Food Gardening: how to grow produce & compost the leftovers
Below are resources to help you grow produce with students.
Overview | Local Resources | Activities/Lessons | Videos
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.
Contact The Garden Club of Houston for grants for your school garden. New cycle opens June 1, 2020. Julie Griffin can help you with specific questions.
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.
Urban Harvest’s Free School Gardening Guide
Junior Master Gardener Program with curriculum for teachers and online games for elementary students.
Composting for Kids by Texas A&M: A step-by-step guide PDF . CLICK HERE FOR WORD DOC
Conduct a Sustainable Food Audit PDF (WORD VERSION HERE) with resources from the National Wildlife Federation.
Texas Commission on Environmental Quality published Waste/Composting lesson plans.
Urban Harvest’s Free School Gardening Guide
Junior Master Gardener Program with curriculum for teachers.
Composting by Texas A&M: A step-by-step guide.
Conduct a Sustainable Food Audit with resources from the National Wildlife Federation.
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.
“All the Soil Labs You Could Ever Want” for the High School Environmental Science class (AP or Prep) (Microsoft Word or pdf file)
“Toxicity of Herbicides Lab” for the High School Environmental Science or Chemistry class (AP or Prep) with serial dilution (Microsoft Word or pdf file)
Are Organic Foods Worth the Extra Cost? includes 2 jigsaw activities with articles, and a math activity (Microsoft Word or pdf file)
“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.
Visit the Climate Interactive website for a food system modeling tool. Let student see how decisions in agriculture can be part of the climate change solution.
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.