Gesu Elementary School - Garden
Gesu School Garden - Water Project Description
- Solve the water distribution problems in the Gesu Children's Garden.
- Provide "hands on" learning experiences.
- promote a stronger and more sustainable relationship with water.
Current Water Challenges
- Uneven moisture levels in the garden:
- Very dry areas
- Very wet areas...rotting potatoes
- Use of sprinkler system...costs, sustainability
Step #1 - Reduce the demand for water
- Right Plant ... Right Place - determine what needs to be planted and what soil/moisture conditions it requires. Place the plants in the right areas. (E -Learn what plants need. Just like people, in the right environment they flourish.) MN design
- Soil Drainage - Shape the soil contours so the moisture content fits the needs (e.g. eliminate wet areas.) (E - use stakes and string with levels to show how to determine the slope of the ground...teach water flows down hill!) MN design/GLGI Ed/GESU do it
- Soil Moisture Retention:
- Soil Moisture Barrier - Create natural covers for the soil to reduce the water evaporation. Each child brings a bag of leaves. (E - teach the water cycle.) GESU do it/GLGI help?
- Lasagna Gardens - with tepee's - brings it all together in a dramatic way. Use fallen trees for the borders (4'x6') and tepee material. (E - use soils that hold the water like a sponge vs. sand that lets it through. Build the gardens together.) GLGI Ed/Gesu Do it
- Soil Testing - free testing of the soil...results can be used to plan garden and teach what soils are made of...GLGI test / Gesu teach
- Sprinkler Shutoff Value - Put a valve on the sprinkle system (manual). Close off for now...see how the summer goes. Gesu do it
Step #2 - Build a Sustainable relationship with water with global perspective
- Create a small rain barrel system using the garage roof.
- Gutter on the front with downspout
- One rain barrel with spout, overflow and stand
- E - weather forecasts for rain, measure the amount of rain in the barrel
- Cost is $125
- Create a third-world water carrying pole
- Pole is make out of fallen ash, painted, decorated
- Two buckets, paint and decorate
- Watering cans (4-6) make from cans or plastic containers
- Water the garden
- Fill the water at the rain barrel
- Carry it to the garden
- water plants that need water.
- E - learn how how most of the world gets its water, learn how heavy water is, how scares it can be, how much work it takes, what happens when there is a drought...no water in the rain barrel.
- GLGI would take the lead...Gesu schedule the time
Step #3 - Sharing the Learning Experience
- Establish a garden blog for the children to do environmental journalism.
- Multimedia - pictures, audio, video.
- All the school can watch the garden grow over the summer.
- Parents can see what their children are doing.
- English teacher provides support...extra credit
- GLGI can provide training and the blog site
We need to integrate with Michelle's schedule. But as a starting point...
- Step #1 in week of April 30th
- Step #2 in week of May 14th
- Step #3 in Week of May 14th
Gesu Garden Project wiki is up!
Set up for the kids to report on the progress of the garden. Link: Gesu Gardens
This is the results of soil samples (click to enlarge) taken by Mike McCarty and Don Carter in March, 2007 and analyzed by English Gardens. The sample was taken from the main garden area and Mike marked the locations with a stake.
Feb 7 - Gesu Garden Site Visit
Walking the Gesu Elementary School garden site with Mike Neumann, Tom Brennan, MIke McCarty, and Don Carter - February 7th 2007
This is a page dedicated to the design of a solution to the water issues at the Gesu Children's Garden.
March 22 - Gesu Garden Meeting w/Michelle and Mike
- Michelle's classes are available M-Tu-W-F:
- 5th Grade - 10-11am / 19 students
- 6th grade - 11-12am / 20 students
- Develop the project schedule (tom)
- Contact Michelle to train on the wiki (peggy)
- Soil testing sample and results (mike m)
- Deterine who else might help and how (don...credit union)
- Get Celeste to teach about the natural process (peggy)
- Let Michelle know of when the rain barrel party is occurring (helen)
- Send Michelle the info that explains "why" we're doing what we're doing (peggy)
- Develop a plan for the garden ...what goes where (mike n)
- Get permission for a gutter on garage (michelle)
- get a student/parent leaf collection program for soil coverage (michelle)
Michelle, we hope this went well in St. Louie,
Just to let you all know of some progress this week.
1) Everything is on the project wiki page Gesu Garden Project Page
2) Peggy set up a wiki for Michelle and the students on PB Wiki. See the link on the project page. Peggy wants to meet with Michelle and get her trained (only take 30 mins) as soon as possible.
3) Mike McCarty obtained the soil sample and has the test results on the page.
4) We're putting together a schedule for the water project. Will be on the site soon.
5) Mike and Don went down to Gesu on Friday and took another soil sample and did some design work for the gutters. They think the back of the garage will be best. They also spoke to the maintenance people and they thought the idea of the gutter would be ok.
6) Don and I will be going down to Coca Cola and getting the rain barrel this Tuesday (April 2nd.)
We're making great progress!
I will be contacting Michelle early this week to try and get the schedule locked in for the project.
We've got the rain barrel!
Friday, Apr. 20 Gesu Garden Site Visit
Martha and Tom headed down to Gesu to check out the children's garden and to meet with Michelle, the science teacher who is overseeing this project. Tom was able to firm up a couple of dates to get some work done. We will be installing some gutters and a rain barrel on the garage that is located across the parking lot from the garden (about 100 yds.), helping to improve the soil conditions by adding compost, soil and mulch, and putting in some lasagna gardens.
Friday, May 11 Building the Lasagna Gardens
On Friday, we had the great fun of teaching the 5th and 6th graders at Gesu School how to build their own lasagna gardens. Tom, Helen, Mike, Don and Martha headed down early to get everything ready for the kids. We drilled the pre-cut logs that would be used to build the garden boxes and brought with us bags of leaves and grass clippings along with a trailer full of rich, black compost. The students helped us with every aspect of assembling the gardens and built their own "teepees" for their green beans to climb. They brought with them table scraps from home that were also added to the gardens. They learned how the layers of organic matter that they added would not only help to feed their vegetable plants, but would also retain moisture so that they would not have to water their gardens often. The kids seemed to have a lot of fun getting their hands dirty and their creativity was certainly evident in their teepee designs! Can't wait to see what grows! On our next visit (May 23), we will be installing a rain barrel on the garage, so stay with us!