GARDENING RESOURCES FOR COMMUNITY, HOME AND SCHOOL GARDENS
Starting a Vegetable Garden
Whether this is your first attempt at gardening or your fifth, it’s always helpful to have guidance from the experts. Tips to help you start a vegetable garden: includes planting guides, how to build a raised bed, step-by-step guides to planting a vegetable garden and suggested plant varieties for certain climates. Dig in and have fun!
Your Edible Garden: Sunset Magazine
This resource offers a beginner’s guide, lists cool and warm season crops, garden design tips, suggestions from other gardeners and other information to start growing your own fruits and vegetables.
Your First Vegetable Garden – The Garden of OZ
How to build a raised garden bed: Sunset Magazine
A step-by-step guide showing how to build a raised bed. Includes a photo of each step.
How to Start a Vegetable Garden: The Weekend Gardener
Getting Started with Home Grown Food
When, and where to plant vegetables in your garden – Renee’s Garden (specific to regions with Long Summers and Mild Winters)
Starting Your First Vegetable Garden
Warm and Cool Season Crop Charts (when to plant what): Santa Clara County Master Gardeners
Food Gardening Guide: National Gardening Association
Information on Organic Gardening: UC Santa Cruz’s Center for Agro ecology and Sustainable Food Systems
Crop-specific information and general gardening information.
How to Start a School Garden
You have an empty piece of prime real estate at your school that is perfect for a school garden, but are overwhelmed by the idea of starting a garden and do not know where to begin. Below are guides and step-by-step resources to help you start a successful school garden program involving students, teachers and administration.
Crop Circles: California Regions for Optimal Planting - California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom
Getting Started, A Guide for Creating School Gardens as Outdoor Classrooms: Center for Ecoliteracy
Starting School Gardens FAQ: California School Garden Network
Resources for Planting and Maintaining a School Garden: Life Lab
Let’s Get Growing: Gardening How To – California School Garden Network
A summary of the Creating and Sustaining Your School Garden Training Model and simple advice for starting a school garden project.
School Garden Wizard: Chicago Botanical Garden
School Gardens Materials and Resource Guide – Monterey County Farm to School Partnership
Gardens for Learning: California School Garden Network
How to start a school garden program and highlights of California schools with school garden programs.
School Garden Program Overview: California Department of Education
School Garden Curricula and Meeting State Standards in the Garden
If you are looking for ways to link your garden lesson or school garden program with California State Standards, these resources can tell you which lessons and types of lessons meet which standard. There are also ideas and lists of garden activities/lessons.
Linking State Standards to Your School Garden: CFAITC
Garden activities and the state standards with which they correspond.
55 Resources for Learning Lessons: Food Land and People. Brief descriptions of garden education lessons for K-12
A Child’s Garden of Standards: Linking School Gardens to California State Education Standards (California Department of Education)
Grades 2 - 6
Introduction to Nutrition and Gardening: California Department of Education
Cooking and Eating: Eat Well for Nutrition, In the Garden – California School Garden Network
Kids Cook Farm Fresh Food: California Department of Education
In depth lesson plans for planting certain crops in your school garden, cooking them and learning about them.
Discovering the Food System: An experiential learning program for young and inquiring minds - Cornell
Curriculum: California School Garden Network
Puget Sound School Gardens Collective
San Francisco Green Schoolyard Alliance
Support and advocacy organization for school gardens.
Farm to School Program: Community Alliance for Family Farms (CAFF)
The Edible Schoolyard
Resources from Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Trainings
These programs listed below are youth development programs that engage youth in gardening and sustainable agriculture projects to foster strong relationships and build leadership and life skills.
Rooted in Community (RIC) National Network – youth gardening and community empowerment organization
Food What? – Life Lab youth program
Great Kids Farm – Baltimore City Public Schools
The Food Project – Boston
Youth internship program, immigrant/refugee incubator program,
school garden help, and community gardens
A San Francisco, urban agriculture education organization that works in SF schools, runs a summer program called Summer Sprouts and a garden education program for adjudicated young men in a residential treatment and rehabilitation facility
School Year Gardens: A Toolkit fro High Schools to Grow Food from September to June – The Richmond Fruit Tree Project
The Youth Farm and Market Project
A youth development program in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota.
