Building raised beds

Last fall, a grade 3 teacher at Withrow approached me about wanting to do some sort of long-term building project in the garden with his class. I had been dreaming of having some sort of more permanent garden edges to delineate the garden beds from the paths, and this seemed like a feasible project for a classroom. In the fall, I went out to the garden with the class for a quick discussion about my needs and wants for the garden edges, explaining why they would be beneficial (keeping little feet out of gardens and on the paths, keeping soil from eroding…), how big/small they should be, and how much space there should be around them for moving. I also sat in on the class while the teacher took the class through a few different blogs about building garden edges/raised beds – they looked at the different building styles/techniques, but also at the different blog writing styles. The plan was then to start measuring and mapping the garden, and to start creating some potential designs.

Over the winter, I wasn’t at Withrow, so I wasn’t sure where the project was at. Well, a few weeks ago, I heard that they’d been working on it all winter and were nearly ready to start building! Exciting stuff!

Garden designs with total lumber costs displayed on the board.

Garden designs with total lumber costs displayed on the board.

Earlier this week, I met with the class again. They had worked in pairs to create some different garden designs, which they now showed me. The teacher and class co-created a calculation chart which they used to calculate the price of the lumber that their design would need, while using different lengths of board to minimize scraps. Wow! The class had voted on two designs which they proposed to me. The two designs were pretty different. Below is a photo with a few of the garden designs, with large arrows pointing to the two favourite designs voted on by the class:

Arrows pointing to the two most popular garden designs.

Arrows pointing to the two most popular garden designs.

I find projects like these super exciting, where teachers use the garden outside of my lessons. And this project has just been overflowing with curriculum links!  From reading and comparing different writing styles in the blogs, using perimeter and area measurements in a real-life setting, to calculating the price of lumber for their particular design, these kids have covered curriculum expectations using all sorts of real-life examples.

I took a picture of what the garden looked like when I left Withrow this Tuesday – I’m excited to see what it will look like when I’m there next!  Here’s the “before” picture. I’ll be sure to post the “after” pictures as soon as I can!DSCN1483

Happy growing!

PS – There are some parents at Blake who are planning to build similar garden edges at that garden this weekend. Will post more about that once I have pictures as well!



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