School Garden Guide cover with kids planting small plantsResearch that Supports Garden-Based Learning

School gardens joyfully engage students and staff, improve academic performance, develop technical skills, promote social skills, and encourage healthy lifestyles. There is a large body of research that shows the Benefits of School Gardens, including the positive impact on students’ grades, knowledge, attitudes, physical health, and behavior. Most of this research is focused on the impacts of garden-based learning on science, math, and language arts. Research also shows that garden programs contribute to stronger connections between a school, the surrounding community, and the natural world.

This guide was created by the United States Botanic Garden, the Office of the State Superintendent of Education, and City Blossoms.

Guide Overview

This guide will assist you with:

  1. Starting a new school garden;
  2. Maintaining an existing school garden; and
  3. Providing high-quality garden-based instruction.

This guide is intended for a broad audience including teachers, school administrators, community-based organization staff, community members, and parents. It provides guidance for establishing a new school garden, maintaining an existing school garden, or using the school garden for instruction.

Download the School Garden Guide [PDF]

(If you have trouble accessing the Guide PDF via this link, please email and we will get the PDF to you in a different way.)


  • Introduction
    • Research that Supports Garden-Based Learning
    • About School Gardens in the District
    • Guide Overview
    • Gratitude and Acknowledgements
  • Establishing a New School Garden Program
    • 12 Steps for Establishing a New School Garden Program
    • Additional Guidance Documents for Starting a School Garden
  • Maintaining an Existing School Garden Program
    • Elements to Sustain and Grow a School Garden Program
  • Providing High-Quality Garden-Based Instruction
    • Essential Elements for Garden-Based Teaching
  • Glossary
  • List of Resources
    • Introduction
    • Establishing a New School Garden Program
    • Managing an Existing School Garden Program
    • Providing High-Quality Garden-Based Instruction
  • Index
  • References


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Greenhouse Manual

This introductory manual is for educators wanting to better use new or existing greenhouses for programming. The manual clearly and concisely lays out a basic understanding of greenhouses, how to integrate them into lessons, and how to effectively use greenhouses in classroom curricula and out-of-school activities. The manual includes lesson plans as well as basic information on layout and operations of a greenhouse, growing plants (especially during the school year), growing from seed, seedling nutrition, identifying and treating disease and pest management in greenhouses, basic budgeting, and succession planting.

Learn more about the Greenhouse Manual >