Monday, October 5, 2015

Planning the Therapeutic Garden

Last spring one of my high schools received a gift of three large planters and two picnic tables, made by a local teen volunteer.  The planters are coffin size, moveable and have no bottom--they are open to the ground.  The teen specifically gave the items to the school's Autism program, for recreation and horticulture.

Well, those planters and tables are in great shape and sitting in a grassy area near the exterior door to the bus drop-off area, but no one can figure out quite how to best use them.  Yesterday, one of the special ed teachers and I got serious about it and set out a plan for this year:
The students are familiar with potting seeds and small plants, as well as watering plants in/out of the school building.  We'll use the picnic tables as work benches for a potting session or two.  Several staff members donated packets of flower and vegetable seeds last year and we'll use those first, then purchase small plants later on if the seeds don't germinate, especially those dated October 2009...

Instead of stuffing the enormous interiors of the planters full of compost and dirt, we'll use flower box holders to provide support for lengths of recycled wood to support leftover black pots donated by friendly gardeners, filled with dirt and seeds.  By not filling the entire interior area of the planters we'll be able to move them around with ease.

When the weather gets chilly there's a great space available just inside the exit door to the classrooms, where the pots can bask in the sun and students may easily care for the seedlings.  Eventually, plants can be given to parents and other school staff.

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