Question: I'd like to take on a project where I enroll local children to transform an area into an organic garden. I've never done anything like this before and I'd love some ideas and direction. I'm 33 yrs. old and I'm taking this on as an assignment as part of my Landmark Education class. What I'd like the results to be other than leaving the land completely transformed forever, is leaving the children with the knowledge, skills, and understanding it takes for that transformation to take place. Do you have any advice?
Answer: Congratulations! It sounds like an ambitious project! I don't have room here to go into too many details, but I can point you in the direction of some good resources.
Your first task might be to have a soil test done. Contact your Cooperative Extension office for information about soil test kits. It's important to check lead levels in urban gardens, especially if you intend to grow food crops.
In the meantime, start thinking about the layout of your garden and what you hope to accomplish. For example, will you be associated with a school? Will the children have formal lessons in the garden? Who will maintain the garden?
The National Gardening Association has published some excellent reference books on the subject, including "Steps to a Bountiful Kids' Garden" and "Schoolyard Mosaics." Both these books are available at their store, http://store.kidsgardening.com..., and both would be helpful even if you aren't associated with a school. Another excellent reference is Rodale's Illustrated Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening.
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