Swatt
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"Gardening Club"

I work at an after school care program for children from the ages of 1st through 6th grade, and all of the staff is expected to start a "club" of some sort, I chose gardening. It went well while we worked the soil and made a rock pathway and started transplants, but now we are in a waiting period, and I need help figuring out activities I can do for the kids while i wait for transplants to grow.

Thanks for the help

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rainbowgardener
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Measuring the height of the plants every few days, counting the new leaves, tracking the amount of water they use daily and logging/graphing all that. Getting a garden journal / blog going. Planning the garden, what will go where. Make a visual plot of that.

If you could already work the soil, then you could direct seed some early crops outdoors. Plant radishes, lettuce, spinach. They will come up quickly and be very gratifying.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

Swatt
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To be honest, most of the kids that are doing this are 3rd grade and under, so as much as i'd like to do a garden journal or something like that, i don't think it would hold their attention. I have drawn up plans for where i want everything to grow, and the direct seed planting sounds good, we do plan to do some lettuce.

I did make one pretty big mistake though, I set up a transplant container and let all the kids pick out what they wanted to grow for early season stuff, but then i didn't label what was what when I put them back in the container, so do ya'll think if I posted some sprout pics you could distinguish which sprout is what plant?

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rainbowgardener
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Yes, once they have their true leaves and assuming they are different kinds of things (not just different varieties... that is if you started three different varieties of tomatoes, they will be very difficult to distinguish, but if you started tomatoes, peppers, and green beans, easy).
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

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applestar
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If you have a bulletin board, making a "map" of the garden with the kids' help, then putting up plant pictures (drawn by the kids, actual photos, magazine clippings printout of images found on-online, etc.) might be a fun activity.

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kimbledawn
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Do you have a club blog or a display board? You could spend this time having the kids take pic of the garden now, the materials, and candid shots of them as little farmers. This is a great way to show the other what you guys are doing.

Then you print off coloring pages and activity sheets and crafts about plants and gardening. Good Luck!

Dawn
"Organic gardeners always know the best DIRT!"

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farmerlon
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How about an "assignment"? ... maybe having each child collect a small bucket/container of compostable materials from home (weekly). Start a small compost bin so the children can turn, water, and feed it.
Might be a good lesson in organics and recycling.

Swatt
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Thanks to everyone, these are all great ideas. I should have taken before and after pictures because we revamped it from a uninhabitable wasteland to a nice fenced in garden.

The composting idea is a great one, although I think we could just look for things around the property and neighboring ones, I don't want them to think they have homework for after school care too. But how quickly will I see results? Will I be able to use my compost this season?

I have already drawn a map of where I want things to go in the garden, but that is a good idea to make like an almost life size model of the garden using pictures that they drew/painted.

And my sprout mix up is of completely different plants, not the same variety of one vegetable.

I was also looking into some plants that attract bugs, do you all know of any that you have had experience with them attracting butterflies or bees or other creepy crawlies?

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rainbowgardener
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Here's a thread we had going about gardening to attract wildlife, including bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, etc.

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=178738&highlight=#178738

Just be sure you don't spray any poisons on your garden; bad for the kids as well as the bees and butterflies!
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

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applestar
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Don't forget to check out the Beneficial Insects Sticky in the Organic Insect and Disease Control Forum. 8)

I always have to remember when talking to folks in schools that school year ends in May or June (depending). But I think if you start composting now, you'll see some results -- even finished compost, depending on how you go about it.

My post in this thread (and the rest of the thread :wink:) maybe relevant:
https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=45017#45017

Swatt
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This all sounds awesome, I will definitely add some sage to the garden, that sounds just like what I'm looking for.

I thought I would just run down my list of things I would like to grow, just to see what you all think. I have about a 28ft by 7ft space.

Snow Peas
Plenty of Marigolds around the border
Cucumber
Some sort of Bush Tomato, probably beefmaster
Jalapeno
Banana Peppers
Corn
Watermelon
A flower which I'm not quite sure on, was labeled Butterfly flower
Basil
Lettuce
Carrot
Cotton
Broccoli
Potato
Rosemary
Calendula flower

I probably wont do more than 2 or 3 of each of these, I just wanted a wide variety for the children.

Bobberman
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I have a idea that may work and get their attention! Have each kid have a area to plant either make a symbol or the first letter of his name spelled in radish seeds at the beginning of the plot he is given . If its like a 4 by 4 he could make the the letter bigger. Justcut the letter out to size and set the paper down and put radishes along its border. They will sprout in about 4 days and they will get excited as they watch them grow. They could also plant all their crops in there area in a design they choose ike circles triangles squares and all they need is a piece of paper for the design! Like a square of radisahes a foot square and maybe put a small square inside! Good exucation for them also! Another thing to do is every kid gets a area and does the brder of his garden with a certain seed. Also have them draw their garden o a sheet f paper and place their seeds on the drawin first with x's on the paper! This could be alot of fun for them!
I enjoy fishing ,gardening and a solar greenhouse! carpet installation repair and sales for over 45 years! I am the inventor of the Bobber With A Brain - Fishing Bobber!

Swatt
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That sounds awesome, I don't know if we have the space for your original idea, but we can definitely do something fun like it, thanks for your help!

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Gary350
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You could have your 3 graders build bird houses. I have 25 bird houses for Wrens and I never have a problem with bugs in my garden the birds that care of the bugs. Wrens eat a lot of bugs they are good birds to have in the garden and they love to sing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W8wjCGQhhRI

I did a thread here once a couple years ago about bird houses with photos and Plans it should still be here somewhere. I have built a lot of bird houses over the past 40 years and I have learned what Wrens like best. Online Wren house plans are not the best it is not exactly what the birds like.

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=22580&highlight=bird+house

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Soil biology is a real hoot; if you can get hands on a cheap microscope, even a good hand lens, you can really blow up some little minds with how many organisms are in the soil. I think kids are even more fascinated with the minutiae than adults, and creepy crawly holds big sway with the youngsters I know.

HG
Scott Reil

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