The Education Garden: Learning While The Plants Grow
what gardening helps us learn
You can solve the problems of the world in a garden
I have chosen to preface this hub with the above quote from Australian permaculture designer Geoff Lawton. Why? Because I agree with him; we can develop the skills and knowledge that we need to live a happy, healthy and prosperous life here on Earth by tending our gardens in harmony with Nature.
We already have example of how this can work when we examine school gardens, especially school gardens where the gardening program has been incorporated into the curriculum.
Community Gardens provide us with another example of the educational role that gardens can play.
What can we learn when we garden? Perhaps, the most important lesson we learn when we garden is patience. Plants do not pop up over night; even radishes, which are fairly quick growing and an ideal plant for a child’s garden (28 days to maturity) take some time.
We have to wait and to provide the care that the plant requires, while we u are waiting, if we want it to grow; so we learn responsibility. If we neglect the plant it will die or at least suffer visibly.
We learn about biology and botany as we plant the seed, nurture it watch it grow, and harvest flowers, food and seed. We see the cycle of life in action from seed to seed.
If we want we can learn some Latin as the plants’ official names are all in Latin. This can be useful when you want to be sure that you are getting the correct plant, using the Latin name will make this easier.
We can learn math and the value of measuring as we determine how many plants will fit in a row that is six feet long and each seed is plated six inches apart.
History is another lesson that we can experience in our gardens; roses for example have been around for many, many years and the story of how they traveled from China, for example, to North America can be a valuable history lesson.
We can learn how to grow, some or all of our own food and develop our ability to take care of ourselves and our families. This helps us move towards self-reliance and independence.
We begin to understand the complexity of the ecosystem that we inhabit as our understanding of how we are not alone when we garden but that we have many helpers working with us each minute, birds, bees, butterflies and millions of many very tiny beings who make our soil fertile and help the plants thrive.
Gardening enables us to put life into perspective as we begin to realize that we play a vital role in keeping our home, the Earth, vibrant through our gardens. We bring nature and civilization together and create a place where cooperation makes all beings prosper.
We can broaden and deepen our educational experience by setting up gardens at our schools, our vacant lots and our own homes. It is time to get back to the garden.