Get our free book (in Spanish or English) on rainwater now - To Catch the Rain.

Locally Delicious school garden

From Appropedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Locally Delicious School Garden

Sprouting Education


Sprouting Education is a group of Humboldt State University engineering students partaking in a design challenge to create a garden for elementary school use. The team of four were given (?) months to complete the design project in five distinct sections. Sprouting Education's team members were introduced to the many unique challenges and experiences associated with designing a solution from a given problem. The team decided on building a variety of gardens in order to provide examples of the diverse flora available to most regions.


Locally Delicious is a group of women determined to beat corporate agricultural by helping the nation eat more healthy and locally. For their book Lunchbox Envy, Locally Delicious continue their battle, focusing on getting students across the nation to eat healthier by getting students in touch with where their food comes from. Sprouting Education formed in the Environmental Engineering Design class at Humboldt State University in Spring 2011 to design a school garden for Locally Delicious' Lunchbox Envy book. Sprouting Education has designed a school garden for grades 4-8 which can teach kids the benefits of growing and eating their own food. The garden is inexpensive and simple to construct, making it a versatile design that can be implemented in schools across the nation. The variety of garden beds displayed in the design allow schools to choose which bed or combination of beds are appropriate for their site.

Project Statement

The objective of Sprouting Education was to design and build an interactive school garden for students to learn the benefits and values of sustainable agriculture. The final design encourages students to eat healthier by empowering them to produce their own food.

Project Criteria

Criteria Description Weight
Learning Potential The ability to convey educational concepts from the garden to students 10
Participant Safety Students will be protected from any hazardous structure from the garden 10
Reproducibility The design of the garden is easily reproduced and transferable by others 9
Child Appeal The aesthetics attract students to the garden 8
Cost Reasonable price for overall material and labor 8
Sufficient Produce The potential to produce enough produce for students to find the garden rewarding 7
Easy Maintenance Simplicity to maintain the garden during the summer and school year 6
Plant Safetey Plants will be protected from any harm or destruction 2
Expandability The design of the garden is accessible for any additional expansion 1

Final Project Design

The final project design is a collection of different styles of gardens which will entertain and enlighten kids about the benefits of local agriculture. The school garden built in Trillium Charter School is composed of a variety of four types of garden designs with a rainwater catchment system for water treatment. The four types of gardens included are one Raised Bed garden with a green house top, two Kiddie-Pool gardens, a Potato Bin, and a mini Starter garden. The rainwater catchment system is simply a tank posted beneath the gutter of the school which catches and stores the water for treating the garden. The raised bed is a 4 X 12 ft garden made of half-cut wooden pallets and corrugated fiber glass plastic against the inner perimeter of the pallets to secure the garden in place. On top of the raised bed are PVC pipes bent across covered with a plastic sheeting creating a green house top. The Potato Bin is constructed just as the Raised Bed but with a smaller dimension of 4 x 4 bin. The two Kiddie-Pools will be filled with soil as its own transferable garden laid on top of wooden pallets. Diagrams will be scattered around the garden to illustrate the differences between each garden style growth and fun facts about gardening and plant growth.


The costs involved in creating the Sprouting Education Garden come in two forms: hours of labor and materials costs.

Design Hours

The chart to the right shows the breakdown of design hours that went into constructing the Sprouting Education School Garden. A majority of the hours were spent constructing the system.

Building and Materials Costs

Below are the costs of materials to construct the garden. The total building and design costs without donations were $$$$. A local Lacies factory donated the wooden pallets we needed and Pierson's Building Center donated (INSERT DONATIONS) making the group’s total cost only $$$$.

Item Amount Cost Our Cost Total
Sand Paper - Grade 80 2 $1.19 $1.19 $2.57
Wooden Pallet 8 $19.95 $0 $0
Corrugated Fiberglass Sheeting unknown $unknown $unknown $unknown
Greenhouse Plastic Sheeting unknown $unknown $unknown $unknown
Nails unknown $unknown $unknown $unknown
1/4" x 10' PVC Pipe unknown $unknown $unknown $unknown
Soil unknown $unknown $unknown $unknown
Plants unknown $unknown $unknown $unknown
Total $unknown $unknown $unknown $unknown

Expected Maintenance Costs

The system was designed to require as little maintenance as possible, although normal garden maintenance will need to be upheld to guarantee the success of the garden.

Task Time (min/year)
Water Garden  ??
Weeding Garden  ??
pH and Nutrient Top-Off  ??
Soil Tilling  ??
Yearly Green House Plastic Replacement  ??
Others...  ??
Total Time A Long Time...

Testing Results


Building and Implementation Instructions

Materials For A 4'x12' Pallet Garden Box with Green House top

  1. 8 wood pallets that can be sawed down the middle, parallel to the support beams (see picture)These can be found laying around the back of any large warehouse or store. Pallets outside are usually just waiting to be thrown away, but ask permission to take them first. Also, try to find pallet that are in decent shape, no missing planks or excessive water damage. If you can find pallets that look similar, your garden bed will be prettier, but it isn't essential to the structure.
  2. 32 2'6" long 1/4" thick sections of rebar
  3. A total length of 32"of corrugated fiberglass roofing, in sections about 2" tall. You might get lucky and find this stuff laying in a friend's backyard, but if not, it is relatively inexpensive to purchase at a hardware store.
  4. 6 pieces of 12'long 1/4" PVC pipe
  5. 32 pipe clamps for 1/4" pipe
  6. 1 gallon Non-toxic outdoor weather resistant paint
  7. 64 1/2" screws that fit your pipe clamps
  8. 144 sq. ft of plastic sheeting
  9. 96 sq feet of soil

Building A 4'x12' Pallet Garden Box with Green House Top

  1. Cut pallets in half

  • Measure pallets lengthwise, parallel to the planks to find the midpoint of the pallet. Then use the midpoint to draw a line down the center of the pallet that runs perpendicular to the planks. This will be your cutting line. Create this line on both sides of all the pallets.
  • use a large skill saw to cut all the pallets in half along the lines you had created. Then, sand the pallets to get rid of any major splinters. Hammer flat any nails sticking out of the pallets or remove them completely so that the pallets do not pose any dangers to children.
  1. Paint Pallets

  • If your pallets are wet, let them dry in a sheltered area before proceeding to this step. Using a non-toxic weather resistant paint, paint all surfaces of the pallets and allow to dry.


Concerns, maintenance, teaching lessons, etc.

Topic 1

Blah Blah Blah