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Education Garden
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The Education Garden at Piedmont Park
Have you seen our garden?  The north end of the Meadow is home to a thriving organic garden that Piedmont Park Conservancy uses as an educational tool.  The garden demonstrates how the food we eat grows and what the plants that produce it look like.  Originally developed for our EnviroVentures Summer camp, the garden has grown over the years both in size and variety.

The garden is visited by more than 800 children each year, and is used to teach a variety of topics surrounding natural and organic gardening methods. We demonstrate how to utilize and cultivate beneficial microorganisms through composting, cover crops and good soil maintenance. We also a focus on how to use seeds and transplants to create a garden and how to identify plants and herbs. In 2012, the Education Garden at Piedmont Park launched partner programs and activities for school field trips, youth clubs and the general public.

Gardening in Piedmont Park

Organic Gardening
When we grow food to eat, we get out what we put in. Here in the Education Garden we only use organic methods to grow our plants. We grow our garden without applying unnatural chemicals and pesticides. This approach to gardening is nothing new, in fact it’s the way our ancestors farmed for thousands of years. Our plants get nutrients from healthy soil & those nutrients are in the food we grow. Organic gardening is also gentle on the earth. This garden can grow and thrive without harming people, animals or other plants.

Campers visit the Education Garden in Piedmont Park.

The plants we grow here in the Education Garden are all plants that grow and thrive here in Atlanta. You can use our garden as a guide to grow edible plants at your home, school or even patio.


Garden Programs


Seed to Market Garden graphic

Seed to Market Garden
Seed to Market Garden is a program of the EnviroVentures Camp. This program allows our summer camp participants to visit the garden once a week to experience how and where our food comes from. Campers do everything from planting seeds and plants to maintaining them, harvesting the fruit and veggies to tasting and culinary classes.  The program has grown with the garden. It was once a 100 square foot plot of land and is now a 3000 square foot garden. This has allowed the campers to really experience the summer season of raising food. Produce is harvested from the garden and sold at our farmers market, Green Market, and all moneys raised goes back to the garden to purchase seeds and materials for the next growing season.


Compost

Composting
Composting is a vital part of gardening.  There are many methods used to compost. Here in the Education Garden we use Hot Composting and Vermicomposting to recycle nutrients. All methods of compost have these needs in common:
•  Microorganisms
•  Organic Material (garden & kitchen waste)
•  Air
•  Moisture
•  Heat
Why Compost?
•  Recycle nutrients from plants
•  Improves soil structure
•  Keeps organic waste out of landfills
•  Reduces water pollution
•  Adds beneficial organisms to soil
•  Eliminates need for chemical fertilizers and pesticides

The composting program really took off in 2011.  We have been able to collect food scraps from restaurants. Coffee grounds from our offices, as well as leaves and garden waste from around the Park are also being used to make COMPOST!

Hot Compost
Our series of pallet bins are home to our Hot Composting Program. Hot Compost isn’t a pile that just sits still, it’s an active process. These piles actually get HOT. We build piles using organic materials including kitchen and garden waste and turn them. The process of hot composting takes about four months to complete. At the end of the process you have high quality soil to spread over your garden, and have transformed waste materials into valuable fertilizer.

If you want to compost at your home there are many opportunities to learn how to make your own black gold. We hold classes on vermiculture and hot composting here at the Park.



Vermiculture
Have you thanked a worm today?  Hard working worms are the stars or our Vermiculture  station.  Vermicompost is a type of composting that utilizes worms. We use red wigglers (Eisenia fetida)they are the best composters for breaking down decomposing plant and food waste.  This type of compost is faster than traditional methods due to the hard work of the worms alongside insects, soil microorganisms and fungus. Vermicast also know as worm castings, worm humus or worm manure, is the end-product.  Nutrient rich Vermicast is a great organic fertilizer that makes our plants happy. Vermiculture has been a major focus for our children’s gardening program. Our campers and students build worm bins, feed the worms, harvest castings and spread the compost in the garden.



Sunshine Power
The whole Education Garden uses sunlight. Plants of all types and sizes need the sun energy to make food and grow. We also use sun energy to power our Eco Playhouse. The solar panel over this building captures energy to light the structure. Let the sun shine.
(Solar Panel installed by GreenStar Solar)



Rain Water
When the rain pours down and waters our garden, the plants get the moisture they need to grow. But when the rain falls, we also catch a little extra for later. The barrels collect water from the EcoPlayhouse roof and we reserve it for drier weather. We can then water our garden with rainwater, keeping the garden sustainable.


We LOVE Recycling
We recycle and reuse materials in our garden to keep as much as we can out of landfills.  Our organic materials are recycled for their nutrients through composting, but it doesn’t stop there. We also use some of our hardware in new and different ways. Our garden fence is 100% recycled. Our compost bins are made of commercial shipping palettes and our rain barrels are made from drums that used to store food. Think about how you use things before you toss them. By being creative, old things are new again!

For more information on the Education Garden, please email Louise Todd at ltodd@piedmontpark.org or call 404.876.4024 x326.



 
 
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Piedmont Park Conservancy
P.O. Box 7795
Atlanta, GA 30357-0795
404.875.7275 (PARK)
404.875.0530 fax
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