I found this article in a 1902 issue of the Social Service magazine. It erased all questions that anyone might have from yesterday's posting for sure!! A fascinating and successful social experiment. There is nothing to compare with having an organized and interested party with the interest and the money to do something "right". Of course, I am taking this article on face value - this might not be the whole story.
No more charming idea could be imagined than a garden attached to every public school in the country, nor can the value of instruction to both boys and girls in the practice of gardening easily be overestimated. The United States, however, can boast of only one or two experimental gardens of this nature—and these for city children only—nor can England or Germany make any better showing.
Mr. John H. Patterson, President of the National Cash Register Co., Dayton, Ohio, has long been an enthusiastic advocate of Boys' Gardens, and has made this a feature of the social betterment work for which the National Cash Register Company has become famous.
The idea and plans for the Boys' Garden School originated with Mr. Patterson and he has been personally and closely identified with these Garden Schools at his workshops. Mr. Patterson says that his hope is in the boys and girls more than in the grown people. A farmer's boy himself, he has always placed great value in his experience on the farm.
The Boys' Garden School experiment at the National Cash Register Works has proved a great success.
It is not very long since the neighborhood around the National Cash Register Works, then known as "Slidertown'' was the worst part of the City of Dayton. Now it is one of the very best, and this remarkable change is due to a great extent to the "Boys' Gardens" established by Mr. Patterson.
Boys who had been notoriously bad and vicious were formed into clubs and brigades, were given gardens and taught to respect themselves and the rights of others. Then people began to seek homes near the factory site, property rose from $300 a lot to three times that amount, and it is now by all odds the most desirable property in Dayton that is near a manufacturing plant.
"The best investment for the amount of money the Cash Register Company ever made," Mr. Patterson says, "was this work among the boys."
the boys necessitated seventy-four plots or gardens last year, each 10 by 130 feet in size.
The land, tools, seeds and instructor were furnished by the National Cash Register Company at their expense. Most of the boys supplied their families with vegetables during the past summer, and many earned enough money by the sale of vegetables not needed at home to pay for their school books for the entire year.
What the Boys Raised in Their Gardens
Here is approximately what the "Boys" raised in their National Cash Register Gardens last year, and they had droughts and many other discouragements to contend with:
814 dozen green onions
56 bushels radishes
46 bushels lettuce
962 dozen beets
1,258 dozen carrots.
9 bushels seed onions.
56 bushels peas.
74 bushels wax beans
62 bushels butter beans
74 bushels potatoes.
2,590 heads of cabbage.
9 bushels sweet potatoes. .
481 dozen ears sweet corn.
111 bushels tomatoes
How the Boy Gardeners Were Taught
The management of the National Cash Register Co. employs an experienced gardener to teach the boys and instruct them in planting and teaches them the practice as well as the theory of gardening. The tutor cultivates a special bed of his own as a sort of rival of the boys, but he really in this way is a pattern for the boys. It is the aim to leave the boy as free as possible to follow his own devices and plans, especially as to beautifying the garden. This freedom of action and ownership of usufruct (new one on me :-) coupled with the system of prizes for the best kept and most productive gardens has proved admirably effective at Dayton, in the development of individual character and self helpfulness.
The N.C.R. company supplies the pupil with all necessary seeds, bulbs, tubers, slips, sets, etc. free of charge, also, gardening tools.
Even the youngest boy is eligible and they have certain school hours set aside for garden work. The ages of the boys range from twelve to sixteen. The garden working hours, weather permitting, being from 7 to 9 AM and from 4 to 6 PM. The cost of the garden plots, the teacher, seeds, tools, etc. to educate these 74 boys during the past year was $3,500.
Mr. Patterson had offered prizes to the boys in the early spring, and on the evening of November 27th last, the annual distribution of prizes took place and it was an event of great importance to the boys.
Seventy-four boys had gardens during the past year and they all worked hard to win a prize. All the boys, seventy-four in number, were invited by Mr. Patterson to a banquet or dinner which was prepared and set in the handsome officers' Club House of the National Cash Register Co.
