High school students complete the projects with the help of the teachers, staff, and volunteers.
Step 1: Saplings
You can also grow the trees from seeds, starting them in standard 4-inch pots. This is what the students at NHS do.
Step 2: A Place for the Plants
Along the width of the planter box, we cut the wire at the mid-point of every other square. We then bend the wires down, toward the middle of the wire that's still attached to the mesh. The wire kind of looks like a bent staple. We skip three rows of wire along the mesh and repeat the process until we reach the end of the planter.
We make two or three "tables" per row, leaving enough space between them for a wheelbarrow or cart. The students fill the table with potted plants and trees, butting the planters next to each other to make watering and fertilizing faster and more efficient.
Step 3: The Planters We Use
A benefit of using planters is dirt containment. Planting thousands of trees, which is what the students at NHS do, requires a lot of dirt. Using garden pots minimizes messes.
Step 4: Start Planting!
Place the tree in the planter, ensuring that the roots are inside the container. As you do this, hold the tree just above the roots -- at the crown -- and fill the pot with more dirt. Tamp down the dirt some more to remove any air pockets within the soil. The dirt should reach a 1/4-inch from the top of the planter.
We place about six garden pots in a large planter. Doing this makes the smaller pots simpler and faster to move from one place in the garden to another.
(Sorry for the rotated pictures, hopefully it isn't that confusing)
Step 5: A New Home & the Waiting Game
When roots start to poke out of the bottom of the smaller planters, the trees and plants are ready for use in the field and stream restoration projects, planting in area parks or for the high school plant sales.
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