Building a RRR (Reduce~Reuse~Recycle) Garden at Cabrillo Elementary
|Caleb watering the RRR Garden.|
My son, Max is a First Grader at Cabrillo Elementary School in San Diego, California. I help out in the classroom quite a bit and I was shocked at how far removed our kids are from the food chain. This got me thinking. The first graders should have a first person, hands on experience with their food...and what better way than to start a garden. The largest issue was that starting a garden is expensive. Materials, soil, plants and seeds can add up. Where there is a will, there is a way.
I had been looking on youtube and came across several variations of using a shipping pallet to build a raised bed. None of the videos were exactly what I was looking for, but they were definitely the catalyst for the project. I checked on the "Free" section of craigslist and found that a neighbor was doing some landscape work and had pallets to spare.
I was after a simple method. My initial thought was to use 2 pallets per bed. I figured we could just cut the first pallet in half and the second pallet in quarters. The only issue with this was that I needed my husband's tools (& help) so with that came his vision of the project. He is more of a perfectionist where I am more of a 'quick and easy as long as it works' type, so we actually did both methods!
|Larry assembling the "pretty" version of the boxes.|
|Small box made of left over short boards.|
|Two of the finished boxes.|
My method was to cut the pallet in half (Larry used a sawzall to cut through the board and nails) and used the short scraps (like 1/4 pallet size) to form the sides using the impact driver and screws. Although this was much faster, the main drawback was that there are gaps between the boards of a pallet, so cardboard was needed to line the inside of the boxes to keep the dirt in as pictured above right.
|Larry & Max at Miramar Landfill.|
|As much free compost as you want...Max was in heaven!|
The kids then each got to plant beans, radishes or lettuce, all of which grow pretty fast. Our local Crown-Ace hardware donated the marigolds and tomato plants.
|Cabrillo Elementary School First Grade RRR Garden Area.|
Box on the left contains yellow squash, sunflowers & marigolds.
Box on the right contains sunflowers, beans, radishes,
lettuce, tomato,marigolds & pinwheels keep the birds away!
|Brianna, Jennifer, Margarita & Miguel.|
Overall, the RRR Garden Project at Cabrillo Elementary was a success. The kids have a better understanding of where food comes from and the classes next year are set up to do the same. On the last day of school, each kid got to take home a plant from the garden. They were so proud of their accomplishments..."I grew this!"
|Brandon & Reggie watering the garden &|
making observations in their Science notebooks.