School garden resources
Council has developed an easy-to-use calendar to assist you to run a productive school garden. You can download a copy of our school gardening calendar. 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. Check out the New Zealand school edible garden calendar.
Resources on this page include:
What is mulch? Why is it important? Students undertake a fair test to identify the effect of mulch on water retention in soil and report their findings. Find out more about Water supply and conservation.
Plants spread their seeds in ingenious ways.
Some seeds are easier to save and store than others. This Crop-Specific Seed Saving Guide tells you the seeds of what varieties will stay true to the parent plant and which will hybridise.
Most children love hunting minibeasts. Learn more about insects in the garden and how you can make a 'Bug Hotel’ – and this Find your Mini-beast chart can be used to 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. You can find out more at What spider is that?
The Department of Conservation shows you how lizards can thrive in suburban gardens and rural properties if you provide the right food and shelter. See Make a lizard lounge 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. Find out more at Planting for birds.
Late summer is a good time to take evergreen cuttings and create new plants. You can find out how at Cuttings: semi-ripe.
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 YouTube video "Grow Strawberry Runners with big root balls" 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’:
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.
Watch this How to make liquid fertiliser with seaweed clip on Youtube.
Pruning stonefruit trees
Treecrops.co.nz has some useful tips on tree pruning, especially about Summer pruning of stonefruit.
The Green Gardener can come to Kāpiti schools and early childhood centres for a free composting workshop to get you started. Email [email protected] 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.
You can use beer to control unwanted snails and slugs. This video shows how to make a beertrap from a plastic bottle.
Planting by the Moon
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.
You can start chitting (sprouting) potatoes in midwinter (July/August) for planting in September.
No-dig beds are a great way to create productive gardens here in sandy country. Go here to read more.
King Seeds show you how easy it is to grow micorgreens. Go here to read more.
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.
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.
Soil and erosion
Soil4Teachers has a bank of many lessons and hands-on activities all about soils and topics related to soils. These materials include lessons and activities are posted directly by SSSA as well as external links to materials that we have reviewed and recommend. You can search for materials by grade level and/or subject and/or type of lesson. Have a look and give it a try!
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.
Enviroschools provide a range of soil-based science questions that would be ideal to investigate further and present at a science fair.
In California Acedemy of Sciences's lesson plan, students learn about plant reproduction and use real data to construct explanations about which flowers are the most attractive to different pollinators.. Go here to find out more.
This Wikihow link shows how easy it is to press flowers - maybe for students to make theri own cards?
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.
An irrigation system makes all the difference over the summer. These charts can make planning an irrigation system into a mathematics exercise.