The Q&A Archives: School Gardens

Question: I teach at a special ed school outside of Boston. We are starting a garden for the first time. I really need to know what we need to start...what is easy to grow, what equipment we will need. Any advice you could offer would be much appreciated.

Answer: There's a lot to think about--I think rather than trying to go into detail here, I'll suggest a book that will really help you get started. It's called "National Gardening Association's Guide to Kids' Gardening", and it's available from our Education Department. Call 800-538-7476 and ask to receive the Growing Ideas Teaching Tools catalog.<br><br>Your first task might be to have a soil test done. Contact your Cooperative Extension office for information about soil test kits, ph #413-545-4800. It's important to check lead levels in urban gardens, especially if you intend to grow food crops.<br><br>In the meantime, start thinking about the layout of your garden, what you hope to accomplish (for example, do you want to beable to harvest before school lets out?), will someone maintain the garden over the summer? <br><br>Another good general reference book is "Gardening for Dummies" (forgive the title...) by the editors here at NGA. It's a comprehensive reference for all types of gardening.<br><br>You might want to visit the "Kids and Classrooms" section of NGA's web site for ideas on incorporating plants into the curriculum.<br><br><br>

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