School gardens are beneficial in many ways. They can provide organic alternatives to traditionally grown foods and stimulate learning. Schools are beginning to integrate gardening into their curricula. School gardens are easily created using plant types that grow well in the given area. Raised beds and containers can be used where soil drainage is not good.
There are many varieties of tomatoes, including grape and cherry tomatoes that work well in salads. Tomatoes can be started inside, then transplanted to an outdoor garden space when there is no longer a chance of frost. They love sunny locations. Cages are helpful when growing the tomatoes, as they will provide support.
Tomato cages or trellises can be used as supports for cucumbers. These are easy to grow if it is not too damp. They love warm weather. There are myriad varieties of cucumbers, including those for pickling and those for eating off the vine, such as in salads.
There are many varieties of peppers that can be grown, but a school may wish to utilize the milder types. Bell peppers are a good example. You can start these plants inside and transfer them to the outside garden in the spring.
Spinach, lettuce and cabbage are good choice for a school garden. They can be started in removable cold frames early, and grown later in the fall season by utilizing the cold frames again. Cool weather crops, these plants can be planted directly in the ground almost a month before the last frost.
Peas and Beans
These plants will grow nicely planted in small hills with the help of a trellis, although bush types will not need a trellis. These types of produce are considered legumes so they provide protein to the diet. Both peas and beans are easy to grow.
Herbs are also easy to grow and will add nutritional value to many recipes. Chives can be used in salads, stews or on potatoes. Parsley is easily dried for winter use. Basil compliments both garlic and tomatoes. Using a variety of herbs will help to spice up many recipes.
Marigold and nasturtium both have edible flowers. They are used in salads and on sandwiches, but can also be used as edible decorations for cupcakes and other sweets. These can be grown in pots and placed around the school garden as a border.Clover flowers are edible and can be added to juices.