Gardening at School:
How to Build a Story Book Garden on Wheels
By Randy Mann
Dirt, security, and educational relevance are three problems many school garden enthusiasts have to overcome when they start thinking about planting a garden at their school. The Story Book Garden on Wheels will address these three issues and hopefully help you get your garden growing on campus.
In order to create this garden on wheels you will need a half whiskey barrel (plastic or wood), a sturdy wheeled plant stand, a small 3-foot wooden trellis, bolts and screws, potting soil, plants, a good children’s picture book about gardening, and a bungee cord.
First, make sure your barrel has proper drainage by drilling a couple of holes in the bottom. Second, attach your sturdy wheeled plant stand to your barrel with bolts or screws. Your garden on wheels is going to see a lot of movement so make sure the stand is attached securely. Next, attach the wooden trellis to the inside of the barrel so that it sticks about 2 1/2 feet above the rim. Fill the barrel up with potting soil and your barrel is ready to roll.
There are many picture books that have gardening themes. One of my favorites is Chicks and Salsa by Aaron Reynolds. I have my students create a salsa garden in their Story Book Garden on Wheels and wheel the garden to different rooms and read Chicks and Salsa with another class. When the garden on wheels is not in the classroom, it can be left out in the courtyard with the book attached to the trellis with the bungee cord in case some student would like to sit for a while and read. Securing the garden after school hours is as easy as wheeling it into a room for the night.