First Lady Michelle Obama made history when she along with fifth graders from Washington, D.C., planted an organic vegetable garden on the White House lawn. The garden was intended to teach children about gardening and organic and healthy diets. Schools across the country have followed suit, planting vegetable gardens on school grounds. Planting a vegetable garden at a school requires a little planning and hands-on work.
Discuss your vegetable garden plans with school administrators and get their approval in writing.
Find a site in the school yard near your classroom or hallway and a water spigot. If possible, select a site that is not adjacent to the playground. Curious or destructive children might wander over to your garden and destroy your hard work.
Use shovels, spades, hoes and hand tillers to break up the earth. Pull out any grass and weeds with your hands. Till the soil at least 6 inches deep.
Place a border around the perimeter of the garden to keep grass from growing into the garden bed and choking vegetable plants to death. Use the water hose to moisten soil in the garden bed.
Have the children sow seeds or plant seedlings in the garden bed. Follow the instructions on the seed packets or plant inserts regarding spacing of seeds and plants.
Create a schedule for children to care for the garden. If the garden belongs to more than one class, divide the duties by classroom. If the garden is the project of just one class, allow each child a chance to pull weeds and water plants each week.
Create classroom lessons about growing vegetables so children can learn the difference between rooting vegetables and those that grow above ground. Teach them how plants drink water and the sun helps them grow.
On harvest days, let each child pull up an equal amount of vegetables. Wash the vegetables and have a classroom vegetable tasting party.