Are you gardening on school grounds, or are you gardening at members homes?
Has anyone in the club had any experience growing anything, starting seeds?
Give us a bit of information on how old the gardeners are, and if there is any adult help who will be supervising.
What are your goals? Selling transplants? Personal gardens? A school flower bed? Veggies? What tools do you have available?
Will this club meet during the summer when school is in recess, or, is it strictly a 'during the year' thing? That will make a difference on what you grow, as the main growing and harvesting season is during the summer.
What do you mean by a club? I work at a juvenile facility and run a horticulture group. We do tons of flowers and veggies, start them in the greenhouse then plant a garden and do the landscaping. Its awesome. We also just did science projects which some of them focused on botany. Did different experiments with effects of fertilizer, salt water, microwaving seeds before planting them, etc.
The kids are loving it, they have so much pride in there plants! My kids are from 12-18 years of age.
Are you doing it with college students?
Hello I am new here as well and a friend of kcteengardener. ^_^
We are starting our garden club in our high school. ((Outside garden))
So we need to know more what's easy to grow. I heard Tulips are faster, but is there more?
What do we do if there is more pest problems?
What season should we grow them?
What type of soil, fertilizer?
Thank you so much! ^_^
It's too late this year for tulips, as they are bulbs that are planted in the fall. Since you are so close to the end of the school year, you can maybe get some seeds going, but I would recommend buying (if you have the budget) some starter plants from your local nursery as they will give you much faster returns. In your situation they need soil that will drain well and plenty of water to get them going, any fertilizer that is easy to apply, and plenty of sunshine. You'll find herbs, vegies and flowers all in starter plants and you should have plenty to choose from.
I don't know where Union City is and I have lived just about all over California. What is your climate like? Are you desert or ocean or mountain?
It sounds like you are wanting to grow colorful flowers, and if that's the case, You need an area with at least 6 hours of sunshine a day...unless you are in the very hottest, dryest part of Ca.
Gardengram is right...at this point, if you want flowers this season before school's out, you'll need to buy transplants. That's not a bad thing for just starting out though...it's kind of tricky with seeds sometimes, and getting the transplants will let you start with healthy plants and get you accustomed to caring for a garden.
Tulips are easy, but they need to be planted in the fall so that they can grow roots through the winter...but if you are in a part of CA that does not get frost, they may not be suitable, as tulips need a period of freezing weather to properly grow.
You need to prepare the place where your flowers will grow very well. The grass needs to be removed from the area, and you need to turn the ground over down about a foot or so. If all you have is a shovel, it can still be done.(maybe the football team could help) Dig up the dirt and move it to a tarp or wheelbarrow a little at a time. When you get down to about a foot, you can start putting the crumbled dirt back in the plot. I always say dig a $10 hole for a $1 plant
Get a few bags of compost and mix it in with the dirt. You can get it at the same place you get your plants. If you have a heavy clay soil, mix in more...(ask at the garden center, they will know)
Flowering plants are either annuals or perennials. Annuals complete their life cycle and die in one year...perennials are plants that last for many years, but they generally take at least 1 year, and sometimes 2 to bloom. Lots of folks, mix them in their flowering beds, so that they can have quick color, along with establishing a permanent planting at the same time.
The first step is to prepare your ground well...it will save all kinds of grief later. A good loose soil makes it better for the plants' roots to grow and they can take in water and nutrients better. Grass competes with your flowers for the same thing...getting rid of it will leave more for your flowers. It will also reduce the pest population.
most transplants come with fertilizer already mixed in their soil, you only need to supplement it as the plants grow. Something made for blooming plants applied according to the package will be fine...and remember that you can actually overfeed a plant.
Please don't hesitate to ask any question...and you can post images here if you have any concerns during the progress...let us take a look and maybe we can help if you can't figure it out.
Union City is here in the SF Bay Area so not much (if any) frost--I don't see anyone growing tulips here and I live a little farther inland and get slightly more frost, so if you can't grow them here there's no way you can grow them in Union City unless you have a way to manually chill them.
Given how late it is in the school year, I think an herb garden might be fun--you probably don't have time to start things from seeds, but you can buy little starts of the plants and be able to enjoy them a bit before school ends.
You first need permission from your school administration and maintenance staff on where this will be, how big etc. Probably best bet will be a full sun spot so you can do annuals transplanted and get a nice instant result. Then they will grow all summer and be there for you in the fall too.
Watch out that it's not a place where students tend to walk.
Do you have some money for plants and mulch at the minimum? ( ask if the school can get mulch free for you, or will give you some money for beautification)
Will you put in some labor to remove grass? (not just chop it up, or it will grow back all over your plants and look messy.)
If you talk about bushes or trees they may have to ask about underground utilities.
I am proud of you guys/gals for wanting to do this! Please keep us informed, you see by the other answers there are a lot of us who think you have a great idea!
ecrane and sallyg added some really good information for you. Getting free mulch through the school is a great idea and I'll bet you can accomplish that. You might get a discount on plants also if you tell them it's for a school project. One of the things I remember best about your area is all the lovely flowers, so you should do well. You don't have temp. extremes to deal with and that's a good thing. And again don't hesitate to ask the people in the nursery for assistance and don't hesitate to ask here. There are lots of people to help you.
We will certainly keep updating with pictures! ^_^
On monday our group will have to go to our leadership people.
They're the ones whom control the school, but if our school's leadership cannot do this. We have to have contact with our school administration and maintenance staff. So we can plant our garden! ^_^
Thank you again for giving us great hints!
