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NC State Extension

School Gardens

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School garden activity

School gardens provide an integrated context for learning about food, nutrition, science, math and more!

School Gardens can be rich, vibrant spaces for young people to deepen their understanding of local foods. Browse below for resources, ideas and materials that can support a school garden program.

Growing Your Garden

Master Gardeners prepping the raised bed for planting

Master Gardeners prepping the raised bed for planting

Garden-Based Curriculum

  • North Carolina 4-H Garden-based Curriculum – Browse this list of curriculum that is available through your local county 4-H Cooperative Extension agent. Find out who your 4-H agent is here.
  • Other Garden/Farming Curriculum – visit this list of other garden-based curricular resources from community-based organizations
  • Junior Master Gardener – A 4-H program from Texas A&M University have been delivering garden and nutrition lessons that are fun, easy to use and is sure to inspire a new crop of young gardeners.
  • NC Ag in the Classroom Through the NC Farm Bureau, Ag in the Classroom provides lesson plans that teachers can use to connect their kids to the farm and garden through science, math, literacy and social studies.
  • Food, Land and People a program through the NC Division of Soil and Water, this comprehensive curriculum is available to educators for free after attending one of their trainings.
  • The Edible Schoolyard – a database of lessons developed from garden educators across the country.
  • Life Lab – a non-profit organization from Santa Cruz, California that has been delivering high quality and innovative garden based education for years.
  • Garden Mosaics – Cornell University science curriculum for youth, including action projects and community food assessments.

Garden-Based Lesson Plans and Resources

  • Garden Toolkit Are you just getting started with a school garden? Think about gathering these tools to make gardening a little easier and a lot of fun.
  • Planting Methods Should you broadcast seeds or transplant? What does this mean? Hone your horticultural skills with this quick guide on ways to plant your garden.
  • Growing a Garden – This map will give kids an idea on how to get started gardening and how to care for their plants.
  • Square-Foot Seeds One student wants to plant radish, another would like to grow potatoes. Use this activity from our Plants for Human Health Institute to use math to figure out proper plant spacing.
  • Garden Maintenance Timeline – For first-time gardeners it can be a challenge to keep up with the tasks needed to care for the garden. Use this timeline to help keep your garden growing!
  • Garden Harvest Your garden has grown! This lesson focuses on how to harvest, process, and store your bountiful produce.
  • Basil Seed Germination Necklace Understand the process of germination through this activity from 4-H’s Soil Solutions.
  • Upcycled Plant Labels Keep track of which plants you planted and where with this fun and easy activity for plant labels. Watch the video here.
  • Recycled Rain Gauge Knowing how much rain has fallen helps young gardeners understand the relationship between weather and garden growth. Watch the video here.
  • Afterschool Garden Club – have you ever considered tapping into teenagers to teach an afterschool garden club? Read about this successful model with Brunswick County 4-H.
  • Pumpkin Lesson Do pumpkins sink or float? How many seeds do they have? Use this grab and go activity to bring together math and literacy around pumpkins in the garden.
  • Garden Poetry – Be inspired by a sensory experience with herbs to write poetry in the garden.
  • Peer Relationships in the Garden – The garden is a special place that can teach us to care about ourselves and others.

Primary Contact:
Liz Driscoll
4-H Youth Specialist
Departments of Crop and Soil Sciences, Entomology and Plant Pathology and Horticulture Science
NC State University