Below are resources to help you grow produce with students.
In Houston, you can grow fruits and vegetables all year long. Here’s a quick overview; contact our local resources for in-depth assistance.
- Start with good soil (at least 8 inches of loam). Build your own compost with scraps from the lunchroom.
- Plant at the right time. Use this guide PDF (WORD DOC) from Texas A&M AgriLife.
- Determine how/who will maintain it, including insect & disease control and watering.
- Determine how to incorporate the garden into every classroom.
- Use local resources to help you! Call the Master Gardeners in Harris County hotline at 713.274.0950 from 9 – 12 daily, or email [email protected].
Start with Urban Harvest (based in Houston):
- School Gardening Resources, Curriculum and Grants
- School Gardening Guide – it’s free!
- Organic Pest Control Ideas
Take a trip to Finca Tres Robles, just East of downtown, to help on a real, urban farm! Cat Janda can customize a trip especially for your group, or choose from one of their many offerings that are TEKS aligned.
Ample Harvest – Sign up to receive a seed donation; grow food to donate to the Houston Food Bank.
SeedMoney Garden Grants – SeedMoney is offering 255 garden grants. Grants are open to all types of public food garden project (youth gardens, community gardens, food bank gardens, etc.) regardless of their location.
Nature’s Way Resources for composting help.
Houston Tool Bank – low-cost tool rental for nonprofits and schools. Why buy it for a one-time use? Borrow it!
Invite Jeremy Peaches of Fresh Life Organics as a guest speaker.
Contact Janice Brown with Girl on the Grow for school garden education, school garden professional development, home school garden enrichment classes, or personal home garden coaching.
Texas Commission on Environmental Quality published Waste/Composting lesson plans.
Composting by Texas A&M: A step-by-step guide.
Texas Commission on Environmental Quality published Waste/Composting lesson plans that are geared for K-8, but are easily modified for HS.
Read “The Soil Food Web” by Bob Randall, and visually recreate the food web to show transfer of energy, or identify characteristics (form and function) of organisms, or predict the effect of pesticides on the ecosystem.
“Soil Makes a Good Filter” experiment. Strain Kool-aid through types of soil to see how much is removed – demonstrating its remediation capabilities for industry and how soil filters groundwater. Extend the activity by letting students create their own filters.
“Gardening and Food Composting 5E Lesson Plan” PDF Version, or Word Version – Science, Middle and High School, applies to the TEKS on human practices and their impact, or decomposition.
John Ferguson explains how earth-friendly compost and mulch is made at Houston’s Nature’s Way Resources.
John goes on a field trip to visit Dr. Bob Randall’ Permaculture Food Forest in Suburban Houston, Texas.
Photo credit: Small Places, LLC.