Several Januaries ago, I can recall a cold winter day at the Michigan elementary school where I worked. The activity I had prepared for my Garden Club students? Pollinating tomatoes. The school's hydroponics greenhouse was bursting with color from the chard, arugula, parsley, and other greens that grew out of PVC-pipe towers and other alien-looking garden structures. But in January, there wasn't a pollinator in sight. That day, third graders with Q-tips pretended to be bees, learning the process of pollination first-hand as they gently passed the yellow dust from flower to flower.
While not every school is lucky enough to have a greenhouse - or funding to fill it with hydroponic grow beds - bringing gardening indoors is flexible enough for any space, and any budget. Keeping kids engaged with indoor garden-based learning throughout the winter months helps generate excitement for the spring garden, and encourages students to take a more detailed look at those few, precious plants.
We have filled this newsletter with ideas to get you started on your own indoor gardening project, although there are certainly many more out there. Whether you are interested in inexpensive hydroponics to fit inside a classroom, or growing a micro-garden of sprouts, we encourage you to try out your idea and share the results with us!