April is National Gardening Month
"In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt."
-Margaret Atwood, Canadian author
Start a story with this sentence: "There's
something about the smell of freshly-dug earth."
Write an ode to the earth worm.
Write a 250-word description of a compost pile.
(from the Junior
Master Gardener curriculum)
Each student brings one old sneaker to class.
Fill the sneakers with potting mix, and plant
lettuce, radishes or a mesclun mix (mixed lettuce and greens
Keep the sneakers watered, and have a salad
lunch at the end ofthe school year.
If a healthy soil is full of death, it is also full of life: worms,
fungi, microorganisms of all kinds ... Given only the health of
the soil, nothing that dies is dead for very long.
- Wendell Berry, The Unsettling of America, 1977
planting beds without digging by using sheet composting.
by Walt Whitman
School Garden and Outdoor Classroom Resources
Growing the Next Generation: National Gardening Association Website
Brown, Peter, The Curious
Garden, Little, Brown, 2009. (Grades
One rainy day, Liam sights a stairway leading up to an elevated
train track, and climbs it, discovering a patch of wildflowers
and plants struggling to survive amid the tracks. Liam is determined
to turn this mangy growth into a garden, but first he must turn
himself into a gardener. He prepares for spring by readig gardening
books and gathers the tools and skills to bring his secret garden
to full bloom.
Burnie, David, Plant, Eyewitness
Books, DK, 2011. (Grades 4-7)
Photographs of flowers, fruits, seeds, leaves
and more offer a view of the natural history
of plant anatomy and growth. See the biggest flower in the
world, where a seed develops, what the inside of a plant stem
looks like, how a flower attracts insects, what a plant's reproductive
organs look like, and how a dandelion spreads its seeds. Learn
how plants defend themselves, why flowers are brightly colored,
how a plant can climb, why some plants feed on insects, and
why some plants have no seeds. Discover why some plants have
spines and stingers, what plants looked like millions of years
ago, how plants survive in the desert, how plants turn sunlight
into energy, and much, much more.
Carle, Eric, The
Tiny Seed, Little Simon,
2009. (Grades PreK-2)
Flower pods burst and dispatch their seeds to the
wind; the air-borne seeds are subject to many disasters; and the
ones that make it through the perils of the seasons to become mature
flowering plants are still susceptible to being picked, trod upon and
otherwise damaged. But nature allows for survivors, and so the
tiny seed grows into a giant flower, releasing its seeds and continuing
the cycle. Reissue of the 1970 edition, with expanded, expansive
Edom, Helen, Science With
Plants, Usborne, 2007.
Basic science concepts are presented in fun, hands-on
activities for early elementary students. Topics covered include
seed germination, water transportation, tranpiration, stem and
leaf structure, pollination, vegetative reproduction, composting
and basic soil structure. The book closes with an excellent desription
of how our needs are met by plants.
Grigsby, Susan, and Nicole Tadgell, First Peas to the Table: How Thomas Jefferson Inspired a School Garden, Albert Whitman, 2012. (Grades 1-4)
Maya loves contests, so she is excited when her teacher announces they will plant a school garden like Thomas Jefferson's garden at Monticello--and they'll have a "First Peas to the Table" contest, just like Jefferson and his neighbors had each spring. Maya plants her pea seeds with a secret head start--found in Jefferson's Garden Book--and keeps careful notes in her garden journal. But her friend Shakayla has plans of her own for the contest...Susan Grigsby's light-hearted classroom story also presents scientific and historical information. Nicole Tadgell's watercolors add both appeal and botanical accuracy.
Henkes, Kevin, My Garden, Greenwillow/HarperCollins,
2010. (Grades PreK-2)
A girl, her mother's helper in a flourishing garden,
imagines what her own garden would look like: "The flowers could
change color just by my thinking about it...The rabbits wouldn't
eat the lettuce because the rabbits would be chocolate and I would
Hall, Esther, Grow Your Own: A yummy story about growing (and eating) your own food, Macmillan, 2011.
Sidney and his mom live a busy life in a busy city. Dinner time is announced by the PING of the microwave, comes out of piping-hot boxes, and is eaten off knees. The closest Sidney ever comes to a vegetable is the mushroom on his pizza . . . and he usually picks that off. But when Sidney goes to visit Granny in the countryside, eating his greens suddenly gets a whole lot more interesting!
Kenin, Justine, We Grew
It, Let's Eat It!,
Tenley Circle, 2010. (Grades PreK-3)
Washington, DC, twins Annie and Veda learn about
the White House vegetable garden and want to grow their own fruits
and vegetables. But how can they do it, since they live in a city
apartment? Watch the twins and senior gardener Ida work and play
their way through planting, tending and harvesting in a community
Peterson, Cris, and David R. Lundquist, Seed, Soil Sun: Earth's Recipe for Food, Boyds Mills, 2010. (Grades PreK-3)
After establishing that most of our food comes from seeds that grow with the help of soil and sunlight, this book talks a little about each element in the title, how it relates to the growing plant and how photosynthesis allows the plant to make energy. The last few pages tell how we consume the plant's energy as food.