Gateway High School's Garden Club is raising funds to install a complete automated drip irrigation system in its new garden. With 18 fruit trees scheduled for delivery and planting in March and our extensive spring planting now underway, it is time to bring the right amount of water to each and every organism to ensure a thriving and productive garden.
Even in these early stages, the garden serves many functions in our school community. It is an outdoor lab for the environmental science curriculum. It is an outdoor classroom for general education classes. It is a living laboratory for students to experiment with organic gardening and cooking techniques. It is an open canvas for students to design and build art and structure. It is a pleasant hang-out spot for students at lunch, and a welcome quiet space for a hard-working staff. It is a haven for beneficial urban wildlife such as birds and butterflies. It is an example of global sustainable design principles on a local scale.
Our phasing plan is right on time: to date, we have excavated the site, installed a portion of our perennial food forest, started a seed nursery, built a post and rail border fence from reclaimed redwood, constructed a greenhouse, begun our own compost system using fruits and vegetable scraps from our cafeteria, and built our own soil from wood chips delivered by local tree companies using organic cover crops.
We now need your help! Phase two, now underway, requires the installation of the irrigation system. This project includes the installation of 250 feet of copper water line, 4 hose bibs, 4 gate valves, a timer with weather sensor, and full drip irrigation to all parts of our garden. This project will ensure that all of our plants get enough water to thrive and produce high yields, and will minimize water loss, an important consideration with the California drought. Currently, it takes a student about two hours to hand-water the entire garden using a 200-foot long hose, which is inefficient in time and the amount of water used. The timing of the installation also means that the plants will get the needed water even during the summer, when students and staff are away on break.
Please help us Kickstart our garden!
Gateway High School is a public charter school in the heart of San Francisco, in the Western Addition neighborhood. We serve 450 Bay Area students from diverse racial and economic backgrounds. In April 2014 we were awarded a $20,000 grant to convert 5,000 square feet of asphalt parking lot into an urban food forest and outdoor classroom. The garden is being constructed using regenerative design principles and employing permaculture techniques. The project continues to be a collaboration of students, staff members, parents, and community volunteers.
Risks and challenges
A garden needs water, especially in times of drought. An efficient drip irrigation system that delivers the proper amount of water to plants without any waste and evaporation requires careful planning. We've worked with two professional, local irrigation designers and installers (one is a Gateway parent!) to ensure the best design, including rain sensors to turn off the irrigation in wet weather and multiple watering zones and timers to water just the right amount and the right time of day. Students will be trained in the installation and maintenance of the lines, as well as the programming of timers. We've also got hose bibs planned throughout the garden to hook up to whenever we need running water.
On March 6, the organization Common Vision will visit our garden and together with our students plant 18 fruit trees! These trees will be a strong backbone of our food production and the primary shade source in our garden. If all goes to plan, the irrigation will be installed alongside the tree planting, so that Spring in the garden will be a place thriving with healthy new plants and trees, happily getting just the right amount of water they need!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (60 days)