I don't need to tell you: Wisconsin winters are long! While cold, snowy months may have activities restricted to the classroom, there are many ways to keep garden-based education alive so that students meet spring's first seedlings with new knowledge – and new questions!
Garden-based education in the winter takes a bit extra creativity, expertise, and commitment. And all of you have those qualities in spades! This month, we asked you
to share your favorite winter garden activities.
Grab a mug of something warm and enjoy ideas and suggestions from across Wisconsin:
Nori Schwenzfeier, 2nd Grade Teacher, Lake Superior Primary:
A few lessons that we have done during winter include reading the story Stone Soup
and then making a vegetable soup in a crock pot using garden ingredients. It was awesome and the kids loved helping to prepare and eating the soup! I have also done garden mapping to learn about area and circumference. We would start by listing what they want to grow and plan based off of that. Then, using graphing paper, kids design their dream garden.
Emilymae King, Program Director, Terri's Treehouse in Woodruff:
In winter, the garden is transformed into a magical winter discovery area and the kitchen is packed with lights growing herbs and vegetables for daily meals.
Learn more about how Terri's Treehouse keeps their garden alive inside the classroom in this month's Success Story!
Michelle Spielvogel, Administrative Assistant, Sheboygan Falls High School:
Culinary Arts teacher Diana Woodworth and our kitchen staff continue to use the produce from our summer garden. Culinary Arts students prepare dinners and use veggies for lessons, while the kitchen uses it in things like soups, as well as salsa and winter recipes in the lunch line. (Check out more about Sheboygan Falls in their October newsletter Success Story!
At Mt. Horeb High School
, composting is a year-round activity thanks to hard working worms and students. When it's too cold for them to stay outside, the worm bins line Mary McDonough-Sutter
’s special education classroom. Read more in the July 2015 Success Story!
Jennica Skoug, Farm Manager, Goodman Youth Farm:
Put a simple hoop house over kale plants to extend your season. In many regions, PVC hoops and clear plastic over a raised bed can keep kale harvestable throughout January, or even all winter. Kids will be amazed to pull back the plastic on a snowy day and see green plants growing. Even if the leaves are totally frozen, you can still make tasty kale chips!
Jennifer Sattler, Youth Program Manager, Growing Oshkosh:
In November we do garlic planting with many schools. And the big thing we're looking to do this year is monthly, hour long family programs at our urban farm. In December, we're doing a program on lavender bath salts, which involves learning about how to dry herbs and how to utilize herbs beyond the growing season.
We want to know your favorite garden-related winter activity. Post on our Facebook
page or Tweet
a message of thanks using the hashtag #WinterGardening