If you are lucky enough to have outside grass space at school, raised beds or recycled containers can be positioned there. If you have no grassy space and have tarmac or concrete instead you can set up containers, grow bags and large pots too. Basically, if you have something that will hold soil, you can grow food.
Organic gardening in its simplest form just means that you do not use any chemicals, artificial pesticides, fertilisers, or anything that could harm your garden or the environment. You are aiming to work with nature and your environment and recycle and reuse as much as possible. When you create a new garden, it takes some time for the ecosystem to balance; in the first year or two you might get more than a fair share of pests.
There are lots of organic ways you can stop pests from eating your crops.
It is also important to provide habitat for nature’s pest controllers such as birds, frogs and beneficial insects which also help with pollination of your edible plants.
Consider the space that you have available and plan as a group what you want to grow. Things which you might want to consider given the space are:
The best advice for any budding garden scheme is to start small, and build on what you have over time. If you have success with a small amount of growing space it gives everyone the confidence to push on and do more.
These can be made from untreated railway sleepers, old scaffolding boards or 9” (23cm) x 2” (5cm) pressure treated boards. If you use wooden boards the important things to remember are:
These can be bought or made out of recycled materials. They must have some holes in the bottom for drainage but if they don’t, drill some. The larger the container the better; very small pots or containers need too much attention in terms of watering and feeding and your plants may not do so well.
Soil based mixed with multi-purpose or potting compost is best, and a little horticultural grit for hardy herbs – add a top dressing of compost in autumn and spring and a scattering of pelleted chicken manure.
If you are lucky enough to have a space facing south, south east or south west you will be able to grow almost anything. Don’t be disheartened though if the only space you have faces north or is shaded by tall buildings, as lots of crops do quite nicely in shade. It would be better if the space gets some sunlight at some stage during the day, but there are lots of possibilities if that is not the case.
The Garden Planner resources below will help you identify what Vegetables and Herbs you may be able to plant in your gardens to work in with the school year and your growing activities. Each resource gives an overview of when is best to sow and harvest your favourite vegetables and herbs.
Here are some useful tips for harvesting your fruits and vegetables.