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School Gardening Program

Spring 2022
red radish
Talking about vegetables, some good things for the kids to grow right now are:
Carrots
Beets
Chard
Radish
Spinach
 
 
leaf lettace
I would do lettuce in a container, it does not have to be too big. Do leaf lettuce, not head lettuce (they don't grow well here). Red leaf lettuce would be fun for the kids.
You can start squash seeds now in six packs and then transplant when they are big enough in about 3-4 weeks. One seed packet of squash is about 30+ seeds.
 
yellow sunflower
Another is sunflower seeds, start in six packs now and transplant. There are all kinds but the mammoth are the huge ones.
 
A fun plant is long bean. If you grow green beans they mature all at the same time, in about 60 days. Long bean get very tall, you could build a trellis and they mature all season, until the first frost. Kids can actually measure the growth every day.
It's too cold for peppers or tomatoes right now, those should go in the week before Easter break (mid April). Hot peppers do well, bell peppers don't mature until about August or September when the weather cools down.
red and yellow small cherry tomatos
I would plant a cherry type tomato (sun gold or yellow pear), or a salad type like early girl. I doubt you get a crop before school is out, but you will have tomatoes when the kids come back and they last until the first frost. The yellow cherry tastes sweeter.
 
From Master Gardener John 
About Master Gardener John

A little bit about myself.

john mg volunteer
I am a retired secondary teacher. I started my career teaching vocational agriculture in the Salinas Valley in 1981. While there I was short two teaching periods and to fill my contract I approached the Monterey County Special Ed Director and asked her if she would be willing to fund two periods of an Adaptive Horticulture class. She said yes and that is how I began my career with special needs students and gardening.

Being a valley boy from Hanford I missed the valley heat (go figure). I applied for a position in Clovis Unified in 1985 and was hired because of my vocational background. The school greenhouse was being used for storage so my special needs students and I cleaned up the greenhouse and started producing bedding plants that we sold to the school district for site beautification. We made $600 that first year and paid for a trip to the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

After teaching for 34 years I retired in 2015 and in 2017 became a Master Gardener. I love teaching gardening techniques to anyone that will listen. I hope I can share my experiences with you so you are successful, and most of all that the children are successful. They are the future. Thanks, John

Square Foot Gardening

Good morning everyone, hope all is well. I'm sending you the square foot garden newsletter. You can receive their monthly newsletter at squarefootgardening.com . It has lots of ideas and suggestions.

Most school sites are evaluating what growing areas are available to them. The MG are recommending the 'Square Foot Gardening program' that can be modified to be used with a group or team of students in as little as a 2 foot by 2 foot area or as large as a 4 foot by 4 foot area. Attached is the pdf from the UNARC on square foot gardening. UNARC sq ft garden
There are many gardening curriculum programs available for all ages. One we are using with our teachers is 'GrowLab.com'. It breaks down the activities by grade level. K-2, 3-5, and 6-8 and can easily be adapted to the California standards. Please contact the Master Gardener's website for more information
Thinking about your programs, a frame of 4 ft by 4 ft is large with 16 squares. You may consider 3 ft by 3 ft which would give you 9 squares to work with. Good luck and have fun.

Additional information

The Fresno County Master Gardeners have been working with a few of Fresno Unified schools helping start gardening/science programs. Currently we are working with 4 sites, Slater Elementary, Sequoia Middle School, Manchester Gate, and Baird Elementary School. A weekly email is sent out to requesting teachers from the Master Gardeners, sharing gardening tips and science techniques that have been successful in the classroom. If you would like additional information please contact the Fresno County Master Gardeners helpline.

M-Gate-4

manchester gate 2021-1

slater

Most school sites are evaluating what growing areas are available to them. The MG are recommending the 'Square Foot Gardening program' that can be modified to be used with a group or team of students in as little as a 2 foot by 2 foot area or as large as a 4 foot by 4 foot area. Attached is the pdf from the UNARC on square foot gardening. More information can be obtained at 'squarefootgardening.com'. UNARC sq ft garden
There are many gardening curriculum programs available for all ages. One we are using with our teachers is 'GrowLab.com'. It breaks down the activities by grade level. K-2, 3-5, and 6-8 and can easily be adapted to the California standards. Please contact the Master Gardener's website for more information.