Gardening is great for teaching kids about farm life. Did you also know it’s also full of math concepts? Read all about the way I garden in this book: All New Square Foot Gardening. Not only is it an easy, enjoyable way to garden anywhere– even the balcony of an apartment, but it also involves lots of great math! And since it’s about time to get plants in the ground I think we’d better get started!
To begin we’ll need to make the raised garden beds which are the biases for a Square Foot Garden (that’s SFG). Some of these steps can be done by young children, some by teens, and a few by a grown-up. Before you are ready to hack at boards with a saw, however, you must have a plan!
How big will your bed be? Did you know the average person can reach in about 2 feet? Kids can reach in about 1 1/2 feet. Where will you put your bed? Can you walk all the way around? If it is against a wall of fence how wide should it be? If you can reach in from both sides how big should it be? How long do you want it? Try using graph paper to design your bed. (Create your own graph paper by printing a table made in word processing program.)
Then, measure! You can have the lumber yard or home improvement store cut your boards for you, but kids will love using a simple tape measure. I used the plans from the book above to make new beds this year, but my original garden beds came from these instructions: Sunset Perfect Raised Beds. The ones shown on Sunset are big, sturdy, and will last a lifetime. The ones I’ll show you are cheaper and easier!
Second, measure, pre-drill holes and use deck screws to add posts to the ends of two boards. Kids can help line up the boards like you see on the bottom of this picture so the finished product looks like the boards on top!
Next, line up your two boards with posts with two more boards. Screw the new boards to the posts while kids help you hold it all in place.
To use this SFG on a deck or apartment balcony add plywood to the bottom. Fill your finished bed with equal parts compost, peat moss, and top soil. Check out next week’s lesson for more math as you plant your garden!