From the Ground Up: School Gardening

From the Ground Up: School Gardening is a 9-session professional development course for K-12 educators. The class occurs once a month on Saturdays from 9 a.m.–12 p.m. and covers garden planning, gardening techniques, nutrition trends, and the role of edible landscapes in our communities. Lessons utilize The Ranch, The Huntington's urban agriculture research station. Classes include lectures, discussions, hands-on activities, gardening practice, and demonstrations. The objective of this course is to align with science curriculum and provide an understanding of creating a garden space on school sites. Teachers will create and share lesson plans. Beginning and advanced gardeners welcome.

How to Register

  • Complete the online application by Aug. 12, 2019.
  • Applicants will be notified of admission status on Aug. 16, 2019.
  • Space is limited to 30 teachers for each session.
  • Teachers can apply for a single class, multiple classes, or the entire course.
  • Teachers who attend all of the classes will receive a certificate of completion.


  • This course is free to K-12 teachers.
  • Parking is free.
  • The course utilizes Google Classroom for handouts and class communication.


Sept. 14, 2019
Planning for the Gardening Year
Working in the classroom and garden, participants will learn about vegetable and herb selection and pairing, weeds to look out for, cover crops, and more. Which crops will come in fast? Which are poor bets? How should you prepare for fall rains? What happens at the end of the school year? All this just in time for Southern California's prime gardening season!

Soil Health and Composting
Composting is both a great lesson in recycling and an excellent way to build healthy garden soil. This class is all about organic soil management. It covers basic soil science including the roles of pH, soil texture and type, and its affects on plants. The class also covers different methods of composting, vermicomposting, composting with and without bins, and methods that might work best at your school site.

Oct. 12, 2019
Propagation, Pest Control, and Irrigation
This class covers several exciting and important garden skills. Participants will learn how to make more of their favorite plants in a propagation workshop. Propagation is a great classroom activity, plants can be sold for garden fundraisers and it is fun and easy to do. The class also covers basic irrigation techniques to keep your garden watered during school breaks or busy schedules. Waterwise, drought friendly strategies will also be discussed. Finally, participants learn ways to deal with common garden pests in ways that are kid friendly and environmentally sensitive.

Nov. 16, 2019
Math and Science in the Garden
From simple arithmetic to statistics, observation to experimentation, there are many math and science lessons that can be applied in the garden. Review curricula and discuss their application with your classroom and practice a few in the garden.

Dec. 14, 2019
The Laboratory and the Garden
Working in the teaching lab, this class looks at the relationship between flowers and fruits, the difference between fruits and vegetables, and delves into the living nature of what we grow and eat. Participantswill use microscopes to take a closer look at plants.

Jan. 11, 2020
Growing Fruit in the School Garden
Fruit is a sweet addition to a school garden. Learn how to select, plant, and care for fruit trees. Participants will learn about the history of various fruits, and then how to select and care for trees in Southern California. Discussionswill includegrowing fruit trees in containers, pests and diseases, and ways to connect this to a life sciences curriculum. The program concludes with some delicious fruit and talk about nutrition.

Feb. 8, 2020
Planting for Spring
Which plants will mature before the end of the school year? When do you plant the tomatoes? Seeds or transplants? Learn how to get the most out of your spring garden. This class covers vegetable gardening basicsWe’ll explore what to plant and when, using the climate as our guide. There will be tips on the best – and easiest–plants to grow for busy teachers, and how get younger children involved.This is an essential class for beginning gardeners.

March 7, 2020
Garden Ecosystems
The garden serves as a model ecosystem and a fantastic tool for teaching abstract concepts such as systems and interdependence. In a garden, students can observe how different parts of the system interact with, and affect one another. In this class, teachers will learn about multidisciplinary curricula that encourages close observation of the natural world, and the thoughtful use of water, energy, and recycled and composted materials. This class also includes ideas for creating a habitat garden that invites birds and butterflies, and engages students.

April 18, 2020
Food Saving
Seed saving is a perfect way to end the school year. Winter and spring crops should be going to seed so gathering them up gives everyone something to look forward to – planting home-grown seeds in the fall! Seed saving is a an ideal way of preserving both genetic and cultural diversity, as well as a great way to save money. Participants will learn about plant genetics, simple methods for cleaning and storing seeds for future planting, including the best plants for seed collection, and how to use these principles in the classroom. Math, science, social studies and language arts are all applied in this sustainable practice.

May 9, 2020
Food Traditions
Where does our food come from? In this class participants will trace the geographic origins of various food plants, learning about the origin of our food and how it relates to culture and food traditions. Discussions include using gardens and food as tools to celebrate different cultures. Topics also include reading nutrition and ingredient labels, and exactly what ingredients may be found in processed foods and why.. This class provides multiple connections to social studies curriculum through food, fun and multiculturalism with a small dose of nutrition education.

Teacher Resources

Enrich your teaching with access to free online tools, sample lesson plans, school program visits, and more


Bring your Students

School programs schedule and registration info available May 2019


Contact Us