There are many benefits of growing a garden with your students. Gardens are a natural and fun way to engage the students with hands-on STEM and knowledge about sustainable living.
The process of growing plants teaches responsibility and teamwork with a delicious and healthy product! Planning a new garden at your school may seem like a daunting task, but we have laid out what is necessary to get you started. Before you know it, you’ll be well on your way to harvesting nutrient rich foods with the help of eager students.
Talk to a School Administrator
First, you will need to speak with your principal. They will probably have questions, so create a plan.
Search Grants for School Agriculture
Research garden grants or teacher grants to help with funding your project. Some of your local banks or credit unions may have these listed on their website.
Crowdfund a Garden
Getting a grant can take time, if you are interested in crowdfunding for your schools garden, try it with us! CLICK HERE
Where to Put a School Garden
You will need to find an open plot of land that will be suitable for growing plants. Gardens can be in the ground or in raised garden beds. Raised garden beds provide better water drainage and help keep pests out of your crops but can be expensive or labor intensive. In ground gardens utilize the soil you already have and require less water maintenance. Also, gardens in the ground are typically cheaper and more flexible between crops. Some necessities of a good garden spot include:
- Approximately 6-8 hours of sunlight per day
- A dependable water source
- Nutritious soil to maintain plant health
- Open space to prevent overcrowding and ensure every student can access the plants
Crop Planning for a School Garden
Researching what you want to grow and what you can grow is a vital first step toward a new garden. Depending on your school’s location and the season, some plants will grow better than others. Check out our LINK page for more information on good beginner plants for your school.
Once you know what you’re growing, it’s time to plan the layout! This can be a fun activity to do with your students to engage them creatively. It is important to remember that not all plants grow well side by side, and some need more space than others.
Also, be sure that all students are able to reach the plants to tend to them. A common layout of gardens includes walkways between each row of plants that are covered with mulch. Choosing the right type of mulch for your garden can help prevent weeds and transfer nutrients to the soil and plants.
Time to get Your Hands Dirty!
Once you have a blueprint for your garden, you can obtain the necessary tools and seeds to get started from your local gardening centers. When you begin planting, remember that a garden requires constant upkeep. Creating a task chart and weekly schedule for the students to complete the work is a practical way to maintain a healthy garden.
Researching and planning is vital to having a successful garden. Always keep in mind that there are many resources out there to help you every step of the way. Growing a garden is a fun adventure to undergo with your students because of the wonderful impact it can have on each individual as well as your community as a whole. Inspiring the future generations with useful and sustainable awareness of healthy lifestyles leads to a healthier and happier world. Check back to OUR BLOG for more posts on gardening and other classroom activities.
- A really good page: https://kidsgardening.org/lesson-plans/
- Typically Separated by activity & grade
- Activities are typically broken into learning objectives, materials, background
- Whole Foods’ 200 pages of activities broken up by grade level- all younger kids