Starting a Community Vegetable Garden: New Mexico State University Cooperative Extension Service
Starting a Community Garden: American Community Gardening Association
Community Garden Start-Up Guide: University of California Cooperative Extension
Bringing Community Gardens To Redwood City, CA
Tips and resources to help start a community garden in your community/city.
Community Gardens as Apple Seeds
Garden Raised Bounty (GRuB) Community and Youth Gardening Program
Jones Valley Urban Farm
Community and school educational and urban farm. K-12 education programs, farmers markets and a CSA.
City Slicker Farms
A Community and Backyard Gardening Organization
Composting and Soil
If you’re looking for ways to use your home or school food waste, see if composting is an option. It can reduce your waste and provide a natural fertilizer for your home or school garden. It can be a great lesson in many science topics for students and can also greatly improve your soil.
Compost Guide: Tips for Home Composting
The Basics of Composting – The Garden of OZ
Composting and Mulching; A Guide to Managing Yard Wastes – University of Minnesota
Composting: Natural Resources Defense Council
Santa Clara County Waste Reduction and Composting
How to Improve Clay Soils with Compost: Fine Gardening
University of Massachusetts Soil Test Lab
Send your school or community garden soil to this lab for as little as $9 to make sure there are no toxic substances in your soil.
Guide to Container Gardening: Describes different vegetables, container size needed and recommended varieties.
15 Creative Container Garden Ideas: ways to container garden using household items
Turn Trash into Container Garden Pots
There are many hardware stores, garden supply stores and national health, nutrition and gardening focused companies that support and often sponsor garden projects. If you are looking for funding for a school or community garden project look at these funding resources.
Youth Garden Grants: National Gardening Association
Grants and Grant Writing: SF Green Schoolyard Alliance
Seeds of Change Seed Donations
Seeds of Change donates some of their seeds to non-profit and school gardens. Donation requests are accepted from Jan 1st to March 1st.
Fiskars’ Project Orange Thumb Garden Grant
Local Garden-related Volunteer Opportunities in Santa Clara County
Bronco Urban Gardens
Volunteer at Bronco Urban Gardens’ The Forge garden near Santa Clara University’s campus every Wednesday and Saturday from 2-5
Join Collective Roots at their community/school garden at the East Palo Alto Charter School for their monthly garden workday.
Community Alliance with Family Farms (CAFF)
Help CAFF with one of their many school garden/farm field trips or work on another food system related project.
Full Circle Farm
Join the garden staff Wednesdays and Saturdays in the garden from 10am to dark or help with their farm stand, chicken care or other volunteer opportunities.
Guadalupe River Park Conservancy
Volunteer along the Guadalupe River in San Jose helping with their various gardens or other conservation projects.
The HEAL Project
Contact the HEAL Project in Half Moon Bay about volunteer opportunities.
La Mesa Verde
Help install backyard Gardens through this program which is a project of Sacred Heart Community Services in San Jose. Contact Sacred Heart to find out about upcoming volunteer opportunities.
Join the Veggielution crew at their community farm in Emma Prusch Park in San Jose. Volunteer workdays are Tuesday 8:30am – 10am, Wednesday 2pm – 6pm, Thursday 8:30am – 10am and Saturday 10am -12:30pm
Local Resources – Santa Clara County
The Master Gardeners of Santa Clara County
If you need help or have questions about gardening in Santa Clara County, the Master Gardeners can help you. You can call their hotline, ask them questions online or visit their website and read their numerous tips and explanations.
City of San Jose Community Gardens
The City of San Jose’s community garden program where garden plots are available for rent for city residents. Many gardens have a waitlist so be aware.
City of Mountain View Community Gardens
Charles Street Gardens – Sunnyvale
City of Palo Alto Community Gardens
City of Mountain View – Free, Ready-to-use Compost
Free for residents of Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Los Altos and Palo Alto
Donate Excess Backyard Produce to Second Harvest
Village Harvest – Excess fruit tree produce
Journey to Forever – School Gardening Resources (long list of kids gardening books )
**This list was compiled by Kasey Butler of The Health Trust