In honor of spring, here are 21 web sites that can provide teachers with ideas about how to build gardens at school and kindle students’ interest in the pleasures of growing flowers and vegetables.
1. Backyard Wildlife Habitat (http://www.nwf.org/habitats). Sponsored by the National Wildlife Federation, this site shows how to inventory, survey, and map a garden site; set goals for a project; acquire resources; and incorporate the local habitat into the curriculum. More than 1,100 schools have followed this formula and been declared Certified Schoolyard Habitat sites.
2. Kids Gardening (http://www.kidsgardening.com). Sponsored by the National Gardening Association, this site provides gardening advice and educational activities. It also includes a kid-oriented gardening store that sells seeds and terrariums for starting plants, as well as tools and books.
3. Kid’s Valley Garden (http://www.arnprior.com/kidsgarden/index.htm). Created by children, specifically the members of the Pakenham (Canada) Junior Horticultural Society. Includes guides for growing flowers, herbs, vegetables, and shrubs.
4. Garden.com (http://www.garden.com). Lets you design a garden online and print the plan.
5. Burpee (http://www.burpee.com). Sells seeds for growing flowers and vegetables, and includes a free eMail newsletter.
6. Ferry-Morse (http://www.ferry-morse.com). Sells flower seeds.
7. Gurney’s Seed and Nursery Co. (http://www.gurneys.com). Sells seeds and nursery stock trees and plants.
8. Henry Field’s Seed and Nursery Co. (http://www.henryfield.com).
9. Park Seed (http://www.parkseed.com). Offers a wide array of annuals and perennials, herbs, fruits, bulbs, shrubs, and roses.
10. Seeds of Change (http://www.store.yahoo.com/seedsofchange). All-organic seeds.
11. Stokes Seeds (http://www.stokeseeds.com). Annuals and perennials, plus excellent growing instructions.
12. Wayside Gardens (http://www.waysidegardens.com). The illustrations in this site’s print catalog are great for class projects.
13.Hope Grows (http://www.richmond.edu/~ed344/webquests/schoolgarden/student.html). This is a teacher-created WebQuest that challenges children with this opening statement: “Our school needs a garden, and our class has been chosen to serve as Garden Experts!” Students then use math, science, language arts, and science to plan a garden and solve problems.
14. Kidz Korner Presents Spring Observations (http://www.osweb.com/kidzkorner/spring.htm). This site outlines a deceptively simple task that draws in younger students. Students draw a circle in the dirt on school property. Then, they visit it every day and record what they see.
15. CanTeach (http://www.track0.com/canteach/elementary/songspoems22.html). Provides a selection of garden-themed songs and poetry.
16. Garden Pursuits: Garden Poetry (http://www.gardenpursuits.com/poetry/poetry.html). Includes works of familiar poets such as William Blake, Sara Teasdale, and Rudyard Kipling.
17. KidzSing: The Garden Song by David Mallett (http://members.home.net/veeceet/gardensng.html). A multimedia celebration of plants through the famous song, “Inch by inch, row by row, / Gonna make this garden grow. / All it takes is a rake and a hoe, / And a piece of fertile ground…”
Free seeds and other grants
18. Hammond Education Foundation (http://hammond.k12.in.us/hef/mgrants.html). Provides mini-grants to teachers.
19. National Gardening Association (http://www.kidsgardening.com/grants.asp). Youth Garden Grants go to schools and community organizations. Each grant includes tools, seeds, and garden products donated by companies in the lawn and garden industry. Four hundred grants are made each year.
20. Mailorder Gardening Association (http://www.mailordergardening.com). The “Kids Growing with Dutch Bulbs” Awards gives prize bulbs to 200 winners.
21. Wild Ones: The Lorrie Otto Seeds for Education Fund (http://www.forwild.org/seedmony.htm). Provides small grants to schools, nature centers, or other educational organizations that create natural landscapes using native plants.