garden, you might think all we do is drink hot chocolate and eat soup, but you’d be wrong (though we do a lot of that too)! Actually, we’re busy building new school gardens (among other things)!
How do we build new gardens you might ask?
First we choose the location! There are a few requirements we look for when choosing a space.
- It must get 8 hours of sunlight a day, away from any large trees that might block the sunlight.
- There must be a water source within 125 feet of the garden.
- It needs to be visible and easily accessible to staff and students.
- It must be in a spot that is mowed and properly maintained throughout the growing season!
Once we’ve chosen a spot and rallied staff and principal support, we can pick a date for the construction. One of the coolest parts of our school gardens is they are actually built by the students that are going to use them (3rd graders and up)!
On the day of the construction, the SYG staff brings the lumber, nails, hammers, wheelbarrows, shovels and we even deliver the soil to the school (unless it’s a really big garden)!
The first step to building a new garden is to build the raised beds. Students fit the lumber together like a puzzle. Then, they hammer four nails in each corner of the bed and place the bed in the chosen spot. We make sure to put at least 6 feet between each bed so a mower can fit between them!
Most gardens are single-stacked beds but sometimes we build double-stacked beds too, which are simply two beds stacked on top of each other. The benefits to double-stacked beds are they are easier for kids to reach and wheelchair accessible, however they are twice as expensive as a single-stacked bed since they need essentially double the materials.
The next step is to fill the beds with soil! The kids shovel the wheelbarrows full with soil, wheel them over to the beds and dump the soil in the bed – over and over again until the beds are full!
And ta dah, they built their very own schoolyard garden and they’re all ready to plant and and grow beautiful gardens in the spring and the rest of the year!
If you’re interested in building a new schoolyard garden, contact firstname.lastname@example.org immediately! We only build new gardens until Feb 15 so time is running out!