How to Grow Vegetables in Schools

Overview

Involve children in the process of growing vegetables from the efforts of their own hands to give them a sense of accomplishment and reward them with the fresh taste of the harvest. In schools, teachers look for new ways to teach children about the importance of eating a healthy diet and living a lifestyle that is environmentally friendly. Incorporate gardening lesson plans and hands-on gardening projects in schools for the children.

Step 1

Prepare the soil. Fill the pots with top soil or potting soil, and mix in compost and peat moss, each at a ratio of 1:10--one part additive to 10 parts soil. Loosen the soil in a designated garden plot if your school offers this for your class's garden project. Use a pitch fork and shovel, or a tiller, to prepare the soil initially so that the children can easily work with the soil. Give the children gardening gloves and the task of scooping the soil into the pots and mixing in the additives, or have them add them to the garden plot. Let them have fun getting their gloves dirty and feeling the texture of the soil in their hands.

Step 2

Moisten the garden soil with water. Direct the children to fill their watering containers and water the pots or garden plot, just enough to moisten it. This watering prior to planting seeds and vegetable plants will begin to release and blend some of the nutrients and enhancements into the soil. Leave the soil for a day or two before planting the seeds or vegetable plants.

Step 3

Label the garden rows or sections. Conduct an arts-and-crafts project for the children to make garden signs. Use pre-made wood signs or make your own signs using thin pre-cut wood shapes for the sign part, and staple it to a wooden stick with a heavy-duty staple gun. Give the children paint and markers to depict vegetable images on each sign and label them with the names of the vegetables.

Step 4

Plant the seeds and vegetable plants. Follow the recommendations for seed depth and spacing for both the seeds and vegetable plants. Mark the locations for the seeds with an indentation in the soil, and then give each child a small area or a pot to plant their vegetable seeds or plants. Show them how to cover the seeds and how to position the plants in the soil.

Step 5

Water the school garden. Make it a class project to water the garden every day or every other day. Rotate this task among the students so that each child gets a chance to water the garden. Demonstrate how much to water the garden or pots. Show them how much water is needed to moisten the soil, and explain how over watering can damage the roots.

Step 6

Harvest the crops from the school garden. Pick the vegetables with the children once the crops mature. Show them how to harvest each vegetable, and monitor them as they do it to ensure that the vegetable plants are not injured in the process, especially if the same plants will produce more crops.

Things You'll Need

  • Container pots
  • Garden plot
  • Gardening tools
  • Potting soil
  • Top soil
  • Compost
  • Peat moss
  • Vegetable seeds
  • Vegetable plants
  • Water
  • Watering containers
  • Garden signs
  • Thin craft wood shapes
  • Sticks
  • Staple gun

References

  • Education World: School Gardens Sprouting in Chicago

Who Can Help

  • Hope Building - PBworks: School Vegetable Gardening Improves Learning, Farming in Lesotho
Keywords: school gardening, children growing vegetables, school garden projects

About this Author

Naima Manal's articles on health, diet, nutrition, alternative medicine, education, parenting, crafts, travel, home and garden and home improvement have appeared on eHow, Garden Guides, Trails, ConnectED, Helium and others. Manal received her B.S. degree in biology/pre-medical studies from Molloy College in 1994 and has been a freelance writer, teacher and homeschooling mom since 1993.