Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Activity: Exploring the Four Seasons

As fall begins, now would be a great time to talk about the seasons with your students and to explain what happens in the garden in each season.

Construction Paper


  • Ask students to name the four seasons. (Write them on the board).
  • Ask questions about each of the seasons:
    What is the weather like in the winter/spring/summer/fall?
    Can you name some activities we do in the winter/springs/summer/fall?
    What do you usually wear in the winter/spring/summer/fall?
  • Explain that just as we do different activities and wear different clothes for each season, the garden is also different in each season. In particular, the weather also plays an important role for each season in the garden.
  • Ask students how the garden changes with each season.

    In the spring, we prepare our garden and plant seeds. The rain helps to water our seeds so that they can grow.

    In the summer, the sun helps our plants continue to grow big and tall.

    In the fall, our plants are ready to be harvested. We get to pick them and enjoy eating them. The weather starts getting colder in the fall and we have to prepare our garden for next year.

    In the winter, it is too cold for most of our plants to grow outside. It snows in the winter and covers up our garden.

  • Give each student a piece of paper and ask them to draw a picture of each season. Have students include different activities that occur in each season and/or draw what the garden looks like in each season.
  • Have students share their completed drawings.

Work Cited
Activity adapted from “Me and the Seasons” in Jaffe, R. & Appel, G. (2007). The Growing Classroom: Garden-based science. National Gardening Association: South Burlington, VT.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Activity: Carrot Necklaces

  • Carrots
  • Heavey thread
  • Darning needle
  • Knife
  1. Wash the carrots and cut them into slices about 1/4 inch thick
  2. Thread your needle. The thread should be long enough to go around someone's head, plus a little extra.
  3. Push the carrot slices onto the thread by pushing the needle into the center of each slice.
  4. Once completed, lay your necklace on a piece of paper in a dark place to dry, making sure none of the carrots touch each other. As the carrots harden and dry, they turn into wrinkled beads. The dryin process takes about a week.
Work Cited:
Ocone, L with Pranis, E. (1983). The National Gardening Association Guide to Kids' Gardening: A complete guide for teachers, parents, and youth leaders. Wiley Science Editions: New York.

Stay connected with other Got Dirt? Gardens

Did you know that there are several easy ways for you to stay connected with other teachers, educators, and childcare providers who have started gardens?

Besides this blog, you can stay connected with us and other gardeners through

You can always check out our website for helpful resources and manuals.

We are also putting together an interactive map showing all of the Got Dirt? Gardens in Wisconsin. If you haven't already, send in a profile with information about your garden so we can add you to our map!

We hope you stay in touch and share your gardening experiences!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Grant: National Gardening Association and Home Depot

Teachers and childcare providers interested in finding funding for their school gardens should consider applying for the National Gardening Association and Home Depot's 2010 Youth Garden Grants Program.

According to NGA's website, gardens should emphasize one or more of the following:
  • educational focus or curricular/program integration
  • nutrition or plant-to-food connections
  • environmental awareness/education
  • entrepreneurship
  • social aspects of gardening such as leadership development, team building, community support or service learning.

Applicants should plan to garden with at least 15 children ages 3-18 years old.

NGA and Home Depot will distribute 100 grants. Five grants will value $1000 and 95 grants will value $500.

The deadline for the grants is November 2, 2009. Winners will be announced in Februrary 2010.

For more information about this particular grant, visit http://www.kidsgardening.org/YGG.asp

For additional grant opportunities, visit the Funding and Grant section at www.gotdirtwisconsin.org

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Secrets to Gardening with Children

    Below is a list of tips and suggestions for gardening with children. This list is taken from D. Landreth Seed Co.
    Visit their website for more information, including types of seeds and plants that work well for children's gardens.

  1. Always have something happening in the garden. Start with radishes and end with pumpkins.

  2. Choose easy to grow vegetables and flowers. Nothing succeeds like success.

  3. Choose each variety because there is something interesting about it, i.e. unusual size, unusual color, unusual shape.

  4. Choose vegetables and flowers with a story.

  5. Try not to plant mixes of colors. Groupings of specific colors are visually more intriguing to children.

  6. Tend the garden on a schedule, for example, every Saturday morning, every Sunday afternoon, or each Wednesday at 4: 00 PM.

  7. Teach children to weed by making weeding a fun game.

  8. Always let children do the watering--they love playing with the hose.

  9. Teach children proper garden preparation in the spring.

  10. Teach children to clean up the garden in the fall and use this as a time to plant flower bulbs and garlic and onion sets.

Copyright 2008 by The D. Landreth Seed Co., 60 East High Street, New Freedom, PA 17349, 800-654-2407. http://www.landrethseeds.com/.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Activity: Shape Hunt

Description: Allow children to search in the garden and identify shapes.

Ages: 5-8

Sheet containing drawings and names of geometric shapes.

Activity: Take your class on a "shape hunt" to identify shapes in the garden.

First ask children to name the types of shapes that they already know. Discuss the prepared sheet by identifying and naming the example drawings and names of geometric shapes.

Demonstrate how to look at plants, leaves, etc. to identify shapes. Tell the children that they will now hunt for shapes in the garden.

Tell each child or each pair of children to look in the garden and identify and draw at least six shapes.

Upon completing their hunt, gather again to discuss what types of shapes they discovered and where they found them. Compare all the different ways that similar shapes are found in the garden.

Depending on available time, have children go on a second hunt to find shapes that were not found the first time.

Work Cited:
White, J., Barrett, K.D., Kopp, J., Manoux, C., Johnson, K. & McCullough, Y. (2006) Math in the Garden: Hands on activities that bring math to life. National Gardening Association: Burlington, Vermont.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


The goal of the Got Dirt? Gardening Initiative is to help teachers and childcare providers create gardens in their educational facilities. Involving children in the gardening process creates an active-learning environment. Moreover, by encouraging children to try the fruits of their labor, a garden can increase children's consumption and exposure to fresh fruits and vegetables.

The Got Dirt? Gardening Initiative features classes for educators to teach them about the process of starting a garden.

This blog will serve as a resource for Got Dirt? Gardeners and individuals interested in starting their own school garden. In particular, it will feature activities, tips, lesson ideas, and suggestions for ways to integrate a school garden into student's curriculum.

I hope that you enjoy this blog and find its contents valuable. If you would like to contribute to this blog or if you have suggestions, please let me know!