Learning Garden Tours 9-12

Students participate in a teacher lead tour and participate in garden task stations where they will become familiar with garden vocabulary, the basics of what plants need to survive and thrive, what is growing in the garden, and basic gardening techniques.

Materials and Preparation Procedures: Prep at least three activity stations

Bed Preparation: compost, fertilizer, bucket or bag for weeds

Seeding: seasonally appropriate seeds for planting

Transplanting: seasonally appropriate seedlings for planting

Watering: watering can or upcycled watering cans

Thinning: a clean container for thinned (or harvested) crops

Harvesting: a clean container for harvested crops

Familiarize yourself with the basics of what plants need to grow LAWN (light, air, water, nutrients)

Teacher Background
In order to survive and thrive, plants, just like humans, have basic needs that must be met. All plants need food, water, a place to live, and optimal temperature to grow and reproduce. These needs can be summarized by the acronym LAWN, light, air, water, and nutrients.

Introduction (10 minutes)
Welcome your students to the Learning Garden. Let them know that today they will be familiarizing themselves with the Learning Garden and learning a few garden based tasks.  Student will first take a self-guided tour of the learning garden. Let the students know that in order to familiarize themselves with the Learning Garden they will complete a 5-minute self-guided observation tour. Ask the students to think about the following questions while they are making observations:
1.What do plants need to grow? (light, air, water, and nutrients)

2.What is in the soil to help plants grow? (nutrients – nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium; worms and other helpful organisms)

3.Where do plants get water from? (rain and your schools water source)

4. What plants are growing? do you recognize any? Review the observation questions from above. For question number four be sure to ID at least 6 prominent plants growing in your Learning Garden. Take students on a quick ID tour if they are unable to ID any of the plants on their own.

Garden Lesson (30 minutes)
Let students know that next we will review three different tasks that can be done in the Learning Garden. After the task review, break students up into groups. Each group should spend about 5 minutes at each station completing and modeling the task. Rotate each group through the three tasks. As the teacher, rotate from group to group as needed. Based on the needs of your Learning Garden choose at least three of the stations below for students to rotate through. Big Green provides seasonal seeds and seedlings for you Learning Garden in addition your resource binder contains more information about the other stations.

Station One: Bed Preparation
Demonstrate how to properly prepare a bed for planting. This may include removing weeds, lightly turning over the soil with your hands in the bed, and applying compost or organic fertilizers.

Station Two: Seeding
Demonstrate how to properly seed a selected seed (of your choice). Show the seed packet and quickly review the seed spacing and depth information. Plant seed(s) accordingly.

Station Three: Transplanting
Demonstrate how to properly transplant a seedling (of your choice). Review the seedling tag which should include information on spacing and plant depth. Plant seedling(s) accordingly.

Station Four: Watering
Demonstrate how to top water with a watering can. Show a thorough water of each plant in one garden bed as well as watering the soil in between all of the plants.

Station Five: Thinning
Demonstrate how to properly thin various crops. Thinning is an important step in small scale gardening and allows for an early harvest and room for larger plants to grow.

Station Six: Harvesting
Demonstrate how to properly harvest various crops that are ready to be harvested. Be sure students are using clean containers and wash their hands prior to harvesting.

Conclusion (10 minutes)
1. Review what plants need to grow
2. Go over the 6 plants that you identified
3. Review the 3 garden skills practiced. Emphasize the importance of watering our garden