I have worked with several Montessori schools in Maine, California, Florida, Utah, and also the beautiful island of Bermuda and have formulated several versions of gardening curriculum for students of all ages. One of the primary purposes of these programs is to show the students that in learning a simple hobby such as gardening, they can utilize their knowledge in many different subjects such as math, english, geography, and art work – all of which demonstrate the value of their overall education in learning simple everyday life hobbies and even professions such as gardening.
The Utah Montessori school just happens to be located right next to the new Square Foot Gardening demonstration garden in the center of town and the project is under development so that the students will have their own gardens to plant and tend along with the classroom work. It is expected from this project that an overall lesson plan will be developed enabling all Montessori schools as well as many other private schools to develop their own programs for teaching gardening as part of their curriculum.
I have already met with the Headmaster Amanda and the parents to give them a brief description of the project and the demonstration project next door. All were interested and excited with the project and many signed up as volunteers for both the present projects and the building and maintaining the gardens next spring.
We are making a prototype of something that I designed a few years ago called an Executive Garden. It was a miniature garden that could be set on a conference table. It measured only 12″ x 12″ (1 square foot) and was subdivided into 4 sections, each one planted with 1, 4, 9 or 16 to represent the spacing of the typical SFG. Now granted the dimensions were different, it was used to illustrate the various spacing. The amazing part of this garden was:
- The soil was only 1-2″ deep
- When growing and set in the middle of a meeting or conference, became a fascinating center piece that everyone kept staring at and talking about
The amazing thing is that all of this was made in a small pizza box (12″ x 12″). It was lined with plastic and filled with Mel’s Mix and the top cardboard of the top cover was cut out with the 1, 4, 9, and 16 spacing. It came complete with seeds, soil and a descriptive instruction on how to grow it as well as the traditional Square Foot Gardening tips. It was never put into commercial production, but one of the major pizza company’s chains has shown a great interest in it and who knows what’s going to happen there. It was also shown to a manager of one of The Nature Store and he felt it would be a big seller in their stores and encouraged us to go to headquarters. We are hoping to develop it and to be able to sell it for under $10 each. What do you think? Would you buy one?
How Can You Help?
We are collecting information on how many garden writers, teachers and government are still teaching the antiquated inefficient single row gardening system. Would YOU call your local county extension service agriculture agent and ask them to mail you literature on starting a vegetable garden. The other question to ask them is, have they ever heard of and do they teach the Square Foot Gardening system? If we could collect that information from around the country, it would be a big asset in educating public officials on a new efficient backyard gardening system for the 21st Century. And the beat goes on to make Square Foot Gardening a household name!