^_^I would love to ask more questions later on these years! ^_^
Since high school is only 4 years, make sure that you have students from each grade in your club...you need to have people with experience leading the group years from now...include the lower classes so that they won't have to start from scratch each time. It would be a lovely legacy to leave your school when you graduate, if there is an active group of gardeners to take over when the older students leave for college.
I'm am experienced in gardening I planted and harvested and all that stuff since iv'e been little. I will be the president of this club when its started, and were just getting ready this yaer we will be starting it next year. we will be teaching when and where do certain plants grow and about all sorts of stuff relating to nature.
Nasturtiums are supposed to grow quick.
I just put in 500 zinnias (pinwheel profusion mix) not sure about your zone but I think they grow there. They did germinate in 3 days.
Cucumbers, zucchini and pumpkin and marigolds germinate really fast also.
I agree with Melody. I have kids for 45 days and 120 days. I found if you train 2 kids, and keep them steady on it, they know what they are doing. Then I encorporate other kids in. The experienced kids help the others. I learned the hard way... and took on too many new kids and its chaotic and you don't accomplish much. My "professionals" have learned so much, and they just know what to do, although I do still like to give them new tasks so they don't get bored. Today we planted hostas and japanese painted ferns. They were really enthusiastic because they were so different from the seedlings they have been used to.
I would think that after you get your group established, you could arrange a school group tour of a wholesale nursery, public garden, an agricultural university garden or the county extension office for suggestions and planting advice that would be very specific to your area.
I think it is really great that you're doing this. I grew up with gardeners and had my own little flower patch and cherry tomato plant for as far back as I can remember. None of my teenage friends were into gardening so I sort of let it go for a while. Little by little around the time I was 22 or so, I began to start again and haven't stopped.
I too started a Community Garden, wiorking with seniors like muself, we have a great time, sometimes we get more dreaming and talking done than gardening, but it's certainly a way to bring everyone together. We have a 92 year old woman that has been an encouragement to all of us. But most of all we Love being around the little ones. They are alot of help to some of us that can't bend over. We're making raised beds, 30 inches off the ground. We're busy now gettin sweet potatoes started the grandkids love to watch them as they grow. We're olanting them in 55 gallon barrels cut in half, not many of us are up to diggin potatoes any more, so we'll just let the oleder kids dump the barrel and let the little ones pick them up and put them in a bucket.
I called the Park District here and they brought us 5 dump truck loads for free, the City of Urbana gave us 56 Cu yards of compost from their recycling center, and the school district is delivering it for us. We got to spread it out, get alot of help from passer byers who are interested in what we are doing. Hey the more people you get involved the better the results. We have a Master Gardener that stops by every once in awhile to see how us ole foggies are getting along. If you spent a couple of days on the telephone you can find almost anythig you want for free, just ask, if they say no just say thank you very much for your time. But I've found that gardeners Love to share what they have.
I like the herbs idea. They are usually easy to grow and have a variety of shapes, sizes colors and uses. A lot of them are very fragrant and it is a lot of fun to research their history and the different uses so many of them have. Echinacea/purple coneflower is one example. It has beautiful blooms, interesting seed heads and is also called "nature's pharmaceutical" because of it's many uses.
Another suggestion I would make is to grow some flowers and plants for drying. There are many strawflowers that need no more preperation than to be picked and to allow the stems to dry for a day or two. There are perrenials like german statice and silver king artemisia and annuals that are actually called strawflowers. They also come in a wide variety of types and colors and all of them are very easy to grow..
You do not have to limit yourself to small plants. Consider a shrub or two as well. Mock orange has extremely fragrant white flowers in the spring and is a very pretty shrub all year. There are many different types of willows. A lot of them have furry catkins, varigated foilage and interesting twisted branches. With proper pruning you will not only keep them from taking up too much space but also use what you have trimmed off in decorative floral arrangements/wreaths or to grow new plants.
All of the things I have suggested are usually very inexpensive and easy to come by. The thing I would suggest the most is that you just enjoy whatever you choose to do! :^)
Buddleja North-West England United Kingdom (Zone 8a)
Our school has just started a gardening club - it's a primary school with ages 4-11 so a bit younger than your lot. I'm not involved at all but my kids have been doing some gardening and really love it. Each classroom now has a planter outside it with either flowers or strawberries in it. My son (5) looks every day to see if the flowers have turned into strawberries yet. The school now has two compost bins as well and the kids have to put their apple cores, banana skins etc in them. Some raised beds have been put in as well. It's all run by volunteer parents as well as some of the teachers and the kids love it - especially as they get to go out of class to help out!
We found that local garden centres are quite willing to help - one gave everything for free once they realised it was for the school! It's worth asking.
Yarrow is also in the herb family, has pretty flowers that come in a variety of colors, and can be dried. I actually got my chives from the middle school that my daughter attended. They grew herbs and flowers and sold them at the end of their elective class to make money for their greenhouse. I bought my chives for a quarter and they've been giving ever since.
One word of caution; if you decide on any herbs, don't put mint of any kind into the ground! Don't even put it into a pot that makes contact with the ground! It runs! Rule of (green) thumb...if it has a square stem, it probably is a spreader or runner!
Our Garden is doing great, we planted 200 Heirloom tomato plants and have cucumbers spreading all over.
We have a tremendous Herb Garden that most of the plants were donated by the Champaign Herb Society. We've started on a Perrenial Flower Bed that's 12 feet by 200 feet. It will be real nice by next year.
Anyone that may have extra seeds they would like to share for next years garden can send them to
50 Plus and Kids Garden
108 W. Washington
Champaign Illinois 61820