School Gardens: What You Need to Know

Since the early 1900s, school gardens have been flourishing throughout the nation. Community and school gardens were first created to help raise the moral and social skills of children who used the gardens.

Benefits

Opportunities for Growth & Interaction

School gardens can go beyond the scope of the classroom, serving as opportunities for students, teachers, and even members of the community to interact. While this interaction may help improve interpersonal social skills, it can also teach students how to work cooperatively with each other and their elders.

By caring for a garden, students can become more responsible, creative, and patient, and they can take pride in their work and surroundings.

A school garden allows students to work in a safe outdoor environment where they can engage with one another and learn about nature. Some studies also reveal that students who learn in an outdoor environment, such as a garden, have improved environmental attitudes.

Practical Application of Learning Subjects

Teachers throughout the country are learning more about the educational benefits that school gardens can provide.

Whether students learn more about plants and insects, add and measure garden plots, or discover how food is grown, a school garden can serve as a teaching resource for nearly every subject taught in an elementary school classroom.

Not only that, but—unlike other methods of learning—a school garden is created by nature and gives students inspiration to create their own works of art.

Maintaining the Garden

Maintaining a school garden does not have to become overwhelming—create a schedule for gardening care and distribute the responsibilities to many students, which will increase involvement.

Students should feel a sense of ownership and pride for their garden to flourish—being involved will make them feel that the garden is theirs. As new students work in the garden, they can add their own creativity and individuality.

For information on preparing for a school garden see the Florida Master Gardener article “Back-to-School (Gardens) Shopping List.” Consider asking students can bring in needed garden items.

Funding

First, determine a budget for the garden, taking into account the cost of supplies, such as soil, plants, fertilizers, garden tools, and educational supplements. Once you have a budget, funding can come from a variety of sources:

  • Schools may have already budgeted for a garden— note that they are more likely to provide funding if the garden is proven to be an educational tool and classroom asset.
  • Parent/teacher organizations may have funds to offer, or they may be willing to host a fundraiser.
  • Local businesses, such as garden and landscaping centers, may donate plants and soil or offer expert advice. Other businesses may be willing to help sponsor a garden project.
  • Garden clubs may be able to donate money and volunteer assistance, which comes with added garden skills and practical knowledge.
  • Local service organizations may help financing the project.
  • The local County Extension office may be able to provide help with funding and give expert advice from Extension agents and Master Gardener volunteers. The local office is also an excellent place to find area-specific information about starting a garden.

For more information, visit the School Gardens section of the Florida School Garden Competition website.

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Posted: August 31, 2015


Category: Health & Nutrition, Home Landscapes, SFYL Hot Topic, Work & Life
Tags: Back To School, Farm To School, Gardening, Lawn & Garden Hot Topic, School, School Gardens


Comments:

Manchester City 1 Claudio Bravo drakt
April 23, 2017

I adore this site - its so usefull and helpfull.

sgrenrock

February 7, 2017

Thanks for your support, Janet!

sgrenrock

February 7, 2017

Thanks for your support, Shirley!

sgrenrock

February 7, 2017

Hi, Eric! Do you need help contacting the UF/IFAS Extension Pinellas County office?

Eric
January 22, 2017

This sounds like a blast. It would be a fantastic class to have in Pinellas County.

Shirley Bond
January 14, 2017

So proud of our Florida 4-H members who will be able to participate in the Presidential Inauguration. They are very lucky to be attending Washington Focus while the inauguration is taking place. Have a great time as you study our government and your the historic landmarks that you studied in school. you will make new friendships with young people from all over the USA.

Janet Morris
December 8, 2016

What a wonderful idea! As a Master Gardener myself, I can not think of a better program for prisoners. Horticulture is wonderful therapy and skills learned will be helpful when inmates are released. Congrats to all involved.

sgrenrock

December 5, 2016

Hi, Gary. Thanks for your interest! You can find more information about the artist in residence program at https://ncbs.ifas.ufl.edu/artist-in-residence/. It doesn't appear that next year's application is up on the web site yet, so please email ncbs@ifas.ufl.edu for more information about the application.

Gary Kuhl
November 29, 2016

How does one apply for this opportunity to be at Seahorse Key for a week!? I am a nature photographer who has taken many photos of the Cedar Key area which I love.

sgrenrock

July 6, 2016

Hi Christine. Thanks for getting in touch. Could you tell me which county in Florida you are located in? This will help me better direct you to the right resources.

sgrenrock

June 29, 2016

Hi Christine. Sorry you're having this problem. The videos are on pause when you open the page, but if you click the play icon, they should start up. Please let us know if you are still having difficulties.

