The key to a successful school garden is in the planning. No matter the size and style of your garden, you will need to answer important questions about who will use the garden, where it will be located in order to sustain the plants you plan to grow, and how it will be maintained
Where to start ?
This is a lot to do with the space the garden is been created. The size of the garden, the soil type and the location.
Location ideally your garden should be getting 5-6 hours of sunlight. If you garden is located in a dark corner, it will make it much more difficult. Keep an eye on the direct sunlight for a few days to get an idea of the garden. If it is in a semi shaded area then you will be able to grow shade tolerant plants and herbs. Ideally you will be hoping for a south facing garden.
The soil: Is it a hard or soft surface. When planting a vegetable garden raised beds can be a lot easier and can be placed on either hard or soft surfaces. Be creative creating a raised bed. There are great products on the market. If you have budget restrictions you can create raised beds with up cycling. Parents, Local mens sheds and other organistaions may be a great resource to do this part for you.
Access to water. It is a good idea to try a position you school garden near to an outside tap for ease of watering. But an alternative is to harvest rain water.
Even if you have a small garden, you can have great success?
Firstly plan what you would like to achieve. Vegetable garden, sensory garden, Bio diversity garden or elements of all.
Look at the whole area. How much ground space has the garden. Is there a wall or fence that can utilised or can one be erected. Vertical gardens are an alternative for gardeners who don't have a lot of horizontal space or want to cover an un attractive wall.
Vertical gardening can save a lot of space. A few ideas for vertical gardening is a Living wall, Hanging baskets (for vegetables and herbs) wall hanging containers like pots, hayracks, drainpipes or unusual containers like wellies, bottles or shoe organisers. See images below for inspiration.
Container Gardening: Most trees and Shrubs and Vegetables can be grown in Pots and Containers. If you have a small Garden look at dwarf varieties. For example a cornet apple tree is a miniature tree. An old wheelbarrow can be a a lovely salad or herb container. (make sure it has lots of drainage) Window boxes for Salads, watercress , herbs, rainbow chard to name a few.
Climbing fruit and Veg up a wire fence : Peas, beans, cucumber, tomatoes , Trained blueberries, rasberrerries, Grapes
Top tip in small Gardens. Make sure that the containers and beds will get enough feed and water to produce a bounty for the season.
Rockery gardens. Most herbs including lavender are naturally rockery plants. They can grow in areas that other plants wont thrive as long as the have sunshine. There is varieties of ground cover thyme and rosemary that can be grown in between slabs and pavings. The release a fabulous aroma when stepped on. Too much traffic on these plant is detrimental to them.
Be creative, Use bold colours in a small garden. Create a garden that is big on Colour
From all the team at griffins of Dripsey