Garden work does not end after construction and planting. A successful school garden is well-maintained and survives past the first few years. The visual condition of the garden is the most obvious barometer of a school garden’s sustainability. Recruiting enough help for steady garden maintenance—-particularly during the summer—may prove a significant factor in achieving sustainability.

Two critical -components of good garden maintenance are

leadership and a good plan.

Within an established system, knowledgeable, well-trained leaders can guide volunteers and accomplish the work that needs to be done.

Creating a Garden Responsibility Plan
The school garden team needs to create a Garden Responsibility plan for keeping the garden watered, weeded, and cared for throughout the calendar year.

The Responsibility Plan might…
  • give tasks of weeding and watering to different classrooms on a rotating basis
  • put a student garden club in charge of garden care after school
  • outline the plan for summer/holiday maintenance schedule
The Responsibility Plan depends on…
  • particular situations at each school
  • size and type of garden
  • number of classrooms actively using the space
Whatever the plan, the school garden team needs to keep apprised of what is working and what is not and remain flexible to the idea of changing plans and implementing procedures in case the garden or team falls short of expectations.

Tip: Each school garden team must address its maintenance needs according to available resources both inside the school and in the larger school community.