Once the infrastructure of the garden is in place, consider holding a one-day or two-day planting event for the students to plant the garden. This celebratory event is important, as it allows everyone to get their hands in the garden and claim part ownership.

  • Select a day with a backup rain date (just in case).
  • Schedule classes to arrive at the garden and work in 30-40 minute shifts.
  • Assign a specific area of the garden for each group to plant, preferably an area that relates to that group’s curriculum or that they intend to care for throughout the year.
  • Use any extra time to deliver a lesson plan on gardening, nature, or anything related to the work they are doing.
  • Be sure to allow enough time for students to clean up before returning to their classrooms. (Otherwise, you’ve got a major chore at the end of your day!)

Assign adults to work with small groups during each planting period
Adults (parents, volunteer staff, and teachers) deliver instructions and assist students with more difficult tasks such as opening up the root systems of potted plants and monitoring plant spacing and depth of holes. Make sure all adult volunteers are trained first, not everyone knows how to properly remove plants from containers and loosen root balls.

Recruit as many parent volunteers as possible
Parents will ensure adequate supervision and should be familiar with the design and the plant materials to ensure proper layout of plants into the beds.

Consider partnering older students with younger students
This approach can unify your student body by providing younger students with one-on-one support they need to do the work while giving the older students an opportunity to build mentoring skills. It is fun for all students to mix and mingle in the garden.