Neil Elementary

  • Serves students in grades K-5
  • Has a unique “sensory” garden for touching and smelling
  • Grows a variety of vegetables
  • Displays recycled art in the garden
  • Uses galvanized corrugated metal planters
  • Enclosed by six ft high wire-mesh fence
  • Has separate raspberry patch
  • Weighs all garden output
  • Has some straw bale gardens
  • Uses rainwater for drip irrigation
  • Garden shed

More details...

The Neill Elementary garden stands as one of the most idea-filled gardens we’ve helped to fund. This is one garden that looks better – the closer you get. Let’s begin with the shed. Clearly, having a place to store garden tools on-site is a huge convenience. But if you look closer, you’ll see that the shed has rain gutters which catch the rain from its roof and pipe it to a set of three rain barrels located on one wall. The flow from the barrels can be accessed by both a small drip-irrigation system and a standard hose faucet. Both delivery methods get the water to where it’s needed and nowhere else. The several straw-bale gardens is an idea shared by another school in the same district, Gideon Pond Elementary. This concept is especially useful in a school garden, where keeping plants from being underfoot is a priority. If poor soil or drainage is an issue, this is also a good solution. Fall garden cleanup is also easier. Another big winner is the sensory garden. Having some plants reserved for smelling and touching is an excellent idea for garden lessons where younger students are involved. The new fence installation has been planned to keep grass away from the fence line, making mowing around the garden much easier. School gardens always should be planned with the groundskeepers in mind. A heavy application of woodchip mulch for walking on is also a best practice for schoolyard gardens. The arched tunnel for growing green beans is also a winner for giving a garden a sensory experience, to say nothing of making picking easier. Finally, a nod to the recycled decorations found throughout the garden. This small touch covers three bases. Added beauty as art objects – along with a modest lesson in recycling, and delivers garden ownership to the students. Three cheers!

For more information contact: Rachel Theis