dosage English and Special Education students to combine environmental learning with classroom lessons.The Castro Valley High School garden was recently recognized as a Bay Friendly garden. The garden area on campus is used by Science,
Over the past few years, shop teacher Michelle Trueblood has organized students and other volunteers to establish a garden area on campus that works well with the Bay Area climate, mind minimizes water use, provides learning opportunities, adds habitat for local critters, and provides garden-fresh vegetables to school gardening students.
CVHS noted the following best practices for Bay Friendly gardening present in their work:
Building Healthy Soil
- Garden beds are prepared by hand rather than with a tiller.
- After initial preparation, beds are maintained with little or no tilling.
- Sheet mulching is used to establish planting areas or pathways, and as a way to control weeds while improving soil.
- Soil is protected from compaction with clearly defined paths and or raised beds.
- Soil is amended with compost.
- Cover crops are grown to enrich the soil.
Reducing Waste in the Garden
- Active compost bin or worm bin
- Food scraps from garden, cafeteria or cooking classes are composted.
- Garden trimmings are used on site for composting or mulching and/or recycled in green waste cart if available.
- Plant waste is minimized by not overplanting, overwatering, or overfertilizing.
- Pruning is minimized by choosing plants that are appropriate for the space.
- Recycled, salvaged or renewable products are used for artistic or functional purposes.
- Mediterranean climate or native plants are featured (more than 50% of the garden area is occupied by plants adapted to summer dry climate).
- Plants are grouped by water needs.
- Native grasses and other lawn alternatives are planted to reduce water consumption.
- Watering occurs according to need, not a pre-determined schedule.
- Mulch is used on bare soil in the garden and on top of garden beds.
Creating Wildlife Habitat
- Food for wildlife is available through plant selection.
- Water is provided with a small pond, bird bath, or water dish.
- Year-round protective cover is provided with a planting of evergreen trees/shrubs, logs, rocks, or brush pile.
- Wildlife is encouraged with a variety of plants that flower and set fruit at different times of year.
- Areas of the garden are left somewhat untidy – let flowers go to seed to provide food for birds, and leave dead leaves and stalks to shelter over-wintering insects.
Protecting Local Watersheds and the Bay
- Non-permeable surfaces such as asphalt and concrete are removed and replaced by permeable surfaces, allowing water to soak in rather than run off.
- Nearly all soil is covered by mulch or plants.
- Synthetic fertilizers are not used in the garden.
- Synthetic pesticides and insecticides are not used in the garden.
- No invasive species have been planted, and any invasive weeds on the property are being managed to prevent their spread.
Contributing to a Healthy Community
- An integrated approach is used for controlling weeds, insect pests and diseases with least toxic controls used first for safety of children, pets and wildlife.
- Pests and their damage are tolerated to the degree possible. Perfection is not the goal.
- Beneficial insects are encouraged through plant choice.
- Organic vegetable garden provides food.
- Hand or electric tools are used instead of gas-powered tools.
- Potential neighborhood hazards are considered and controlled in the garden -- including fire awareness, weed seed disbursement and rodent habitat.
- The garden is accessible to the community, through work days, events and open garden hours.
- Local garden products and suppliers are utilized.
Encourage Play, Learning and Teaching in the Garden
- Students are engaged in garden design, installation and participate in ongoing maintenance of the school garden.
- Garden design and materials encourage informal interaction with garden features.
- Students participate in garden activities that provide time for unstructured exploration and guided inquiry.
- Plants and garden features are selected to provide connections to state content standards and classroom curriculum.
- Interpretive signage, graphics and murals convey information and provide teaching moments.
Building and Sustaining a Network of Support
- Community work days and events engage parents, neighbors and other community members in projects that sustain the school garden.
- Successes and benefits of the school garden program are measured and promoted within the school and surrounding community.
- Support is sought from the school district for funding, maintenance or supplies when possible.