Through the leadership of her husband, Michelle Obama has been actively participating in various community extension programs. One of the most significant community extension programs re-introduced and spearheaded by the first lady is the implementation of school gardens.
The thought and idea of having gardens in the school or university ground aren't new. Truth be told, most of the schools and universities located in agricultural areas have their own gardens. However, in a large number of schools and universities located in the cities, starting a garden isn’t easy. This is the main reason why Michelle Obama encouraged the allocation of land area that can be used for the gardens. In addition to that, most of the school and university administrators come up with an extracurricular program that will encourage and persuade the students to take part and participate in planting and caring for the herbs and plants.
Letsmove.gov, a government-owned website shares insightful tips on how school gardens can properly be implemented. In the website, Letsmove.gov shares the five factors that must be considered in creating a school garden. These factors are as follows: site selection, soil health, the design of the garden, plant palette, and resources.
- Site selection
Letsmove.gov iterates the questions that need to be analyzed and answered when it comes to selecting the site suitable for the garden. The location of the garden is the primary factor that needs to be considered in order to successfully create one.
- Is the site safe for the students and teachers?
- Is there a nearby and reliable water source?
- Is the site protected from rodents or other potential threats?
- Is the area big enough to permit for future growth?
- Is the site exposed to sunlight at least 7 hours a day?
- Is the soil contaminated with heavy metals?
- Soil health
When it comes to the creation of school gardens, the quality of the soil is considered. Good soil is the foundation to have a great harvest. Thus, the quality of the soil must be analyzed too.
- Design of the garden
The design of the garden can make or break the interest of the students and parents to participate in the activity. As much as possible, involve the students, teachers, and parents when it comes to the design of the school garden. It also helps to encourage them to voice out their opinions and suggestions to make the school garden even better.
- Plant palette
Choose a palette of plants that are safe, easy to grow, non-poisonous, low maintenance, and healthy. Aside from that, it also works to choose a plant palette based on a story book. By doing so, you can teach the students about a certain topic or subject while educating them about the importance of caring for the environment.
The seeds and organic fertilizers can be sourced from the local agriculture office. While tutorials and tips on how to care for plants can be found in a wide variety of references in books and online websites.