Christine Foltz
June 29, 2016

BTW: Tech issues with this page: the videos on the mosquito workshop embedded are on pause and will not play.

Christine Foltz
June 29, 2016

I am working on a Farm-To-Table Educational Workshop Project to take nationally and wondered if there was any kind of grant programs available for projects such as this?

sgrenrock

May 3, 2016

Hi, Amanda. UF/IFAS doesn't promote or endorse products, but thank you for your interest!

Amanda Huber
May 1, 2016

If you would like to highlight a Florida-grown product that would fulfill the magnesium deficiency, such as peanuts, I would be happy to provide you with photos. UF IFAS is always such a big supporter of Florida's farmers.

sgrenrock

February 26, 2016

Hi, June. Thank you for your question. I recommend taking a look at these UF/IFAS publications for more information on removing nuisance armadillos: The Nine-Banded Armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus) -- see the section called "Methods of Control" Baiting the Nine-Banded Armadillo Dealing with Unwanted Wildlife in an Urban Environment -- see the section called "Armadillos" I hope these are helpful to you, and please let us know if you have any more questions.

June
February 24, 2016

I have a family of armadillos under my shed. I also have dogs and do not want them in my yard. How can I get rid of them humanly?

sgrenrock

February 10, 2016

Julieta, this is the answer to your question from Dr. Jonathan Crane, a UF/IFAS Extension Topical Fruit Crop Specialist: "1.Propagation of kumquat by seed may or may not result in the same identical plant. Kumquats can produce seed from nucellar (mother plant) tissue and through cross pollination with other citrus. 2.Propagation by seed usually results in weak plants. 3.Kumquat is mostly propagated by grafting or budding onto cold hardy rootstocks (usually trifoliate orange, ‘Flying Dragon’)."

sgrenrock

February 10, 2016

Hi, Julieta. Thank you for your message. I am consulting one of our experts about your question and hope to have an answer for you soon.

Julieta
December 23, 2015

The ones I am eating today are from Alachua County and they are delicious. If I plant the seeds, will I get perfect kumquats again or I wonder if I will get part of a hybrid or rootstock.

sgrenrock

October 21, 2015

Hi, Linda. Thank you for your message. I am consulting one of our experts and hope to answer your question soon.

Linda
October 18, 2015

where can I buy local pecans in Florida?

therron

September 17, 2015

Hi Deborah, Thank you so much for your suggestion. Go here to have our blog posts delivered to your email box: https://blogs.ifas.ufl.edu/global/subscribe/. Then, feel free to forward the email on to others! -Thanks, Tennille

Deborah Gigliotti
September 16, 2015

Please email these timely blogs, so I can pass the info onto the people purchasing my Green House Growing Solutions Systems here in New Port Richey, Fl. PPI: Providential Provision Inc would like to get these 4' by 6' VICTORY GARDENS out to enable the Veterans and Families to Get Growing their own food Vertically, Hydroponically, Bioponically, and Aquaponically all 4 growing seasons! Let's Put the Pieces Together, Together!

therron

September 15, 2015

Hi, Tomatoes need about 1-2 inches of water per week. If rainfall is not enough, water plants thoroughly once a week. Heavy soakings once a week are better than many light sprinklings. More frequent watering may be needed in sandy soils, especially in the first week plants are set. Include a lot of organics in your soil to help absorb and hold water. For more information go here: https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/vh028 | http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/topic_tomato. Thanks!

jimsagenich
September 11, 2015

How often should I water my tomato plants?

Don
August 27, 2015

I am in the Florida Keys and haven't seen any native tree frogs for decades. I have pretty much eliminated Bufos from my property. I enjoy the insect control provided by the Cuban Tree Frogs but would happily trade them for native Green Tree Frogs. My problem is when I eliminate the invasives how/where can I get natives, hopefully tadpoles, to repopulate.

A. Leon Polhill
August 27, 2015

The first sentence under the 'Capture & Humane Euthanization' section erroneously identifies native tree frogs as culprits when it should read Cuban treefrogs. BTW, Paula & I enjoyed being led by Dr. Johnson on a rafting trip down the Snake River several years ago. Thanks for the memories.

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