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School garden resources

Council has developed an easy-to-use calendar to assist you to run a productive school garden. Click here to download a copy. The resource lists are designed to match the school calendar.

There is another excellent garden calendar with a week-by-week guide for school gardeners to follow. Click here to find out more.

The resources below are just some of the information available. If you have discovered other online gardening resources please share them with us at greengardener@kapiticoast.govt.nz

Summer, Raumati (Term1)

Autumn, Ngahuru (Term 2)

Winter, Makariki (Term 3)

Spring, Koanga (Term 4)

Links to lesson plans and classroom projects

 

Summer, Raumati: (Term 1)

Mulch experiment

What is mulch? Why is it important? How does it affect soil temperature, water conservation, erosion prevention and weed suppression? In this lesson, you will examine mulch and and investigate how it benefits the soil. Click here to find out more.  

Seed dispersal

Plants spread their seeds in ingenious ways. Use this chart as a starting point for a seed search in the schoolyard.

Seed saving

Some seeds are easier to save and store than others.This useful chart tells you the seeds of what varieties will stay true to the parent plant and which will hybridise.

Wildlife

Most children love hunting minibeasts. Learn more about insects in the garden and how you can make a 'Bug Hotel’. Click here to see BBC's excellent resources, including this handy chart for classifying minibeasts by the number of legs/wings etc.

What spider is that? Te Papa have a guide to help you identify some of our strange and wonderful spiders and explain a few of their intriguing habits. Go here to find out more.

The Department of Conservation shows you how lizards can thrive in suburban gardens and rural properties if you provide the right food and shelter. Click here to learn how to make homes for geckos and skinks.

The website nzbirds.com provides a list of trees and plants that may attract birds to your garden or farm. Go here to find out more.

Taking cuttings

Late summer is a good time to take evergreen cuttings and create new plants. Go here to find out more.

Strawberry runners

To grow new strawberry plants, you let runners root themselves into the soil. When the runners are big, you dig them up and replant them. This wikihow link gives advice on how to ensure your runners have a healthy root ball. This method works with a trowel if you don’t have a `bulb planter’:

Seaweed fertilizer

1.Gather seaweed from the beach (make sure it is not a marine reserve).

2. Place seaweed in a large drum, chop with shears and just cover with fresh water.

3. Leave for eight weeks, stirring every three days.

4. Dilute the resulting liquid and use to water plants.

Go here to watch an easy to follow youtube clip.

Pruning stonefruit trees

Canberra Organic Growers Society Inc has some useful tips on tree pruningGo here to read more.   

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Autumn, Ngahuru (Term 2)

Making compost

The Green Gardener can come to Kāpiti schools and early childhood centres for a free composting workshop to get you started. Email greengardener@kapiticoast.govt.nz to find out more.

Edibleschoolyard.org has a downloadable lesson plan for making compost. It's suitable for years 6-8 but the posters could be adapted for younger children too. Go here to find out more.  

If you are keen to make compost, there is more information here:

Snail traps

You can use beer to control unwanted snails and slugs. This video shows how to make a beertrap from a plastic bottle.

Seed catalogues

Planting by the Moon

For a printable calendar suggesting what to plant at different phases of the moon, go here.  Koanga's detailed moon gardening chart is here. (It says it's for 2015, but can be adapted to any year).

Microgreens

It's easy and fast to grow micorgreens. Go here to read more.

Green crops

Green crops, also known as cover crop or green manure, are the cheapest way to build good soil whether you are starting with sand or clay. They are quick growing plants, sown densely to be eventually dug in, used as mulch or composted. Here are some suggestions for green crops that do well in New Zealand,  or if you want more detail go here.

Sprout potatoes

You can start chitting (sprouting) potatoes in midwinter (July/August) for planting in September. Go here to read how. (this page has lots of information about growing potatoes, scroll down for the part about chitting)

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Winter, Makariki (Term 3)

No-dig beds

No-dig beds are a great way to create productive gardens here in sandy country. Go here to read more.  

Microgreens

King Seeds show you how easy it is to grow micorgreens. Go here to read more.

Seed sowing

Even when it's cold, you can start seed off in the classroom, provided you have a sunny spot. If your classroom doesn't get the sun you can make a simple plastic house, so seedlings are ready to go in the garden once things warm up. Click here for seed sowing tips.

Seed experiment

Growing seeds indoors, in plastic bags or jars on a windowsill, is a great winter activity for all ages. This link shows a good experiment for preschoolers, For years 1-8, try this printable worksheet for students to fill in their plant measurements as the seeds grow. And this video looks at sprouting seeds for dissection to discover the parts of the embryonic plant.

Seed balls

Great for ninjas! This exciting experiment introduces seed balls, a method of gardening that allows you to throw to sow! Go here to find out more.

Soil and erosion

In this lesson, Year 6-8 students will look at how soil is made and ways can prevent erosion. 

Identifying earthworms

An ever poular topic. This link  takes you to an awesome science learning resource with videos about how worms move, lots of information and fascinating facts, even a 'wormface' page for social media. There are great photos of New Zealand's different worm species -. print them off and laminate, then send students on a worm hunt in the school gardens. 

Soil experiments

Enviroschools provide a range of soil-based science questions that would be ideal to investigate further and present at a science fair. Go here to find out more.    

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Spring, Koanga (Term 4)

Flowers

Edible Schoolyard's lesson plan investigates the biology of a flower, with students imagining themselves as a bee, then dissecting and drawing flowers on the worksheets provided. Aimed at Year 7 but easily adaptable. Go here to find out more.

Pressing Flowers

This Wikihow link shows how easy it is to press flowers - maybe for students to make theri own cards? Click here to find out more.

Three Sisters

The classic combination of corn, squash and beans grown together are a great example of interplanting: the beans climb the corn while squash plants shade the roots.  Find out more here. 

Irrigation

An irrigation system makes all the difference over the summer. Click here to find out more. Or these charts can make planning an irrigation system into a mathematics exercise.

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Other links to great free lesson plans and classroom projects

edibleschoolyard.org  Resources and lesson plans uploaded by teachers across the US

kidsgardening.org  US site, great classroom projects

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