School Garden Design

There are a whole range of considerations that need to be made when developing a garden design. These include who will be using the garden, what it will be used for, how much it will be used and what products are desired for the garden.

Through consultation with the interested members of the P&C I developed a garden plan that included more raised garden beds (for growing veggies, one per class), a chook coop (for eggs, composting), a worm-farm (for composting), improving of the orchard, swales for water harvesting and the facilities to pot up seeds and seedlings and a nursury for them. Also in the plans are a sheltered outdoor classroom space and additional beds for planting herbs and other veggies.

In the eastern part of the garden, near the shed we have the garden’s zone 1. This is an area for frequent use that is easily supervised. Surrounding the shed we have potting benches and a sink which we hope to plumb for washing hands and tools and seedlings. Further we have soil and compost pens to use for plant potting.

The chickens are located here for frequent observation and easy access by the students collecting eggs and feeding the chickens. In this area we hope to build a pizza oven at the edge of the hall and an outdoor classroom beneath the two large trees to facilitate learning outdoors and the transition between indoor and outdoor learning.

Zone 1: the potting benches, soil pen, chook coop

On the Northern side of the shed we have raised beds for each class to use and a nursery shelves where seedlings can be grown and raised. A worm farm is located here to turn food scraps into compost and worm juice and I hope to build a solar food dehydrator here to assist in processing produce coming out of the garden. Up the hill from these beds there is a swale which is a level ditch on the contour of the hill. Because water finds it own level, when it hits the swales it spreads out across the hill rather than flowing straight down. This holds the water and allows it to soak in rather than running off. This stores water in the soil and assists the plants below the swale to grow. The swale in the garden is now growing peas and beans and below the swale are fruit trees and pollinator attracting natives.

The fruit tree areas have been mulched to prevent cooch grass from growing among the trees. These have been inter-planted with nitrogen fixing companion plants such as Hardenbergia sp and Acacia. As we move into spring I hope to add understory plants such as raspberries, strawberries, loganberries and beneficial herbs including yarrow, tansy and garlic.

The Raised beds, nursury, swale and food forest

Between the two food forests is an area where I hope to set up raised beds that can be accessed by the pathways. This is known as a keyhole bed. This will allow for an area where all kinds of different veggies and fruit can grow and we can have a bit of an experiment with the possible additions to the garden. This area will also incorporate a herb garden for cooking delicious things like Pizza!!! These food forest zones are known as zone 2 as they require less attention than the aspects of the garden in zone 1.

The food forests

If you have any questions or comments about the design use the comments feature and I’ll talk with you about them.

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