Life Lab

Life Lab cultivates children's love of learning, healthy food, and nature through garden-based education.

Summer Vacation for Your Garden- Adapted from The Life Lab Garden Times, Spring 2003.

Here are some ideas to keep your garden maintained during the summer so that your fall garden will be full of treats to harvest instead of weeds.

Garden Guardians Have families or neighbors sign up to “adopt” the garden for a week or two during the summer. Leave simple directions on where to water and weed and encourage your garden guardians to harvest the veggies and flowers that are ready for picking. This will not only serve as a simple thank you, but will encourage your plants to keep producing fruit and flowers. Ideally you’d want the whole summer schedule made up with the contacts of the weekly caretakers so that they can find substitutes if summer plans change.

Consider creating a simple video to share with instructions or leave good written documentation of caretaking tasks. This video is an example of a summer care video made for the summer Garden Guardians at Pacific Elementary Life Lab in Davenport, CA.

 

Weed Now Not Later It is important to make sure that weeds are under control before the garden takes it summer break. The smallest of weeds in June will be big seed dispensing monsters come mid summer. Make sure you get rid of all the visible weeds before your break so they don’t haunt you in fall with their massive tap roots and seed heads.

Use Mulches Mulching for weed suppression and water conservation are both great strategies that are well worth the extra work. Mulching is also a great task for children of all ages. Covering your garden paths with 2-3 inches of wood chips will help smother out potential weeds and deter them from growing. Many tree service companies will donate chipped trees and many municipal landfills now have green cycle programs that give away wood chips. Mulching your garden beds and fruit trees with straw (not hay, which has seeds in it) will keep weeds at bay and will conserve water by shading the soil.

Using an Automated Drip Irrigation System will ease the stress of abandoning your garden over the summer.  Knowing that your plants are getting the water they need and returning to a garden of abundance is a great feeling! Equipment for irrigating a small school garden with an automatic timer can costs a couple hundred dollars. Visit the Garden Classroom to see various types of timers and drip systems in action or visit www.savingwater.org for information on effective irrigation.

Dripworks.com offers 15% discount for school gardens and has incredible resources for DIY irrigation.

  • View their 9 page Drip Planning Guide to learn all you need to know to install a drip system
  • Watch their videos to learn even more
  • View their gallery of irrigation plans to better understand the supplies you will need to irrigate your garden. Most school gardens fall into the “Framed / Raised Bed” design category.
  • View their irrigation kits which make it easy to purchase the supplies you will need to irrigate your garden. Add a battery powered timer and you will be set for the summer. We have had much success with the Galcon LCD Timer, Galcon Dial Timer, Orbit Single Dial Timer, and Orbit Two Dial Battery Timer. They are simple to use and very suitable for school garden irrigation needs. If you are watering more than one zone such as garden beds, fruit trees, and/or green house you can use a multi-valve timer to allow different watering schedules from one faucet.
  • Addtionally they have an online garden planning tool where you can see other educational garden designs – search “school gardens”

Plant for Fall If you are serious about harvesting vegetables in the fall, pick long season vegetable varieties. Read the “days till harvest” listing on the back of seed packages and plan accordingly. If you want to eat fresh corn in September with your students, plant 90-100 day corn in late May instead of 65 day corn. Also remember that many vegetables need to be harvested to keep producing throughout the summer so make sure your garden guardians harvest regularly to encourage continual fruiting.

Try planting some of these crops in late May or June and come back to school with something to harvest.

  • Popcorn
  • Shelling Bean (dry beans)
  • Edible / Birdseed Sunflowers
  • Winter Squash or Pumpkins
  • Peppers
  • Eggplant
  • Melons
  • Potatoes
  • Tomatoes
  • Parsnips
  • Health Master Carrots
  • Amaranth

Learn about school year crop planning.

Try planting a Three Sisters Garden with popcorn, winter squash, and dry beans. Our friends at www.kidsgardening.com have a good article on the Three Sisters Garden and the folks at Cornell have some a whole site related to the Three Sisters.

