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Weekly Challenge # 24 – Planting the Seed …

March 1, 2014
Vertical Garden concept from Our Window Farm

image of Vertical Garden concept from Our Window Farm http://www.ourwindowfarms.org

Huh.

Another Polar Vortex situated over much of the continent.

I promise. Spring is coming. Our sugar bush is up and running and while the sap may not be running at its fullest (or at all some days) the trees are awaking up. Those trees are waking not so much because of the temperature but because the days are indeed getting longer. Photosynthesis is becoming an option for the hibernating flora out there – slowly but surely.

And that makes me think it’s time to start thinking about outdoor gardens.

Just because the ground is frozen and the outside water is not turned on yet doesn’t mean you and your class cannot start planning the development of, or changes to your outdoor green space.

Yes, changes. Your schoolyard gardens be they outdoor classrooms, teaching, pollinator gardens, community vegetables patches or more are first and foremost teaching tools.

With that in mind … what can you do in the classroom this month to help your students plan on spring planting?

How about creating some window gardens in your classroom? Plant seeds in small yogurt containers with a little potting soil. Students can measure not only the growth and success of their own individual plants but this can also lead to some great inquiry in the classroom. For instance, south facing windows may get the most sun, but that also means the most heat and soil can dry out quicker. These window plants may need more watering than others. As well some plants are “shade tolerant” meaning that they prefer not go grow in direct sunlight.

Or you could start your plant study even simpler and grow carrot tops in water in those very same windows.

I suggest getting creative and perhaps play with the window space in the class. Create vertical gardens or pieces of art with the flowers and food you are trying to grow. Just ensure that what you are trying to do will allow you to transplant into the outdoor gardens when the time comes.

The best environmental education happens not in one day but throughout the season. It involves build up, it involves a continuous building of relationship to create a sense of place within the individual.  As such, it is never too early to start the conversation for what your spring teaching gardens will be. Plant that seed know – and with some care, attention and a health dose of inquiry – you will not believe what you will harvest.

Can’t wait to hear what you’re doing – and keep me up to date as we get closer to putting the shovels in the ground.

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