My School Garden Story


Before construction of garden  March 26 2014

Before construction of garden
March 26 2014


March 26 2014  Woodchips delivery

March 26 2014
Woodchips delivery


March 26 2014  Around the magnolia tree

March 26 2014
Around the magnolia tree


This school has been a fantastic year for our school: we created a school garden.

Located in Bedford Stuyvesant where healthy food is not easily accessible to the families of the school,we have created a powerful learning tool.

Our school is PS/IS 262 EL Hajj Malik Shabazz with about 500 students from Pre-k to 8th grade.

First of all, we are teaching the children to grow food and eat healthier.

Having high rates of obesity ,asthma and diabetes in our community,this school garden is really a good way to teach the children how to make better choices for their health.

In a school garden you can teach the children everything from Nutrition, Health, Science, Art, Languages and …GARDENING.

In our school garden we planted vegetables: tomatoes, onions, basil,dill,rosemary,thyme and LETTUCE.

Any kind of lettuce is easy to grow and the children can harvest it.



We had 2 grants this year : one  for the school garden of $2000 from Grow to learn.

If you want more information about their grants please visit their beautiful and very informative website.

And an other one of $450 for compost from Citizen committee for New York city.

So we are going to start composting in Fall 2014!

We also had because we are a school garden registered with Grow to learn,

free soil and wood from Greenthumb.

If we need tools we can use the free tool loan from Grow NYC.

this year has been a wonderful one with very special people who you meet in Conferences,

workshops with one thing in common: they are passionate about gardening and concerned about

food justice (to learn more visit Just Food they have a big conference every year,very interesting).


I am tracing the wood before cutting

I am tracing the wood before cutting

This gentleman helped us a lot! Construction of the raised beds April 26 2014

This gentleman helped us a lot!
Construction of the raised beds April 26 2014


We found a worm!

We found a worm!



We filled the raised beds with soil full of compost! A lot of work!

We filled the raised beds with soil full of compost! A lot of work!



Mother and daughter

Mother and daughter


Planting with my other daughter in Pre-K May 15 2014

Planting with my other daughter in Pre-K
May 15 2014






















Planting vegetables with my daughter's first grade class

Planting vegetables with my daughter’s first grade class


Creating a school garden is challenging. Make sure you will be able to commit enough time to make it happen.

Once you have a team of parents, teachers with the parent coordinator you can do this fantastic project.

You need to be very clear about what gardening is : HARD WORK.

People helping have to be ready to sweat, shovel some soil, woodchips or compost.


There are also a lot of rules that you need to be aware of : access to water is a big one.

We found a solution to that by filling a rain barrel of tap water because we couldn’t have immediate access to the water.



August 1 2014 Tomatoes

August 1 2014 Tomatoes


The children of the school loved the project.

Every time a class was coming to the garden ,the students always asked

if they could come everyday to the garden because it is a lot of fun!

They can observe bugs in the compost: earthworm or other insects.

We are giving the children a lifetime experience that they will remember:

smelling  basil or observing the flower of the tomato is learning while having fun!

The children were fascinated when i was explaining that seeds make a plant with flowers and that

the flower after pollination give the fruit.

We have in our school garden a  strawberry plant, a blueberry bush and a raspberry bush.

But we also have other plants called Native plants.




Native plants

We are not only growing food but trying to attract butterflies.

We planted native plants which means plants that are adapted to our climate.

These native plants attract butterflies, bees and any insects that feed on nectar.

We also have host plants for the caterpillars.

The proof is right below: we found two monarch caterpillars!!!

Why do we want to attract butterflies and bees or any other pollinators:

because they help with POLLINATION which means more crops in a vegetable garden!

And it is also good for wildlife.We are creating a habitat for all these insects.


Monarch caterpillar





Second caterpillar in the dill













We also decorated the garden raised beds with green paint and my daughter started to paint on them too!


      This is the little story of our school garden.


      Did you start a garden this year?


     Can you share your most successful crop?


      Your secrets?







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  1. I planted my first garden this year as well. A very small one 6″x6″, but now I have tomatoes coming out of my ears. It is amazing how much food you can plant in small space.
    I have similar caterpillars in my garden, but they are eating my tomato plants. Watch out for them. They might be eating your plants. They can eat fast and destroy a plant within a few days.

  2. Wow, that is sooooo cool! Congratulations on such a fabulous project and thanks for sharing it with us here!!!

  3. Excellent project! Keep up the good work. I’ve found that wild cherry tomatoes and kale are great for kids. The kale is nice because the kids don’t have to wait for full production of a broccoli head or something. They eat continuously off of the plant.

    • Thanks Cory! We planted in spring broccoli and kale but the broccoli was eaten by squirrels!!! I left the kale but it didn’t grow so well because of lack of sunlight.We just
      pruned the magnolia tree in our garden to have more sunlight.
      So i hope by September that we will be able to have a good harvest.
      I agree kale is nice with the kids because you can eat it continuously.
      And it will be great to introduce kale to the children who never had it or had the canned ones only…
      For the tomatoes it is challenging because our time frame is so short with the school year and tomatoes grow during summer so we can only plant veggies that will grow quickly like lettuce, herbs,radishes,kale.
      But if you see the response of the students with this project: they LOVE it!
      It is very encouraging for me to see that they love it because it is a lot of work!

  4. Yes Cat help if you can : it is very important!
    In Brooklyn we have a lot of community gardens already, i love them!
    Anyway gardening is HARD WORK…
    I hope to get more parents of the school involved in September
    and more people from the community…it takes time…

  5. What an inspiring post and project Fia! My town just planted a vegetable garden across the street from my house and I have been dragging my feet about getting involved (since my own seems like so much work this year!), but you have inspired me to get my butt over there and volunteer!

    hugs- Cat :)