After choosing a location, we took our project to the masses! Students designed garden shapes to scale on graph paper, and then presented their designs to the class. Each of the 5 classes voted on their favorite garden shape and came up with an itemized budget for everything they needed to complete the garden.
In November 2005 we took each of the 5 designs and put them in pre-determined locations using landscape fabric. This will kill the grass when it warms up in the spring, and it also helped the students see the size and shapes of their gardens. The gardens were on average 150 square feet each, for a total of 750 square feet of rain gardens at the Middle School.
Preparing the Area
We collected seeds from the native plants that grow in the City’s rain gardens and prepared them by sifting them through sieves to remove chaff (above left). Seeds were cold-stratified (which means they were stored in the refrigerator to simulate winter) and then planted in grow labs at the school where students could watch the seedlings develop over the winter.
Do we have clay soil? Or do we have construction fill from when the school was built? Since ignoring soil type was a mistake we made in previous rain gardens, we tested the soil at the school. Students are shown putting a soil sample into a baggie, which was sent to the local Extension office to be analyzed. And the results are in! We have clay soil! Poor us!