Companion Gardening: Basic Vegetable Gardening, Designing Your Garden
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Companion Gardening: Basic Vegetable Gardening, Designing Your Garden

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Companion Gardening: Basic Vegetable Gardening, Designing Your Garden

Companion Gardening: Basic Vegetable Gardening, Designing Your Garden

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  • 1. Basic Vegetable GardeningLesson 2: Designing Your GardenLesson Summary: In this planning activity, members will learn about several different types of gardens. Based on the strengths and weaknesses of these garden types, they will choose what type of garden to design for their club. They will make a list of plants to include in the garden and then draw a map of their garden and where they will plant each vegetable.Intended Learning Outcomes: Members will be able to analyze several different types of gardens. Members will be able to make a drawing of a garden design.Length: 60 minutesMaterials: 3 pieces of A4 paper or notebook paper Chalkboard or large paper for the leader Dimensions of garden siteBackground: Conduct this lesson after your group has decided where to put their garden. During this lesson, members will make a plan for the garden. This is the second step. 1. Choosing a site: Where to put your garden 2. Preparing a site: Choose your garden design 3. Planting the garden 4. Tending the garden 5. Harvesting, preparing and eating the foodLeader Note: See Lesson #11 for additional information on alternative gardening methods.Lesson Steps 1. (3 minutes) – Introduction Have members summarize the key points from the previous meeting or lesson. If the group completed Lesson 1, they should recall that they decided on a site for their garden. Reinforce the key points of choosing a garden site, including considering the topography of the land, traffic patterns, safety and security. Review the characteristics of the chosen site to remind members why they chose the site. Refer to members’ notebooks to look at how the garden site was rated on their charts. 2. (10 minutes) – Leader or member informs members about different types of gardens. 2.1 (7 minutes) There are several different types of gardens that are suitable for small vegetable gardening. Today members will analyze the garden site and decide which type of garden is best for their situation. Read the following information to the group, or ask a member read each section. Or, copy enough pages of the following information so everyone can follow along. As members read about each type of garden, ask them to give an example of where they might have seen this used. 4-H Global Knowledge Center – Basic Vegetable Gardening – Lesson 2: Designing the Garden - detailed
  • 2. Use Garden Beds Wisely – It is important to have a low impact approach togardening. This means you should choose a type of garden that does the least damageto the soil and surrounding natural resources. When we disturb the soil we can bedestroying thousands of years of work by many different organisms. Try to minimizeenvironmental impacts when designing and preparing your garden. You can even tuckyour garden into the space available, conforming to the shape of the land rather thanto a specific geometric shape.Rectangle – A rectangle garden is an easy and simple design for first time gardeners. Itis easy to measure and divide a rectangle garden into sections, and it can be a fun wayto learn math.Sloped Beds/Terracing – If the garden site is sloped, it is important to prevent runoffby building terraces. Soil erosion problems can occur during heavy rains, and buildinga terrace can prevent soil and valuable nutrients from washing away to lower areas.Build a terrace by placing logs or rocks perpendicular to the slope, like stair steps. Thebuilt up edges will hold the soil. Terracing also helps conserve water.Raised Beds – Raised beds are gardens that have portions that are higher than theother ground around it. Use a raised bed if your soil is poor quality. If you would like touse a raised bed, about one month prior to planting, spread compost liberally (about20 cm. high) in the area that you plan to cultivate. Just before planting, break theground under the compost (about 10 cm. deep) and mix it with the overlayingcompost. Then form the raised beds as defined by your garden plan, adding newcompost where necessary to build up the bed. This method creates very fertile soilwhich will produce healthy plants and promote high yields. It is easy to weed and tendraised gardens, and it improves soil aeration. However, raised beds require more soiland more labor to start. (See Lesson #9 for more information about composting.)4-H Global Knowledge Center – Basic Vegetable Gardening – Lesson 2: Designing the Garden - detailed
  • 3. Trenched Beds –This is a solution to minimally impact the soil when there is aproblem with water, be it a lack of water or an over-abundance of water. Dig trenchesin a checkered pattern. Ideally the soil from the trench should be mounded up on theundisturbed soil to create a ridge about 30 cm. high.2.2 (3 minutes) Discuss the different gardening techniques with the group anddecide on the best one for your group. If you are not building on a slope and do nothave water problems, then a rectangle garden is a good type of garden to start with.Use raised beds if you have concerns about your soil quality.Note: Save time by summarizing the information above for the group members insteadof reading it out loud.4-H Global Knowledge Center – Basic Vegetable Gardening – Lesson 2: Designing the Garden - detailed
