School Gardening

  • Students learning about worms
  • Broccoli harvest
  • Collards and lettuce
  • Herb transplanting
  • Rosemary
  • Vegetables loaded in car
  • Kids holding bunches of carrots
  • Transplants being delivered

School Gardening for SC Educators is an extension-based program that combines horticulture training, ongoing technical support and equipment for schools to start and sustain successful school gardens. The program uses innovative approaches to overcome common school gardening obstacles such as poor soil, seasonality and food safety concerns specific to school gardening.

Online Training

Educators engage in a 5-week online professional development course. Teams of three school faculty members are encouraged to participate together to build sustainability into the program. Licensed South Carolina teachers receive 20 renewal credits approved by the South Carolina Department of Education upon completion.

Each participant receives program materials including The Garden STEM Science Technology Engineering & Math Curriculum for Your Garden Classroom, a comprehensive curriculum for K-8 students aligned to South Carolina educational standards. Additionally, the regionally specific technical guide, Seasonal Planting Guide and Calendar for School Gardens: Upstate Region or Lowcountry Region is provided. The guide instructs school gardeners when to plant transplants and seeds in a series of four raised beds. It also indicates when to harvest a wide array of common vegetables. The calendar begins as the school year opens (August) and ends in late spring (May) when, sweet potatoes are planted and allowed to grow over the summer so that students can harvest them upon their return in the fall.

Hands-on Workshops

Following completion of the online course, educators must attend a one-day hands-on workshop where they are introduced to statewide resources including 4-H Youth Development, South Carolina Farm to School and South Carolina Farm Bureau Ag in the Classroom. Additionally, technical skills are emphasized, with educators engaging in hands-on activities such as irrigation system setup, worm composting and seed starting. Lessons from The Garden STEM curriculum are modeled for educators so they can confidently take them back to the classroom and engage students in the garden.

Turn Key Garden Kits

Through this program, Clemson Extension offers turn-key school garden kits as part of the school gardening training program.  These turn-key kits are designed to equip educators with materials needed to establish a thriving school garden. All materials are delivered directly to the school.  Please contact the program coordinator, Amy Dabbs at adabbs@clemson.edu for more information.

Professional Development and Workshops

Additional professional development and hands-on workshops are available by request. Contact program coordinator for details. 

“School Gardening for SC Educators” was created with initial funding from The College of Charleston and Boeing South Carolina.