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Create a children’s gardening program


At George Washington Elementary in Eleanor, Putnam County, teachers weave lessons around the plants students are growing in the school’s high tunnel greenhouse. Read more: / Photo: Kenny Kemp


Fayette County students hoed the potatoes they’d planted,then later harvested them and ate them for lunch.”A lot of learning takes place,” said food service director David Seay.”We had kids who didn’t know potatoes grow in the ground.”

  • In Fayette County, grade-schoolers eat salad ingredients and potatoes they grow. “You never saw kids like salad so much,” said David Seay, Fayette Food Services director. They follow the Junior Master Gardner curriculum. Schools can get free training and help if they want to use this curriculum. Scroll down and read more about the Junior Master Gardener Program under “resources” and at

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    Since Morgantown’s North School launched their international garden program in 2012, teachers have integrated plant science into the academic program.

    At Morgantown’s North School, students plant an international garden that includes 35 raised beds with plants from countries they study. They built them with the help of a Lowe’s Toolbox grant. They raise food year-round and use their gardens as a math and science platform. The curriculum was created through a partnership between WVU teacher ed program and the North School staff. Children perform pH tests on the soil and test the light, to see which raises the best vegetables, for instance. WVU faculty designed some of their projects, and many come from “Kids Gardening: Helping Young Minds Grow,” a field-tested, proven program of the National Gardening Association.

  • WVU faculty and the North Elementary staff created a gardening curriculum that coordinates with the state’s curriculum standards objectives (CSOs). Here is a sample unit on growing strawberries.
  • Here’s the bigger curriculum:  North Elementary: Garden Project-Based Growing
  • At George Washington Elementary in Eleanor, Putnam County, teachers illustrate classroom lessons with vegetables students are growing in the school’s high tunnel (hoop) greenhouse. They use the Junior Master Gardener Program. “Through this program, youth learn how to grow their own food, and it turns into a life skills situation, showing them where food comes from,” said Extension agent Chuck Talbott. “We’ve had kids sitting in a garden eating spinach like potato chips because they’d never seen it growing before.” Putnam County master gardeners volunteers keep the hightunnel program well-oiled.
  • At Ruthlawn Elementary in Kanawha County, first-grade teacher Bev Stearns created a gardening program after her classroom flooded. She dug a trench, lined it with rock and started growing vegetables with her first-graders. Years later, she has a year-round gardening program, integrated with her daily skills program.


Want to create school gardens? These resources will help:



Wheeling kids dig into raised bed gardens during school workshops.



Need money /resources for a school / community garden program?



Volunteer master gardeners help with the greenhouse program at Putnam County’s George Washington Elementary. Photo: Kenny Kemp, The Charleston Gazette

Partner with your local WVU or WVSU Extension Service. They can help you get it going and keep it going (see photo on left).

Make a list of other local groups (garden clubs, etc.) that could supply volunteers.


      .  Check it out! Packed with ideas, funding possibilities, and great examples.


Also see these Try This pages: $$ funding, high tunnel greenhouses, community gardening and farm to school .


Here is another video of teachers at Morgantown’s North School, talking about other ways they
have connected the gardening program with their academic program.

Have something to add? Write it in “reply” below, with your contact info, in case we have questions.


  1. 232016 7122I think you did an awesome job explaining it. Sure beats having to research it on my own. Thanks 692041

    • Thanks! That’s exactly what we hope for!

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