Written by: Tahreem

Edited by: Julia Georgescu

Designed by: Tvisha Lakhani

Published by: Maryam Khan


     Similar to jungle gyms and swing sets, school gardens are quickly becoming a necessary component of the schoolyard. Why is that? 

It goes without saying that gardens offer numerous advantages besides just fresh food. Numerous institutions are making the switch for some really good reasons. 

It takes many steps to get your garden from idea to harvest. Fortunately, a lot of people have already gone down this road. The five essential steps to running a successful school garden are listed below.


  • Create a committee for the garden.

While it might just take one enthusiastic person to start a school garden, creating a committee early on will ensure the success of your project and help guard against member burnout.

A garden committee makes choices regarding the design, functionality, and use of a school’s garden. The committee might first function largely as a planning body before evolving into an operational committee, or it might instead serve as a guide for a garden coordinator. 

Your garden committee can be set up similarly to a traditional board, with a chairperson in charge of scheduling meetings and distributing information, or you can go with a more relaxed setup. In either case, make sure the administration of your school is aware and participating.


  • Establish objectives for your garden

Setting goals for your garden is a crucial next step once your committee is in place. For a variety of reasons, schools have created gardens. Here are some typical aims and targets schools have.

Offering an opportunity to learn outdoors 

The traditional teaching garden enables teachers to provide students with hands-on instruction. The practical setting enhances education on the life cycles of plants and insects, as well as hands-on activities like creating a bug hotel. All of these lessons—art, math, English, and social studies—can fit in the teaching garden.


Growing food for educational activities

Some schools supplement their school lunch or food services programs with school gardens. Fresh lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, and other produce may end up in the kitchen or on the salad bar at the school cafeteria.

Lessening food waste produced by schools 

One way to teach kids about the decomposition process and preventing food waste is to incorporate a composting system into a school garden. To truly kick-start the process, many schools even encourage staff and students to bring compostable items from home.


  • Find A Location

Knowing the major goals for your garden, look over the potential locations and choose the one that best suits your requirements. Think about the following queries as you proceed.

How much room is required to achieve your goals?

How many beds are you going to set up to satisfy your school’s needs? How should that area be divided into beds? What additional supplies (tool shed, potting benches or tables, trellises, etc.) do you require? You can plan your beds’ arrangement and determine how much room you need to hold them with the help of the answers to these questions.

Is the sun out enough?

Your garden will need direct sunlight, which is one of its most essential requirements. Salad greens require about 4 hours of sunlight per day, but to grow the widest variety of fruits and vegetables, your location should have 7 to 8 hours of sunlight each day. Use a sunshine calculator to determine how much light your site receives if you’re unsure.

Where do you get your water?

The ideal distance between your site and the closest faucet or standpipe should be no more than one hose length. The pressure required to deliver water to your site will depend on how far you are from your water source if you intend to install in-ground irrigation.

What kind of soil is present there?

The creation and upkeep of healthy soil are essential for gardening success. Your garden gets the resources it needs to grow when you start with healthy, live soil. While fertilizer can be used before planting, healthy soil contains more than just nutrients. The ideal soil structure is light, fluffy, and rich in organic matter that is constantly decomposing. It has sufficient air space for roots to penetrate and water to move.


  • Plan and Create Your Website

Working with a garden or landscape designer is frequently out of the price range of schools operating on a shoestring budget, but it can also be a long-term cost-saving strategy.

Start by speaking with other schools in your district that have productive gardens and finding out who designed them. The key topic you’ll need to address if your garden is small—just a few beds—is where to put those beds and how to arrange them (see above). There are additional vital factors to take into account for larger gardens.


  • Examine the Materials

With your new plan in place, think about the supplies that will be required to get the most out of your garden. This involves contemplating both the construction and operational phases.

Compost and organic, well-aged manure are the ideal soil amendments. But what if you don’t have any dirt to fill your beds with? It takes investigation to buy quality garden soil. Even while “topsoil” frequently looks healthy at first glance, it actually contains sand and dirt of poor quality.  Thus, doing a little research would be beneficial.

Chemical fertilizers may provide plants with a fast fix, but it has been demonstrated that in the long run, they deplete the soil. Instead, use an all-purpose organic fertilizer to feed both your plants and the soil. 

The number of tools will typically correspond to the average number of classes at your school that will assist with planting, as most gardens are created so that only one class may visit at a time. 


Anywhere your school is located, a garden may provide experiential education that links kids to the outdoors, their food, and one another. With the help of gardens, teachers may connect their lessons to everyday experiences in a way that kids can understand.