They assembled in the offices and sat down to the table promptly at 5.45 o'clock, a happy, jolly lot of youngsters. It was a course dinner beginning with oysters on the half shell (and some of the boys had never seen an oyster before) and ended with nuts, candy and ice cream. Only a few of Mr. Patterson’s friends, members of the press and officers of the N. C. R. were present.
Mr. Patterson, perhaps, was about the happiest boy in the crowd.
The boys, clean, bright and happy, in their best clothes, made a fine appearance as they marched into the dining hall and around the great big round table to their places.
Most of these boys are quite young, the average age being about twelve years. Full of fun, happy as kings, yet they were orderly and respectful. The dinner was worthy of the host and was served in regular courses with as much care and attention to detail as though the little fellows were financiers, statesmen or merchants.
Never was a meal more thoroughly appreciated by seventy-four hungry, healthy boys.
The boys were an hour at the dinner, and then they marched to the Advance Club House where Mr. Patterson gave them a kind, fatherly talk and distributed the prizes. In his talk Mr. Patterson divided training into two parts , first, by instruction, to pour in, second, by education, to draw out. Boys, he said, must learn to do something by themselves. It is possible to go to school too long; to have too much poured in and not enough drawn out; to become bookish, and to be out of touch with the active business world. Boys who do not learn to accomplish something before they are grown will hardly do it afterward, for after one becomes a man it is hard to alter the course of life. Mr. Patterson said his experience on the farm was more valuable than anything he learned in school; but he would combine the two elements, instruction and education, to form a complete and well rounded system of education.
The Boy Gardeners had done so well it was necessary to divide the five main prizes, making ten altogether. Here are the names of the bright “Boy Gardeners” who were the prizewinners for 1901:
First Prize - Otto Richter, $5.00 and medal
Harry Rosnagle, $5.00 and medal.
Second Prize—Delbert Hall, $4.00. Oscar Ziles. $4.00.
Third Prize—Francis Myers, $3.50. Carl Faul, $3-50.
Fourth Prize—James Holston. $3.00. Chester Poe. $3.00.
Fifth Prize—Sidney Delory, $2.50. William Grether, $2.50
Sixth Prize—Albert Faul
Seventh Prize—Frank Clark
Eighth Prize—Elmer Smith
Ninth Prize—Walter Blessi
Tenth Prize—Arthur Alday
When a “Boy Gardener” at National Cash Register Works has had a garden for two years he is said to have completed the course and receives a diploma or certificate which “Certifies that _____ has been instructed in the National Cash Register Garden Work and has been Faithful and Proficient in the same".
The graduates will not have gardens in the future, but give way to the beginner.
The medals, beautifully done in bronze are works of art. They were purchased by Mr. Patterson in Paris during a recent visit in the French capital.
A very pretty part of the exercises consisted ;n the presentation of medals to Mr. Patterson's own two children., Frederick and Dorothy, and to his little niece, Mary, and his nephew, Jeffrey Patterson.
They were competitors and won their prizes fairly with the others, having been faithful in all the practical gardening work.
The future of the Boys' Gardens at the works of the National Cash Register Co. is assured as it has been most A National Cash Register fruitful in results.
The Boys' Garden School, established by the National Cash Register Co. is the first and perhaps the only school of the kind under the management of a business corporation in the United States.
Why should not such School Gardens be established in connection with every school throughout the United States? The possibilities for grand results from such education and training are boundless.
You might want to stop reading here...
Something About School Gardens in Russia
The commencement of the movement for school gardens in Russia dates as far back as 1871. At that time the Russian Government adopted measures for the introduction of nature studies, and for practice in rural industries in the primary schools of the empire. The peasantry, however, were generally apathetic and often hostile. School education, it seemed to them, should consist of "book learning." As a result of their indifference, at the end of ten years
only six school districts were thus equipped. Gradually, however, as the benefits of the new movement became more widely understood, opposition was silenced, and applications for special appropriations for the establishment and maintenance of gardens began to pour in so fast as to actually strain the resources of the central administration.
