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Growing a school garden can be an exciting, but challenging, initiative.
No two school gardens are alike. Your school garden will be unique based upon many things, such as student population, age and needs; garden space available; time constraints; and required coursework. Each teacher also has his or her favorite plants to grow. One school garden may focus on vegetables. Another may focus on native plants or pollinator plants.
The primary goal of a school garden is to allow the students to grow plants from start to finish. There is no greater reward than watching a tiny seed turn into a beautiful flower or something to eat. Well, at least that is true for those of us who are horticulturists!
School gardens have many benefits. The first and most obvious is that the students learn about agriculture. They learn where their food comes from. Students are given responsibilities to care for living organisms. Teamwork, social skills, healthy food alternatives, literature, math, science, technology, social studies, history, art and physical education can all be taught in the garden area.
As an educator, you already have taken the most important steps to growing a school garden. You are showing an interest and encouraging students to become involved. Don’t be afraid of failure! Even if you have no horticulture background, you certainly can get the information you need and find people who will help you along the way.
This guide is an outline of the things you should be aware of when starting a school garden. As mentioned previously, every school garden is unique. Use this manual as a guide and allow yourself creative license to grow what you want in the space you have. You may follow all the steps or use information in just a few.
The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture