Garden Bed Layout Garden Bed Layout Garden Bed 1 Garden Bed 2 Garden Bed 3 Garden Bed 4 Garden Bed 5 Garden Bed 6 Garden Bed 7 Garden Bed 8 Garden Bed 9 Garden Bed 10 Garden Herbs Garden Toolbox
  • Carrots
  • Beets

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Bed 1

Carrots

We plant pelletized ‘Napoli’ carrots in late July and watch them grow until late November, at which point they mature into candy-like sweetness. If you mulch them heavily and cover them with a cold frame, you can bring your students out to the garden during a January thaw for an even-sweeter snack. Who knew the garden held such treasures in the middle of winter!

Beets

The earthy flavor of a beet will turn up most kids’ noses (and those of more than a few adults). But if you pickle a beet for a few weeks in a salty brine at room temperature, the sour crunch becomes addictive.

  • Spinach
  • Wheat
  • Zinnia
  • Tithonia
  • Sunflower
  • Hyacinth Bean
  • Bachelor’s Button
  • Amaranth

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Bed 2

Spinach

Many school cafeterias around the country are able to get fresh local spinach at a decent price. Even so, many Food Service Directors choose not to purchase it because students don’t eat it. Plant it in late September, let it overwinter in the garden, then harvest small leaves in early April for a flavorful salad. Students will come back for more. Recommended: ‘Space’

Wheat

The bedrock of Western civilization, wheat spends most of its life looking like your neighbor’s un-mown lawn. Plant in mid-May so that it comes ready for the beginning of school. Then, give students the opportunity to harvest, thresh, and winnow it.

Zinnia

Zinnia is another great cut flower for bouquets and is known to attract beneficial insects.

Tithonia

Tithonia, or Mexican Sunflower, makes a great cut flower for a bouquet. Even better, it attracts a variety of butterflies, particularly the Tiger Swallowtail. It grows over 6’ tall with dozens of 4” blooms all around.

Sunflower

Sunflowers attract beneficial insects, grow to gargantuan heights, and have edible seeds! If birds are getting to your sunflowers before you do, slip some panty hose over the head to protect the seeds. Recommended: ‘Mammoth Grey Stripe’

Hyacinth Bean

The color contrast of a purple hyacinth bean twining around a yellow sunflower makes a great photo.

Bachelor’s Button

Bachelor’s buttons, also known as cornflowers, attract beneficial insects to the garden by the gallon. Their fuzzy, dart-like seeds germinate right in the garden when direct seeded in the cooler temperatures of early May. Bachelor’s buttons are known to have edible flowers, but they tend to have the texture of tissue paper.

Amaranth

The deep red, almost purple leaves, stem, and seed stalk of this Mexican native stands out in the garden. It’s the plant that most passersby ask about. We always tell curious inquirers that the leaves of the young plant are edible, but that the seeds are where the real flavor pops. You can also grind the magenta seed husks into a paste for use as dye. Recommended: ‘Hopi Red Dye’

  • Field Peas & Oats

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Bed 3

Field Peas & Oats

Plant these at the end of September so that they have time to establish themselves before winter. The Field Peas help fix nitrogen back into the soil while the Oat roots hold the soil together to reduce erosion. Unlike other cover crops, Field Peas and Oats winterkill, saving you the back-breaking work of turning them under.

  • Field Peas & Oats

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Bed 4

Field Peas & Oats

Plant these at the end of September so that they have time to establish themselves before winter. The Field Peas help fix nitrogen back into the soil while the Oat roots hold the soil together to reduce erosion. Unlike other cover crops, Field Peas & Oats winterkill, saving you the back-breaking work of turning them under.

  • Nasturtium
  • Basil
  • Cherry Tomato

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Bed 5

Nasturtium

Who knew flowers were edible! Nasturtium makes a colorful, peppery addition to any salad.

Basil

Basil complements the tomato both in the garden and in the kitchen. As a companion plant, it drives away some tomato pests. As a culinary element, it adds a spicy complexity to the tomato.

Cherry Tomato

Grow cherry tomatoes. They are more prolific than slicing tomatoes, they are tolerant of cool summer temperatures (which usually reduce tomato yield), and they are sweeter than standard tomatoes. Kids who think they hate tomatoes can be found hiding behind a bush inhaling ‘Sun Gold,’ tomatoes. Choose an open-pollinated variety such as ‘Honeydrop,’ or ‘Black Cherry’ to make fall seed-saving lessons possible.

  • Mulch
  • Cilantro
  • Dill
  • Broccoli (Fall)
  • Kale
  • Cauliflower
  • Cabbage

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Bed 6

Mulch

Mulch retains moisture in the soil, suppresses weeds, mitigates erosion, and adds organic matter back to the soil as it decomposes. Good mulch materials include straw, leaf mold (leaves that have decomposed over two winters), grass clippings, newspaper, cardboard, and burlap. Wood chips don’t decompose quickly enough to be useful for annual crops. Come next spring, their presence complicates the tilling of the soil.

Cilantro

The leaves of this cool-season crop are great for making salsa or for sprinkling (with lime) atop a roasted sweet potato. As the season progresses its seed stalk will start performing and you’ll get the highly aromatic seeds known to chefs as coriander.

Dill

This one’s handy to have around for its yellow flower heads (which picklers love) and because it’s a host plant to a few different butterfly larvae, particularly the Black Swallowtail.

Broccoli (Fall)

‘Piracicaba’ is the fall broccoli par excellence. It doesn’t create much of a central head, but the side shoots are prolific and very sweet. Make sure it’s near the edge of the bed so that students have easy access to its irresistible florets. Encourage grazing!

Kale

Kale is rich in Vitamin A and even provides some iron. As an alternative to coleslaw, make a kale-beet salad. Grate the beets, finely slice the kale, and toss it together in a honey mustard dressing made up of olive oil, vinegar, honey, mustard, salt. Recommended: ‘Lacinato’

Cauliflower

Cauliflower is delicious roasted, but many schools don’t have the capacity to roast it on site. Instead, try pickling this broccoli relative as you would beets—in a salty brine at room temperature for two weeks. The already outrageous amount of Vitamin C found in cauliflower will go through the roof.

Cabbage

Cabbage and the nearby carrots can be combined to make a delightfully sweet coleslaw.

  • Field Peas & Oats

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Bed 7

Field Peas & Oats

Plant these at the end of September so that they have time to establish themselves before winter. The Field Peas help fix nitrogen back into the soil while the Oat roots hold the soil together to reduce erosion. Unlike other cover crops, Field Peas & Oats winterkill, saving you the back-breaking work of turning them under.

  • Strawflower
  • Marigold
  • Parsley
  • Pepper

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Bed 8

Strawflower

Strawflower is a favorite with kids for its crinkly flowers. It’s also an everlasting, so it keeps its color when it dries, brightening up the bleakest mid-winter.

Marigold

Signet marigolds make small edible flowers with a citrusy scent.

Parsley

Like dill, parsley is a host plant to several different butterfly larvae. It’s great for making tabbouleh and gazpacho. It’s also great for freshening your breath! Flat leaf parsley, as opposed to curly, is preferred by most chefs.

Pepper

Few non-gardeners are aware that a green pepper is just a red pepper that’s been picked before it’s ripe. ‘Jimmy Nardello’ is great because it can be strung on a ristra as you would a cayenne pepper, but it’s not at all piquant or spicy. After drying it, fry it and salt it for a savory treat.

  • Field Peas & Oats

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Bed 9

Field Peas & Oats

Plant these at the end of September so that they have time to establish themselves before winter. The Field Peas help fix nitrogen back into the soil while the Oat roots hold the soil together to reduce erosion. Unlike other cover crops, Field Peas & Oats winterkill, saving you the back-breaking work of turning them under.

  • Field Peas & Oats

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Bed 10

Field Peas & Oats

Plant these at the end of September so that they have time to establish themselves before winter. The Field Peas help fix nitrogen back into the soil while the Oat roots hold the soil together to reduce erosion. Unlike other cover crops, Field Peas & Oats winterkill, saving you the back-breaking work of turning them under.

  • Sage
  • Thyme
  • Mint
  • Chives

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Herbs

Sage

The nectar of spring sage flowers is a favorite of both pollinating bees and schoolyard kids. The leaves make a great addition to your roasted butternut squash.

Thyme

Thyme flowers in April and is a favorite of many beneficial insects. Its stems make a great addition to chowders and soups.

Mint

This perennial is great for nibbling in the garden. It also makes a soothing cup of tea for a blustery fall day. Beware that it spreads rapidly and can take over a bed within a few years.

Chives

This stalwart perennial provides a light oniony flavor to a variety of dishes, especially spring frittatas. The flowers are edible if you like to chew on tissue paper.

Toolbox

Tools

24 Garden Gloves
24 Transplanter Trowels
2 Large Watering Cans
8 Small Watering Can (1L)
8 Pruning Shears
1 Harvest Knife
2 Garden Spades
4 Garden Forks
4 Garden Claws
2 Bow Rakes
1 Stirrup Hoe
1 Warren Hoe
2 Wire Brushes
4 Tub Trugs (3.5 gal)
4 Buckets
8 Yardsticks
5 Stakes (rebar)
1 Post Driver (red)
1 Rubber Mallet
1 Log Book & Cover
1 Hose
1 Shower Nozzle & Valve
1 Max/Min Thermometer
1 Rain Gauge

Instructions: Click on the beds above to view individual bed details.