Members of the Grant Garden Committee met earlier this week with Susan Wiencke, who oversees goings-on at the Madison Gardens on NE 82nd Avenue. The Madison Gardens will serve as a helpful point of reference for the Grant Gardens Project, as they are the only high school learning-community gardens, and are thus most comparable.
Susan had no shortage of great ideas and tips for the Grant Gardens, including:
- Naming numerous local groups who have historically helped with the construction of community and school gardens.
- Having a raised bed in the Learning Garden with “control” and “experimental” sections, for science projects in Grant’s “Intro to Sustainable Agriculture” classes.
- The importance of a greenhouse — an addition that she says is also relatively inexpensive.
- Building a covered area made of cobb so that classes can be more easily taught outside during the cold, rainy winter months.
- Suggestions for a comprehensive, low-maintenance, space-conscious composting system.
- Potentially having high schoolers mentor younger students from Hollyrood and Beverly Clearly Schools in the garden.
- The importance of having a timed, security-conscious irrigation system.
- The importance of incorporating student artwork — from Grant, and potentially from Hollyrood, Beverly Clearly, and/or the neighborhood — into the garden.
- The importance of having a classroom at Grant specifically designated for garden materials.
- Suggestions regarding necessary equipment.
- How nice of an addition an outdoor kitchen can be for a sustainable agriculture course.
- Potentially selling starts as a way to make money for the garden.
- The importance of building a movable shed. She also noted that sheds can be built incredibly inexpensively.
- Potentially utilizing a cistern.
- And much, much more!