Monday, March 21, 2016

Junior Girl Scouts badge: Gardener Part 1

Last spring, our troop attended a Junior Girl Scouts Flower badge program and a Brownie Bugs badge program offered by the Civic Garden Center of Greater Cincinnati.  Time was split between the classroom and the field, and our girls enjoyed the experience.  When I learned about the Junior Girl Scouts Gardener badge program, I immediately placed a call to register.  Our Juniors officially earned the badge while the Brownies enjoyed the fun event.  We used troop funds to cover the cost of the program ($5/girl).  In this post, I will describe how the girls completed the five steps to earn this Junior Girl Scouts Gardener badge.

STEP 1:  Visit a garden.   
The Civic Garden Center of Greater Cincinnati has beautiful outdoor gardens.  Unfortunately the weather didn't cooperate, so we spent the majority of our two hours together in the classroom.  The rain stopped long enough for us to take a quick hike to the rooftop, herb, and dwarf conifer gardens located throughout the park.

STEP 2:  Explore garden design.
Another Junior Girl Scout troop had also registered for this program.  The girls divided into teams of three and used a variety of books to research different garden designs.  They were instructed to find five facts about their garden design that they later presented to the rest of the group.  We learned about zen gardens, indoor gardens, butterfly gardens, and a garden designed to attract birds.

STEP 3:  Learn how to choose garden plants.

The girls were given unnamed seasonal growth charts for California (pictured on the left), Alaska (in the middle), and Ohio (pictured on the right).  They worked in their teams of three to match each growth chart to its state.  Then they chose one state and a month and developed a menu using ingredients that were in season.

STEP 4:  Experiment with seeds.

Each Girl Scout was asked to choose four different vegetables to plant in paper pots.  They were instructed to fill the pot with potting soil before dropping two seeds in the pot.  Then they covered the seeds with another pinch of dirt.  The instructor explained that the seeds should be placed at a depth about two times the width of the seeds.  Since many of the seeds were really tiny, they needed to be situated near the surface and not buried too deep where they could not get adequate sunlight.  These paper pots will eventually be planted in gardens throughout the park--another service project!  

STEP 5:  Grow your own garden.  

The girls were shown how to make their own paper pots out of old paper.  They learned to use a PotMaker, but we were told a water bottle and a table works as well.

Fold the paper in half lengthwise.  
Line the fold with the top edge of the PotMaker.
Roll the paper tightly like a sleeping bag.

Fold the bottom edges in.
Press down and twist on the base of the PotMaker.

Voila!  "An easier, economical and Earth-friendly way to grow plants."

After reusing paper to make some pots, the girls planted seeds to take home.
At Open House this summer, our troop held a Bake SaleOur troop will use that money to plant flowers in garden boxes later this spring for Veterans and their families staying at the Fisher House in Cincinnati.  This is another great way to complete a badge step while performing a service project!

In my next post, I will share two fun ways to start a garden at home.  I hope you'll check back soon.  Thank you for reading.

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