Tending to your school garden during summer break

school garden
The locally sourced movement is particularly strong in California, a state that also grows a lot of food.

Summer is in full swing but what is happening to the gardens that were planted by students and teachers during the spring semester? Without summer care, students might miss out on learning opportunities related to the care, maintenance, harvesting, and use of the plants and crops. Additionally, they’ll face a mess of weeds in the fall.

So how can schools, students, and the community work to maintain school gardens during summer break? With these simple tips and ideas, your school’s garden will be flourishing all the way through the first day of school.

Keep Access Open

One of the biggest obstacles to tending a garden on school property during the summer is access. During the summer, maintenance crews, janitorial staff, and even teachers or librarians may spend time in the school. If you want to allow access to the gardens as well, work with those in charge to make sure that gardeners have access as well.

You may need to work with staff to make a schedule, and access may need to be supervised depending on your community and your school. Tools like Google Calendar allow multiple people to share and modify a digital calendar so that you can all be on the same page.

Organize Gardening Teams

Since the biggest obstacle school gardens face in the summer is the lack of people to tend to the garden, it’s important to come up with a plan to get help. Fortunately, there are several ways to arrange summer garden care for your school.

Arrange Volunteer Days

Sometimes, a garden doesn’t need care every single day. Scheduling a gardening day once or twice a week (depending on the environment and the needs of the plants in your garden) and advertising publicly is a great way to have a group of volunteers to work on the garden when they are available.

Set up Children’s Gardening Groups

One of the reasons that schools plant gardens is so that children can learn and have access to the crops. So, why not set up summer gardening programs for children to maintain the garden throughout the summer?

These organizations can be tied to things like Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts or the local library, or they can be run independently.

Ask Your Community for Help

Sometimes, local families, even those without children, are willing to help tend a school garden in the summer. Making a schedule where different community members, families, or groups can claim a week or two of the summer allows many people to help. Doing this also keeps the garden maintained around everyone’s busy summer schedules.

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