Many school gardens have suffering this year. Maybe your school does not allow volunteers on school property right now. Maybe your teachers are overwhelmed with teaching in 2020 and do not have time for the garden. Maybe your garden is just a mess. Spring is coming and with some forethought maybe you can have a successful garden program this school year after all.
The key for a successful spring garden program during COVID is going to be efficiency. This is not the time to try crops you are unfamiliar with. Stick to basics like lettuce, spinach, bush beans, etc. Better yet, think about putting some garlic or short-day onions in this fall for harvesting in the spring.
If you have a large school garden, consider planting cover crops on some of the garden and concentrate your efforts on a smaller area that is easily managed. Can your students help with garden maintenance?
Make sure that the crops you plant are ones that are easily tied to as much of the school curriculum as possible. Can the crop be used in history classes as well as science classes? With some creative thought, crops like beans and peas can be used in these disciplines:
Geography – Map the movement of these crops as people moved across the globe
History – How was this crop used in the past, dishes made, cultural significance
Writing – I am a big fan of haiku! Maybe “Ode to the Bean!”
Math – How many beans/peas in a pod? How many pods per plant?
Language Arts – Did grandparents grow these crops? Think about an oral history project.
Physical Education – How about bean stretches? These from Community Seed Network are fun for everyone!
The most important thing to remember is to be kind to yourself and the school garden program. This is a challenging year and we are all doing the very best we can!