More School Garden Summer Care Resources

Summer in the School Garden A Resource for Working with Volunteers to Maintain your School Garden a 40 page guide for summer garden care from www.growing-gardens.org and confluencecenter.org

Maintaining Youth Engagement in the Garden All Summer Long from KidsGardening.org

Maintaining a School Garden in the Summer from KidsGardening.org

 

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2 weeks ago

Life Lab

Join us for tomorrow’s Family Gardening Winter Webinar at 3pm! Register at LifeLab.org/events 🌱Linktree in our bio as well🌱#naturejournal #compost #soil #wintergardening #family #gardening #lifelab #schoolgardens

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3 weeks ago

Life Lab

Join Life Lab educators for a fun, family Winter gardening webinar on February 16th at 3pm. We will focus on the various ways to plan, create, and support a healthy garden. Topics include choosing a garden space, creative container options, what to plant now, and preparing for Spring. 🌱#gardeneducation #LifeLab #schoolgardens #familygardening #wintergarden 🌻Registration link in our bio

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1 month ago

Life Lab

🌱 Become a Life Lab Certified Educator!🌱 We only have 3 spots left in our new School Garden Educator Certification Program! Sign-up today for the entire series of courses or for individual courses by visiting website, link below. Our first course, Building Connections in the Garden, starts with asynchronous work on January 21st and our first synchronous session will be on January 28th from 3:30 – 5:00 PST. You may continue to sign up through January 27th or until all spots are filled. If needed, we highly encourage you to join the waitlist to get priority registration for our next cohort in the fall of 2021 or should there become spots available. Upon completion of the 4 courses, participants will receive a certificate and the distinction of being a Life Lab-Certified Garden Educator. Each course will last approximately 8 weeks long and include 4 synchronous meetings, at-home work, and a unique coaching model tailored to each individual’s needs.lifelab.org/educator-certification-program/

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2 months ago

Life Lab

Looking to 2021 with a magnified view of our impact on nature and our connections with each other. A healthy garden is a diverse and sustainable ecosystem full of wonder and beauty in all seasons. #LifeLab #2021 #gardeneducation #science #bettertogether

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2 months ago

Life Lab

At the beginning of the year, Life Lab launched our Healthy Futures campaign in response to the financial impact of COVID on our programs. We are grateful for our continued partnerships and our resilient staff who had to reimagine our work and how to best serve our local and national communities. The innovative outcome of this process includes new resources such as Next Generation Science in the Garden Curriculum, Life Lab Educator Garden Certification Program, Life Lab Webinar Series, Back Pocket Learning, and more!2021 is full of potential and positivity, however……🌱 WE STILL NEED YOUR HELP! 🌱Our 2020 annual operating budget is $1,300,000 and we’re almost there!!! We are only $12,223 away meeting that goal! Click here ow.ly/FP0950CSIlg to help us reach our before the end of the year. Remember, every little bit goes a long way! 💚For more information about our Healthy Futures campaign please visit here ow.ly/jwKh50CSIlf.

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2 months ago

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The Life Lab Garden Educators just finished building and installing brand new veggie boxes at one of our partner schools, in Watsonville!!! Can’t wait to see these flourish! 🌱🥕🐝🌻#gardensofgratitude

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2 months ago

Life Lab

The Life Lab Garden Educators just finished building and installing brand new veggie boxes at one of our partner schools, in Watsonville!!! Can’t wait to see these flourish! 🌱🥕🐝🌻#gardensofgratitude

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3 months ago

Life Lab

🌱 Become a Life Lab Certified Educator! 🌱Life Lab is excited to announce our new School Garden Educator Certification Program! We’ve put together a series of 4 on-line courses that will guide and support educators in becoming a Life Lab-Certified School Garden Educator. Upon completion of the 4 courses, participants will receive a certificate and the distinction of being a Life Lab-Certified Garden Educator.Each course will last approximately 8 weeks long and include 4 synchronous meetings, at-home work, and a unique coaching model. It is also possible to sign-up for individual courses separately to learn specific content or brush up on one topic that meets the needs of your program.Registration for the full certification series opens today, December 7th. Click the link belowow.ly/ifka50CFczl

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3 months ago

Life Lab

Join us today at 1pm with nutritionist, @jocelyndubin MS, RD for a healthy conversation about nutrition especially during the holidays and the benefits of eating a rainbow. Register at LifeLab.org/events Link is also in our bio #foodismedicine #teachthekids #eatarainbow #LifeLab #schoolgardens

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3 months ago

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Life Lab is thrilled to announce the launch of 3 new Next Generation Science in the Garden curriculum units for grades K-2🐝 These units are aligned to #NGSS and written by Life Lab staff supported by experienced classroom teachers and piloted with over 8,000 students across 12 schools. For more info go to LifeLab.org/ngsscurriculum

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