Plans and Plants

In this section, you'll learn how to engage your students in defining your garden's purpose and initiating garden planning.

School gardens may include vegetables, fruits, herbs, trees & shrubs, and habitat plants in any combination. Crop planning is an often overlooked but immensely important part of a successful garden. Choosing what to grow requires a good deal of planning and preparation. Ideally, a crop plan would be created well before the growing season has begun. Not only what to plant, but also how much, when, and how to plant specific crops, should be determined and recorded before the physical work of the garden begins.

Defining the purpose your garden will answer many of the questions about what to plant. Engage your school garden team and students to develop a purpose statement, which will serve kind of like a mission statement for your school garden. Deciding whether the garden’s main goal is education or production will clarify your planting goals. Most likely, education and production are both important, but in some cases these can be conflicting goals.

 

Questions to Consider:

  • What is the purpose of our garden?
  • Will we grow vegetables, fruits, flowers, habitat plants, or a combination?
  • Where will the produce be sold or consumed?
  • What time of year do we want the garden’s bounty to come to fruition?
  • How much produce can we handle harvesting? 
  • What crops are likely to thrive in this garden space?
  • What are our pest pressures?
  • How much water does each crop require?
  • How much space is there?
  • Are there facilities to start seedlings for transplants?
  • Will transplants be purchased or donated from an outside source?
  • Will we be saving seeds?
  • What method will we use for composting?
  • What labor and materials will we need for pathways and fencing?
  • What tools will we need and where will they be stored?
  • How will students use our garden, and where will they gather?