I'm going to start this by saying that we did this badge in the Fall... yep... not the "perfect planting" season. But, that was on purpose. I wanted the girls to think outside the box (or the season, in this case).
I worked with the church where we have our meetings and arranged to have the girls reclaim a flower bed that was overrun with weeds. It worked great and the girls loved it! LOVED IT!
We also tried our hand at "patrols" at this meeting. If you haven't worked with patrols (or if you have), I will say our version is VERY loosely based on the concept. Basically, I split the girls into two groups, assigned them a task, had them elect a leader and let them go to it. About half way through requirement 5, I intervened and got them back on track or else we may still be there trying to decide how to plant the flowers! HA HA! I love my girls.
Gardener 1: Visit a garden
To start our meeting, we toured the gardens at their school and at the church where we met. I made sure
each girl had input about what they saw and smelled. We talked about container gardens, flower beds, herb gardens, and various shrubbery and landscaping. To end with, I had the girls discuss what other types of gardens they had seen and if they had any at their home.
Gardener 2: Explore Garden Design (Plan your dream garden) - need magazines with pictures of flowers/trees/ greenery/ etc.For this, I brought in magazines and let the girls chop them up. They sketched out on paper what their gardens would look like and include. They then added colors, plant pictures, and sculpture pictures to the page to show what they envisioned. They were broken up into two groups of 3 for this, as part of their patrol work.
Gardener 3: Find six plants that will grow in our hardiness zone - need garden books
My dear friend, Laura, let me borrow a heritage seeds catalog. I gave the girls a list of types of stuff to find in the book, since all of them were zoned for our area. I didn't realize that until the day of and it was too late to find a replacement book. They had to find the following:
1. a bush that grows into a barrier or fence
2. climbing plant
3. purple veggie
4. flowering vegetable
5. flower that doesn't look like a typical flower
Gardener 4: Experiment with seeds (kits with directions for the girls to take home to complete; chart to track daily progress and watering/sunlight information)
This was homework (<--badge requirement linked)... They had a chart and a kit. I bought lima beans, seed starting potting soil, dixie cups, and used 1/2 eggs cartons. They had to decide what experiment they were doing and write down the progress each day for two weeks. I have a few girls that go back and forth between Moms and Dads, so they were told to make sure someone was babysitting their seed when they weren't there. The girls did great with this and most of them returned it to earn the badge.
Gardener 5: Help with a community garden - planting mums
We were blessed to have the church tell us "SURE! Plant where ever you want!" when we asked about some help for the badge work to complete. The girls worked on a garden in front of the church that was overrun with weeds. They pulled out all the weeds and planted Fall mums in the area.