Garden Lesson Plan

Instructor: Della McGuire

Della has been teaching secondary and adult education for over 20 years. She holds a BS in Sociology, MEd in Reading, and is ABD on the MComm in Storytelling.

This lesson plan can help students learn one of the most important skills for survival and self-sustainability. . . growing their own food! With some basic guidelines and delicious motivators, even the brownest thumb can become green.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this lesson plan, students will be able to:

  • Know how to plant and grow from seeds or transplants.
  • Understand and identify the stages of plant growth and parts of a plant.
  • Identify a plant's needs and provide basic maintenance and care.


  • Introduction and setup takes about 2 or 3 hours
  • Maintenance averages about 30 minutes per day

Curriculum Standards


Determine the central ideas or conclusions of a text; summarize complex concepts, processes, or information presented in a text by paraphrasing them in simpler but still accurate terms.


Follow precisely a complex multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks; analyze the specific results based on explanations in the text.


Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 11-12 texts and topics.


  • Companion planting
  • Container gardening
  • Germination
  • Photosynthesis
  • Succession planting
  • Zone


  • Garden Gear (basic gardening tools as determined by the size and scope of your garden)
    • Compost
    • Fertilizer
    • Fork
    • Gloves
    • Hoe
    • Rake
    • Shears
    • Shovel
    • Till
    • Trowel
    • A variety of planters and containers (get creative here, and ask students to bring in things they find around the house)
    • Potting soil for vegetables (If there is an outdoor space for the garden, conduct a soil sample to determine if it needs additives like lime, compost or fertilizer)
  • A variety of seeds
  • Ruler
  • Calendar
  • Garden journal for each student
  • Popsicle sticks and a marker for labeling seedlings


This lesson plan involves an intensive, long-term commitment so there is built-in flexibility to accommodate the ongoing maintenance work. It will work for a small container garden in the window of each student's home, or a large corner of the school grounds, or any size in between. A different lesson plan emphasizes growing a school garden, so this lesson will focus on helping students create their own backyard or container garden.

Prepare Ahead

Gather your materials and decide how much garden you want to grow.

Plan Your Space

The more people helping, the bigger your garden can be. Ask students to realistically consider who at home would be willing to help with their garden project. Encourage students to restrict their garden size to something that is manageable. For example, a student expecting little to no help from their family in the garden may want to only grow a few plants in one container, while another student with a large, helpful family may be able to start a large backyard garden. Allowing flexibility in the size of the garden will allow all students to participate, even on a small scale. Remember to notify parents this project is happening so they can accommodate the space and water.


Because of the extensive cost and commitment required, you may want to find other resources to support your efforts.

  • Consider teaching this lesson in tandem with another class to share resources.
  • Check with the city to see if they offer compost made up of the leaves and other plant material they pick up. This is much more cost effective than buying bags retail.
  • Look at gardening clubs to share seeds and expertise. Perhaps invite a guest speaker to share with the class.
  • See if there is a community sustainability program that may offer grants, loaner tools, or other material assistance.
  • Check with the local farmers market for possible resources. You may find someone who will volunteer to till your outdoor garden.

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