You and your students put in a lot of work to prepare and plant the school garden, but with school ending soon, how do you ensure the fruits of your labor are shared and not shriveled. Here are some tips for easily maintaining the school garden over the summer break.
- Weed and mulch before you leave. Get students to pitch in on the last day of school to weed the garden. Pick every visible weed so they don’t become a problem later in the summer. Putting down mulch will suppress weeds and help the soil retain moisture. The garden should be covered in 2-3 inches of wood chips. Straw will also slow weed growth and conserve water.
- Set up an irrigation system. If mother nature doesn’t cooperate, installing a drip system can provide peace of mind that the garden will get the water it needs. The Best Reviews website provides the pros and cons for what it considers the best irrigation kits. Check in regularly to make sure the irrigation system is working properly, or if there has been a lot of rain, that the plants aren’t being overwatered.
- Invite families or neighbors to adopt the garden. Families can take turns watering, weeding, and keeping the vegetables and flowers healthy for one-week intervals. Create a simple sign-up sheet that everyone can access in case a last minute vacation pops up and families want to trade weeks. Provide clear instructions and expectations, giving tips about how often to water if it rains a lot or very little during the family’s assigned week. For families that don’t have green thumbs, provide articles or videos about what to do if insects are an issue or how to know the perfect time to harvest. Then be sure to allow all participants an opportunity to enjoy the bounty.
- Install a fence or other barriers. Students and families aren’t the only ones who love gardens. Deer, rabbits, squirrels, slugs, insects, and other animals can wreak havoc on a garden. Set up a wood fence or use chicken wire to keep out pests. Planting certain flowers that deter animals or spreading some home-made ingredients can also keep your plants healthy. Check out the Spruce website to learn how to handle a number of different garden problems.