Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Okay, we’ll be right up front – not only are these questions not frequently asked, they haven’t been asked at all! We did, however, have a variety of answers that needed questions – so we came up with this page. If you have questions you wish we had thought of, write to one of the garden coordinators. We’ll come up with an answer for you. We might even add it to the list below!
Q1: Why does Radio Park have a vegetable garden?
Answer: Radio Park has a vegetable garden for one main reason – the garden aids in the teaching of the curriculum. It’s one thing to read about a Three Sisters garden while studying Native Americans – but the lesson sinks in more deeply when the children see the beans and squash vines twining amongst the corn stalks towering overhead, and feeling the scratch vines that deter animals. It’s one thing to read about the scent and flavor of herbs – but much more vivid to experience these scents and tastes firsthand in the sunlight.
Q2: Is it safe to use pressure-treated lumber around food crops in the garden?
Answer: From the research we did before building the garden, we have to say the consensus out there is “yes.” Years ago, outdoor lumber was treated using an arsenic-based compound. However, this product is no longer being used. Currently, pressure-treated lumber is manufactured using a chromated copper compound, which is much less toxic and appears safe for our use.
Q3: Where did the money come from to build this garden?
Answer: There were two sources of funding for the garden. The first source is the Radio Park PTO. The RP PTO has supported the mission of the garden from the beginning, and has helped grow the garden program to what it is today. The second source is a grant awarded to us by Lowes as part of their Toolbox for Education program. We’re not quite finished with all the upgrades we planned as part of the grant, but we’re getting there!
Q4: Who built the Radio Park Garden?
Answer: Believe it or not, the garden was built entirely by volunteers! Some volunteers are parents of children at Radio Park, some are Master Gardeners from the Cooperative Extension, and some are both.Q5: Is everything in the garden edible?Answer: No! Not everything is edible, but we are taking steps to ensure that the plants inside the fence are as harmless as possible. We can't eliminate every possibility (example: the fruit of the tomato plant is edible and tasty, but the eating the leaves in large amounts can cause illness) but we try to minimize safety issues with the garden plants. That's why we carefully instruct students on what is edible, and keep an eye on them when we are in the garden with them.Q6: Do you spray any pesticides or herbicides in the garden?Answer: At the Radio Park Garden, we try to minimize use of any chemicals. Like the rest of Radio Park School and the School District itself, we employ Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices in managing garden pests. In a nutshell, the first technique prevent pests from being in the garden in the first place, which isn't easy when you have a garden full of tasty plants. Fencing and keeping the area near the fence clear is a good prevention step. If pests are found, there are several ways we use to control them. The first is using plants and flowers which attract beneficial, predatory insects. Cultural practices, which promote healthy plants, are also used. Mechanical controls used are primarily weeding and removing insects by hand. Genetic controls include use of plants which are resistant to disease in our area (not the same as genetically-modified plants). Only as a last resort are chemical controls used, and then, only by someone licensed with the school district.
More questions to follow!