Back to School: Using The Garden as a Classroom

Wooden tree house project with mulching next to an edible garden!

Wooden tree house project with mulching next to an edible garden!

Welcome back, readers! In our last blog, we discussed some top ways to tackle Crabgrass. This week we discuss gardening, landscaping, and organic home lifestyle tips with a few Back to School garden project ideas. Here’s to helping you ease into the new/upcoming school year!

Using the Garden as a Classroom

Does your child love to dig into dirt piles and see what soil looks like up close? Do they look forward to picking delicious vegetables for dinner out of the family (or neighbors) garden?  Not only can children and teenagers learn valuable lessons from home gardens, but so can young adults, and us (adults). As Fall gears up (how is it mid-August already?!), Gardenalia tried out some Back to School garden ideas in hopes to help you find new ways to combine gardening + learning = fun for your family.

Lesson #1: Patience and Growth

Whether you’re a lifelong gardener or a new home buyer creating your first dream landscape, spending time gardening grows plants and patience! Patience comes from planting seeds, watering, toiling around in the soil, and then waiting (rain or shine) for the first signs of a sprouting seedling. These cyclical movements can help children see the circle of life from seed to harvest.

Documenting Plant Growth

If you have a camera or smartphone, take one photo a day from the time you plant vegetable seedlings to when they ripen and are ready to pick. From there, save the pictures into an album on Facebook or Instagram. If you prefer slideshows instead, here’s a fun trick: take photos from the same spot/angle each day, upload them in chronological order and then speed up the time in between each frame and push play. You’ll see your plants grow from start to finish in “real time”!

Gardenalia tip: Another fun Back to School project is the time tested growing grass in a paper cup! YouTube and the internet have a million fun ways to tackle this project!

Lesson #2: Sharing and Responsibility

From filling the watering can to pulling pesky weeds, each action a child takes in their home’s garden makes them feel involved and gives a sense of ownership. Having them be responsible for maintaining house and garden plants gives them a chance to shine and allows them to prove that they are capable. Starting the kids off with easy-to-care-for items like succulents or hardy house plants is the best way to begin. Once they get the hang of it, scale the complexity of plant care to potting, replanting, etc.

Lesson #3: Recess

We live in a technology-driven world, and it’s easy to be distracted by work (and school) emails, TV, the internet, travel, and the list goes on. Bringing your family out of the house and into the garden is important! It allows everyone to take a (much needed) recess and lets our minds wander. Plus, keeping our hands in the soil makes grabbing the smartphone, remote, or video game controller not-so-easy. For some of us, leaving the smartphone on the kitchen counter isn’t possible. If this resonates with you, there are some neat plant identifier apps out there that could be easily used to help create a fun gardening + treasure hunt game! 

Gardenalia Tip: Work with our staff to find kid friendly plant life in your yard, including seasonal Fall veggies and even treehouses!

Rebecca Cooper