Taking over school garden/ horticulture program

Phoenix, AZ(Zone 9b)

Hi all,
I am taking a special ed teaching position in a high school with a very neglected school garden. Because of budget and other reasons my lower functioning students don't get to participate in different programs so I'm trying to put together a horticulture program where my students will have the school garden to grow vegetables, as well as starting cuttings and seedlings to sell in a 'Farmers Market'. So I am turning to you DGers to see if anyone has succulents and other types of cuttings to share with my students. I can cover some postage. We (3 teachers) hope to blog or chronicle what we're doing. I'll have an area to display a living wall, succulent wreath and containers planted and maintained by my students. We will also have some flower beds (already have some miniature roses donated for one) for my students to maintain.

Prairieville, LA(Zone 9a)

What a good and worthwhile program. In addition to gardeners here, I would suggest you also check with local nurseries and also WalMart, Lowe's and Home Depot...most nurseries will move end of season items to drastic discount racks (.25 to .50 cents for plants that were $5) Local nurseries might also be interested in helping with plants and materials in return for a small sign in the garden (free advertising is usually a big hit) and I know WalMart does a lot of community stuff.

Do post this on the Beginner Gardening and Beginner Flowers Forums also...I am not sure if it is still done, but there was a seeds for Newbies program here on DG put together by some of the members.

Best of luck to you in your new position.


Carlsbad, CA(Zone 10b)

What a great project for these kids! I was an elementary teacher for 29 years and the students (and parents) loved it when we planted a garden at the last school I worked at, and were very active in donating towards it, and building and maintaining it. They even had a schedule for vacations, where a family that signed up would come and water and do maintenance for one week, and then another family the next week, etc.

It will be a big job and one source you might check for help is your local Master Gardener's program, which hopefully is active in your area. In San Diego County they have become very active in helping school gardens and even have a monthly (maybe quarterly) newsletter about what the various schools are doing in their gardens.

Another source that you definitely should be able to get help from is the Phoenix C & S group which is called Central Arizona Cactus & Succulent Society. Here's a link: http://www.centralarizonacactus.org/index.html. SInce they are a non-profit (I'm assuming) part of what they often do is work in the community, they just need to know you need and want help. If they are an active group they should at least be able to help you determine what plants would be good for your area, how to prepare the soil, etc., and I would bet their members will gladly donate plants.

Good luck!

Phoenix, AZ(Zone 9b)

Thanks for the ideas. I'm being given a seed bank for the school and community from Native Seed Search, and I am contributing a couple hundred Moringa seeds so we can grow seedlings to sell for the Spring time. I'm planning on having the students make poster board presentations on some of the things we'll be growing and selling. I hope to replace our greenhouse with a larger (and in better repair) greenhouse. I'd like to reach the point where we can provide vegetables for our school food bank and cafeteria.

Phoenix, AZ(Zone 9b)

Thanks for more ideas. It would be great to get families involved.

Mission Viejo, CA(Zone 9b)

Great idea... Kids today think they know everything, but really know next to nothing that is practical knowledge...
Best of luck with your outstanding idea!
Robin Lux

Phoenix, AZ(Zone 9b)

thanks, MH. I've been busy reading these and putting in apps.

Prairieville, LA(Zone 9a)

You are most welcome....I hope they come through for you....but at least you have a source for future use also.

Carlsbad, CA(Zone 10b)

Just remembered that we had our first three wood garden boxes, 4' x 8', built by an Eagle Scout. It just happened that one of the other teachers had a son who was looking for something to do for his big project. As part of doing it I believe he had to come up with the funding, supplies, etc., and I seem to remember even the soil. We worked with him to make sure it fit our needs and turned it out great. Then all we had to do was plant and water.

And, how great that themoonhowl listed the grants. There were always plenty out there, and I'd think doing it for special ed students would be a helpful criteria.

Phoenix, AZ(Zone 9b)

It is a helpful criteria - I hope this may lead to jobs skills for some, and a knowledge of the power of growing and eating food from the labor of your own hands. I've watched kids with disabilities internalize the awe and wonder of life found in a seed... I believe it can become their own personal superpower.

Prairieville, LA(Zone 9a)

The look on a child's face when they pick their first "self-grown" flower or vegetable is amazing....knowing that they can accomplish something like that for themselves is indescribable. The ability to sell something they have nurtured and grown gives them strength and confidence.....Knowing that you helped them get there is a source of joy and contentment in a job well done.

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