  • 4. 3. (15 minutes) – Members decide what plants to grow 3.1 (5 minutes) Split the members into groups of 3. Instruct the groups to create a list of 10 plants they would like to plant in their garden. Members must work together to make their list. Remind the members of any goal you have for the garden, such as being able to cultivate vegetables throughout the year, or providing nutrition to members. You may also want to hand out the list of vitamins associated with different plants found at the end of this lesson. 3.2 (10 minutes) After the small groups have created their lists, have each group read their list out loud. As they read the lists, the leader or another member should make a complete list on the chalkboard or a large sheet of paper. Duplicate plants should be marked so the class can see which plants were listed by more than one group. After the plant names are written on the board, narrow the list down to about 8 – 15 different types of plants. As you narrow them down, cross off any plants that would be very difficult to grow in the conditions of your garden.4. (20 minutes) – Designing the Garden 4.1 (5 minutes) Now the whole group will design the layout of the garden. First decide if defensive plants will be planted around the perimeter of the garden. Insect- repelling plants such as marigolds, pyrethrum (chrysanthemum) or daisies help repel pests. Sisal (agave sisalana) or African milkbush (euphorbia tirucalli) help repel animals. Discuss with the class if any of those plants will be planted around the garden. Take your environment into consideration when deciding whether or not it is necessary. Next begin drawing a diagram of where each type of plant will be planted in the garden. As you are doing this, remember that some plants like squash and pumpkins require larger amounts of space, as they are planted in large mounds. Most other plants will be planted in rows. 4.2 (5 minutes) If you do not know the dimensions of your garden, go outside and measure the perimeter of your planting space. If the garden is not square, make a map so your plan can be more accurate. 4.3 (10 minutes) With the whole group, draw an outline of the garden space on the chalkboard or on a large sheet of paper. Take suggestions from group members as to where the plants should be planted. You will want to develop something like the examples shown below. Companion Gardening – As you design the garden, keep in mind that to maximize space, provide natural pest control, and promote favorable growing conditions, it is important to interplant crops that have varied root levels. For example, onions, eggplant and peppers each have roots which seek nutrients at different depths in the soil. Each plant also promotes the proper biological functions to restore the nutrients that the other companion plants use. Some plants should not be planted together. They may stunt each others growth, attract harmful insects, or release chemicals that suppress growth.  Do not plant corn with tomatoes.  Do not plant potatoes near squash or peas.  Do not plant peas or beans next to onions. 4-H Global Knowledge Center – Basic Vegetable Gardening – Lesson 2: Designing the Garden - detailed
  • 5. 4-H Global Knowledge Center – Basic Vegetable Gardening – Lesson 2: Designing the Garden - detailed
  • 6. 5. (10 minutes) – Summary and Debrief 5.1 Discuss the key points of the lesson by asking the members some of the following questions:  Can you think of a way your family could plant a small garden? Answer: Families can plant vegetables or herbs in small containers around the house. Families could also build a small square garden. See lesson #11 to learn more.  What would be the best types of plants to plant in a small container garden? Answer: Herbs and other smaller plants are perfect for growing in small containers. Tomatoes and peppers work well because they produce fruit for a long time. Radishes, lettuce and carrots do not need very much space, so they also work well in containers.  What is something you could use at home for a container for your plants? Answer: Note: Containers for gardens could be almost anything including pails, buckets, wire baskets, plastic bowls and sacks, wooden boxes, washtubs, large food cans, or any number of things. It is important to make several holes in the bottom of the container for drainage.  How could you find out more information about planting a small garden at home? Answer: Ask the leader for more information, consult members of the community, or use the teacher manual as a resource.  What are some things you learned today that would help you plant a garden at home? Answer: There are many different ways to garden and therefore, it is possible for anyone to plant a garden at their home, even if space is limited, you are in poor health, or you cannot dig up the ground.  What is one thing you would like to share with your parents or brothers or sisters about planning the garden?6. (2 minutes) – Close Thank the participants for their good work and ideas and notify them of the next meeting date. Tell them that they will begin an experiment at the next gathering that will test the viability of the seeds. (Viability is how well the seeds will grow into plants.) They will also be working in the garden at the next gathering, so they should wear appropriate clothing. Be sure to collect any drawings or notes if you want to keep them for the next meeting. 4-H Global Knowledge Center – Basic Vegetable Gardening – Lesson 2: Designing the Garden - detailed
  • 7. Nutritional Benefits of Common Fruits and VegetablesAmaranth Good source of Vitamin A, B, C, calcium, and ironBanana High in potassium and energy Easily digested (good for infants and elderly persons) Small amounts of vitamin A and CCabbage Vitamin A, C, zinc, and fiberCarrot Excellent source of vitamin ACassava High in Vitamin C, good source of fiber and some energyCitrus Excellent source of vitamin CCollards Excellent source of vitamin A and C, iron and calcium Some vitamin B and K, folate and potassiumCorn Energy, potassium, fiber, vitamin BCucumber High in potassium and fiber, some vitamin A, B, CEggplant High in potassiumEndive Vitamin A, C, K, iron, calcium, potassium, and folateGreen Bean High in fiber, iron, zinc, and potassium(French Bean)Gumbo Vitamin C, iron, calcium, potassiumMango Excellent source of vitamin A and C, and potassiumOnion Vitamin C and potassiumPapaya Excellent source of vitamin C, high in vitamin A Contains papain, an enzyme wish aids digestionPeanut Excellent source of protein, fat, iron, and vitamin BPepper Excellent source of vitamin A, high in vitamin C(green or red) Mostly useful for adding flavorPineapple High in vitamin CPlantain High in vitamin A and C. Some ironPumpkin High in vitamin A and energySafu Excellent source of plant oils and protein. Aids in the absorption of some vitamins, especially vitamin ASorrel Some vitamins, minerals, and fiberSpinach Excellent source of vitamin A, high in many other vitamins and nutrients, including vitamin B, C, K, iron, calcium, folate, and potassiumSweet Potato Excellent source of vitamin A and C Raw leaves are rich in iron, vitamin A and C, and energyTomato High in vitamin A and C and lycopeneYam Good source of vitamin C 4-H Global Knowledge Center – Basic Vegetable Gardening – Lesson 2: Designing the Garden - detailed