Edible Garden

This activity can inspire adults or children who have been put off learning or who have little or no experience of gardening.  Through creating a garden that provides food, as well as being aesthetically pleasing, participants can learn new skills, learn about food production and sustainability and also improve social interaction skills.

Objectives

Education in social skills, collaborative work and development of a sense of responsibility as well as personal autonomy.

Fun while working and learning.

Help the environmental culture, sustainability and appreciation of biodiversity.

Contemplation of gardening and organic farming as a possible way to make a living.

Participants develop the capacity of observation and start to value teamwork, the distribution of tasks, and the importance of scheduling.  They learn about plants in an experimental way: parts, life cycle, nutrition, reproduction ... at the same time as the basic skills of gardening.

Materials

A suitable patch of land

Manure to improve the quality of the soil (optional)

Gardening tools

Vegetable seeds and plants of your choice

Composting bins / materials

Water source

Plants of your choice

Implementation

Measure the plot of land and consider the soil composition.  Design the shape you want to make.  If necessary dig in some manure to enhance its quality.  Dig the soil over and take out stones and weeds to improve its texture and make it ready for the plants.  Make the borders according to the design and perma-culture or synergic growth principles.

Decide which vegetables and fruits you would like to include in the garden, bearing in mind timescales of growth and results.  You want to keep the participants interested, so quick growing plants would be advantageous in the first instance, along with longer developing plants.  Consider also some flowering plants, to make the garden look pleasing and which may have different growing times.  Research which plants grow well together.  Are there plants that will prevent pests, such as slugs and snails?

Select vegetables to be planted depending on the season.  For example, in winter sow lettuces with different colors and types of leaf, beans and peas, following a pattern which creates a nice visual effect.

Consider when you have time to work in the garden.  If there are a number of participants involved in the garden, you could form a rota so that the garden is covered most weeks or weekends.

 

Evaluation

The enthusiasm of the participants reflects how successful the activity will be.

Consider how well your activity:

  • Promotes group cohesion and task sharing.
  • Creates a vision of the potential usefulness of a garden as a source of food.
  • Promotes respect for the land and the environment.

Tips

If you do not have any land, why not try raised beds.

Why not open your garden to the public and hold an event involving cooking some of the produce?

Share your food with your community – it could be used to help vulnerable families.