Kids and gardening go hand-in-hand, especially in springtime. Planting seeds, harvesting vegetables, and learning how to enjoy food you grew yourself are just some of the benefits of school gardens. Math and science lessons come alive in the garden, and experiential learning reinforces everything from language arts to nutrition.
Now is the time to start a school garden, and there are many resources to help schools get going. Step-by-step lesson plans for grades pre-K through 12 are available for free on ASAP’s Growing Minds website.
Not sure where to find seeds? ASAP and Sow True Seeds are working together to provide seeds to some schools in the region. This year’s offerings include cilantro, sugar snap peas, kale, lettuce, carrots, chard, and many more. These vegetables were selected because they can be grown and harvested in April and May when school is in session.
Some of the most popular vegetables to grow are watermelon radishes, which are pale green on the outside and vivid fuchsia on the inside. They look like tiny watermelon slices when they’re cut into triangles, and kids get excited by the beautiful colors and spicy flavor.
All public and private schools within the Appalachian Grown region are eligible for free seeds, so classrooms in Western North Carolina, Southern Virginia, Eastern Tennessee, Northern Georgia, and Upstate South Carolina are eligible.
A teacher, parent volunteer, or school garden coordinator can stop by ASAP’s office in Asheville Monday through Friday to receive free seeds. Call the ASAP office at (828) 236-1282 to learn more, and find school garden resources at www.growing-minds.org