More Than Half a Million Children In School Gardens In Russia
By the year 1897, the number of school gardens in the whole of Russia proper was 7,521—in other words, about 300,000 chidren were receiving "practical tuition." From the reports of Consul Heenan and from other sources, it would seem a conservative computation to put the number of Russian children at present enjoying this particular branch of instruction at 520,000.
When the subject first began to engage the attention of the Russian authorities, it was found—as it had been in other countries— difficult to obtain teachers of sufficient versatility to successfully discharge the duties of the new system. This difficulty was, however, met by an action of the government, which guaranteed the salaries, not only of the local tutors, but of itinerant experts intrusted with the initiation of the teachers in their new duties. As a further encouragement, medals, diplomas, and even premiums were awarded, while in many cases the teachers were permitted to derive a profit from the sale of the produce raised on the model gardens.
Russian Children Are Encouraged to Plant Trees
In many Russian provinces the children are encouraged to plant trees of all kinds in the neighborhood of the school building, such as forest, fruit-bearing and decorative trees and shrubs. In addition to these, ornamental and fruit-bearing plants and young trees are distributed among the parents for private planting. Silk-worms and bees are also cultivated systematically by the pupils, and provide an additional source of income to the teacher. Along with the garden work proper, provision is made for the instruction of girls in those branches of domestic and rural industry with which women have generally to occupy themselves—daily work, bird breeding, cooking, sewing, nursing and so on.
The radical nature of the departure from the exclusively bookish studies of the school room is well illustrated by the exercises in the remodelled Nikitsk school, whose day's work is divided as follows:
During the winter, three hours are allotted to school room study, and from four to five hours to work in the garden, vineyard, etc. In summer, the lessons in class last but one or at most two hours, while the "practical studies" occupy from six to eight hours. It will be seen that, taking the year through, industrial exercises take up three-fourths of the Nikitsk pupils' time.
School Gardens In France and Belgium
In regard to France, the latest available statistics show that in 1898 there were already in the rural districts upward of 28,000 elementary schools which had gardens attached to them, and whose teachers were directed to give practical instruction for the cultivation and care of the soil.
In all of the mixed schools of Belgium, and in the boys' schools, agriculture is an obligatory study. To prepare instructors for this work, the government has instituted special courses during the vacation, and lectures bearing on the subject also are given.
American Children Are Not Educated in School Gardens
Of American country school children, the proportion who reach the higher seminaries (the Agricultural Colleges and the Experiment Stations) is but a fraction (about nine-tenths of 1 per cent, of the whole), and this almost infinitesimal fraction is but slightly exceeded even among children whose homes are in easy walking distance of those famous institutions. Fully 98 per cent, close their school life at an elementary stage—a few of them, too many for their own or their country's good, to swell the cityward procession of rustic youthhood.
Cost of Establishing and Maintaining a School Garden
The cost of establishment and maintenance of a school garden is obviously dependent on the size, the location, the number an<l the kind of equipments, and on the pecuniary, industrial, climatic and other characteristics of the district. Under the American polity, a general adoption of the system in any given State would be by act of its legislature in obedience to popular demand, which act would dictate when, by whom, and in what manner it shall be carried into practical effect. On the same principle of "home rule," some local discretion might be permitted to each respective district as to the time and manner of introduction.
The following is an estimate of the cost of establishing a school garden for 200 children:
1. Purchase and general preparation of ground, 10 acres @ $100 -.... $1,000. 00
2. Laying off 6 acres of above in 200 "Individual Garden Beds"
and maintenance of same to end of first year....................................... $ 200.00
and maintenance of same to end of first year....................................... $ 200.00
3. Domestic Science, cooking and general housewifery, hygiene, etc .....$200.00
4. Nursery, dwarf fruit trees, berries, cereals, pot and medicinal herbs..... $50.00
5. Conservatory, forcing pits, work shed, trellises, etc ............................$50. 00