Creating School Gardens

Want to start or revitalize a school garden?

The volunteers of the UC Master Gardener Program of Contra Costa County have years of experience developing and maintaining school gardens.  As part of our public outreach, we offer consulting services, free of charge, to any school in the County interested in creating a school garden to support local curricula.

We provide on-site consultation to identify appropriate strategies for your project in both the short- and long-term.  We can help you plan most aspects of the garden, including:

  • site selection & construction.
  • soil testing & preparation.
  • plant selection & seasonal planting themes.
  • irrigation systems & water management.
  • plant propagation strategies.
  • garden maintenance.
  • recycling and and composting methods.
  • pest management.
  • garden-related student activities.

Entrance to School Garden

Contact us to set up an appointment for us to visit your site and provide suggestions for your project.  Email ccmg@ucanr.edu or call (925) 608-6683.  Our Help Desk in Concord is open for walk-in assistance Monday – Thursday, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Of course, don't forget about related considerations, such as administration, budget, security, etc.  Be sure to visit our School Gardens Resource Page to find sources for advice on these issues.

Importance of School Gardens

The importance of school gardens has been identified since the early 1900's. At that time they were considered crucial to maintaining the student's connection to nature and the rural life. In our current times, they help establish that connection which Richard Louv described as "saving our children from nature-deficit disorder". In addition, concerns about nutrition and environmental issues (water use, soil conservation, habitat loss) have made gardens even more valuable.

Ever since Alice Waters began The Edible Schoolyard in Berkeley and Delaine Easton, then California Superintendent of Education, introduced her vision of "A Garden in Every School", school gardens have been gaining in popularity. Forming a school garden has many challenges: administrative, budgetary, horticultural. But the rewards can be huge: supporting the educational and social needs of the students and promoting a community of parents, teachers and neighbors.