gardenbunny
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Location: Beaumont, Southern California

Garden Club at School

I am a teacher and my school has an after school program. They have asked me to run a garden club for the 3rd graders. The club provided everything from 20 garden tubs on wheels to bags of soil. We are waiting for them to send us seeds, but I don't know if they will be a good brand or how long it will be before we get them in. The school is in the Southern Cali Desert. What can I start growing now to get the kids started? Should I just stick to the basics that would be easy for the kids to grow (carrots, lettuce, radishes) or should I get a range of seeds for experimentation? I love gardening my self, but hate the disappointment of a bad crop. Any suggestions on making this successful would be much appreciated!

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Grey
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Location: Summerville, GA, Zone 7a

Oh how fun!

I personally think one of the best things for kids to grow are sunflowers - they grow so fast, and the kids can even learn how to dry the finished flower head and collect the seeds, really easy.

Other than that, for flowers, I find zinna are good constant bloomers for novice gardeners - they grow fast and they just bloom and bloom - the kids would like bringing home flowers they grew for Mom.

Veggies: if the tubs are BIG, squash is so easy. If not so big, carrots are usually enjoyed by kids but to me they take forever, and if I were a kid I'd be wanting to keep checking on the root to see if I had something edible yet!

What about herbs, like basil? It grows pretty fast.

gardenbunny
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Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2008 2:19 am
Location: Beaumont, Southern California

thanks

Great advice! The tubs would be big enough for about one squash plant. How do zinneas do in heat?? It gets to about 100 degrees by May!

lillgardnr
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Location: El Dorado, CA.

my kids and i garden together , and what ive found is that cherry tomatoes are fun and easy....even my two year old loves to grab a basket and fill it up..we also had fun growing turnips (not so much fun eating them ) they grow really fast...my son loves growing peppers and egg plants (13 years old), but i think the funnest thing we all have grown together has been sweet peas, and morning glories... sweat peas grow fast, and its fun to hunt them out... and morning glories have new blooms every morning..they also grow super fast and are really easy to grow in cali... :D

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Grey
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Zinnias do fine in heat - we get 100 degrees out here in August for a few weeks, and they just keep right on going with a little water.

opabinia51
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What a great idea! Do you have space for a plot that the kids can grow in, I read about tubs but, if they can work in the ground they will do that much better. Try some tomatoes, heirlooms are really great because you can get some really neat colours like Green Tomatoes (Zebra), Orange, Purple, even black tomatoes. All are in varying sizes.

We have a new sticky on growing tomatoes and saving seeds from them in the tomatoe forum.

Corn is pretty simple, I don't know how it does in California though. Make soure you teach the kids about soil ecology as well. The main thing that you can tell them about is how worms help us in the garden. We have a lot of information on the site in the threads and some nice articles regarding organic gardening.
https://www.helpfulgardener.com/organic/2006/

Some of the above information may be a bit over the youngsters heads but you can give them what information you deem important.

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=382

This thread has a lot of information on organic gardening.

I've been thinking and it would be neat for the kids to start a worm composting bin up. All you need is some wood and build a box into which your can place mulched leaves and vegetable wastes and of course some red wriggler worms.

Or you can simply start a pile of compost with leaves and garden wastes and vegetable wastes. The kids will enjoy playing the red wriggler worms that will flock to your pile. With luck some nice big earthworms will come along as well.

Invite them to come on the HG and ask any questions.

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Location: Amherst, MA USDA Zone 5a

Be sure to check out the Edible Schoolyard.
https://www.edibleschoolyard.org/ppl_aw.html

It's a program launched by Alice Waters of Chez Panisse fame, out here in Berkeley, CA. It's a program designed to teach kids about sustainable agriculture, where food comes from, lessons about the earth, biology, life, eating, and cooking.

Their site features tips on gardening at school:
https://www.edibleschoolyard.org/how_tips.html

This site has plenty of information to help get you started, including suggested reading.

Definitely keep us updated on your progress.

:D

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