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Re: School garden plants

Hi Kristin,

Re: Plants that are good for elementary school kids-- I don't know where
to begin!  I built a large school garen in Ypsilanti, Michigan (near Ann
Arbor, about an hour from Detroit in southeast Michigan) at an elementary
school... We had excellent soil (that we brought in, actually, because the
existing soil was very sketchy and we hit gravel about 5 inches down) and
grew all sorts of things in raised beds... What season are the kids
around?  If they're on a sept-june school schedule, then I'd recommend,
well, early and late season crops... If there'll be kids there in the
summer, that's a whole different story... We've had great success with
some really easy flowers from seed-- sunflowers (kids love them...),
cosmos, zinneas, nasturtium, marigolds all flourished with little care... 

Our garden is 55x65 feet and has several components, all in raised beds of
different shapes-- a salad garden (a circular bed is a "salad bowl" and 
has lettuce, spinach, carrots, radishes, and spoon shaped beds are "salad
spoons" and have herbs in them); an alphabet garden (beds shaped like the
letters A, B, and C and contain at least one plant starting with each
letter of the alphabet, a mix of annuals and perennials), a giant star
with veggies, a strawberry patch, a pumpkin/squash/gourd patch, a native
prairie, and 3 compost bins (built out of old pallets)... I got ideas for
what to grow and how from several places, but find especially
inspirational the 4-H Children's Gardens at Michigan State University
(although I've never seen them in person)-- their web site has virtual
walk throughs and extensive lists of plants--
http://4hgarden.msu.edu/tour/overview.html goes right to the gardens.  

Some of the easiest other plants to grow with kids, from my experience--
radishes, snow peas (a BIG winner in my garden, where none of the kids had
ever eaten peas in a shell and raw), collard greens, various squash,
beets... Those are just a few-- I'd love to give other advice if you want
it, at least what I've learned from my experience...

Amanda Edmonds
Ann Arbor, MI

     We must be the change we wish to see in the world. -Gandhi

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