Grow Your Garden Program with Innovative New Books and Websites


  1. Murphy, E. (2015). Building Soil: A down-to-earth approach: Natural Solutions for Better Gardens and Yards. Minneapolis, MN: Quarto Publishing Group. Much detail for people who may not be gardeners; great for teachers.
  1. Lawrence, E. (2016). What’s Soil Made Of? New York, NY: Bearport. for kids grades 3-5; great for the library.
  1. Reilly, K.M. & Stone, B. (2015). Explore Soil! With 25 Great Projects. White River Junction, VT: Nomad Press.   Projects to do with soil over winter; can be good for teens working with younger children.
  1. Hagler, G. & Ostrom, G. (2012). Step-by-Step Experiments with Soils. Mankato, MN: The Child’s World.   A “go-to” for 7 steps of scientific experiments. (elementary school)
  1. Hansen, G. (2016). Leaves. Minneapolis, MN: Abdo Kids. Great photos and concepts for elementary children.
  1. Hansen, G. (2016). Roots. Minneapolis, MN: Abdo Kids. shows there are many different kinds of roots.
  1. Shaw, G. (2016). The Buzz on Insects. New York, NY: Penguin Young Readers. well-laid out illustrations – anatomically correct.
  1. Hughes, C.D. (2014). Little Kids First Big Book of Bugs. Washington, DC: National Geographic Society. Amazing photos and good text information.
  1. Aston, D.H. & Long, S. (2016). A Beetle is Shy. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books. Illustrations are beautiful, anatomically correct; this author has done other books about other insects and all are good.
  1. Woodward, J. Hevel, G.F. & McGavin, G. (2016). Super Bug Encyclopedia. NewYork, NY: DK Publishing. Graphic layout is well-done; laid out like a computer screen.
  1. Beer, J. (2015). Birds. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic Society. Also well-laid-out;contains interesting facts; easy to have outside-small size.
  1. Peterson, R.T. & Peterson, R.T. (2010). Peterson Field Guide to Birds of Eastern and Central North America. Boston- Houghton, Mifflin, Harcourt. Recommended by bird experts.
  1. Green, J. (2015). A Practical Illustrated Guide to Attracting and Feeding Backyard Birds: The Complete Book of Bird Feeders, Bird Tables, Birdbaths, Nest Boxes, and Garden Bird-Watching. London: Southwater. For older kids and adults; lots of info and projects to do in the garden.

    14. Millard, E. (2014). Indoor Kitchen Gardening. Minneapolis, MN: Cool Springs Press. Winter ideas for gardening; useful for small programs.

  1. Johnsen, K. (2015). Grow All You Can Eat in Three Square Feet. New York, NY: DK Publishing. Helps teachers become more comfortable with gardening; a reluctant teacher gardener may be brought in with this.
  1. Hannemann, M., Tomasello,& S. Saphire, S.W. (2007). Gardening with Children. Brooklyn, NY: Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Go-to book for many people; also good for teens working with younger children.
  1. Bucklin-Sporer, A. & Pringle, R.K. (2010). How to Grow a School Garden: A Complete Guide for Parents and Teachers. Portland, OR: Timber Press. Text-heavy but another go-to resource.
  1. Joffe, D. Puckett, S. & Allen, R. (2014)., Citizen Farmers: The Biodynamic Way to Grow Healthy Food, Build Thriving Communities, and Give Back to the Earth. New York, NY: Stewart, Tabori, and Chang.  Holistic philosophy about gardening; eating directly from garden; “farm nibbles”,“Farmer D”.                                                                                                             
  1. Tornio, S. (2012). Project Garden: A Month-by-Month Guide to Planting, Growing, and Enjoying all Your Backyard Has to Offer. Avon, MA: Adams Media. Grow, eat, recycle; good for non-garden months.
  1. Cornell, K.A. & Larson, J.S. (2015). The Nitty-Gritty Gardening Book: Fun Projects for All Seasons. Minneapolis,MN: Millbrook Press.   Some new ideas for projects.
  1. Hendy, J. (2011). Gardening Projects for Kids: Fantastic ideas for making things, growing plants and flowers and attracting wildlife, with 60 practical projects and 500 photographs. London:Southwater. Low-cost projects such as grow-bag garden, using recycling.
  1. Chernesky, F.S. & Patton, J. (2015). From Apple Trees to Cider, Please! Chicago, IL: Albert Whitman & Company. The author has written other books centered around other produce.
  1. Butterworth, C. & Gaggiotti, L. (2015). Where Did My Clothes Come From? Somerville, MA: Candlewick Press. Another book titled, Where did my Food come from?
  1. Codell, E.R. & Perkins, L.R. (2012). Seed by Seed: The Legend and Legacy of Johnny “Appleseed” Chapman. New York, NY:Greenwillow Books.
  1. Levenson, G. & Thaler, S. (1999). Pumpkin Circle: The Story of a Garden. Berkeley, CA: Tricycle Press.   Life cycle includes decomposing.
  1. Lee, J. (2016). Pumpkin. New York, NY: Bearport. Another good life cycle book, for younger kids.
  1. Fridell, R. & Walsh, P. (2009). Pumpkin. Chicago, IL: Heinemann Library.   For older kids.
  1. Koontz, R.M. & Takvorian, N. (2011). Pick A Perfect Pumpkin: Learning About Pumpkin Harvests. Mankato, MN: Picture Window Books. A good book to read aloud to kids; about harvesting.                                                                                                             
  1. Detlefsen, L.H. & Henry, J. (2015). Time for Cranberries. New York, NY: Roaring Book Press. Explains cranberry harvest.
  1. Bird, R. (2015). Growing Herbs: A Directory of Varieties and How to Cultivate Them Successfully. London: Lorenz Books. Good detail and easy to use.
  1. Mitchem, J. Love, C., & King, D. (2016). Eat Your Greens, Reds, Yellows, and Purples. New York, NY: DK Publishing. Has recipes—“eating a rainbow”; reviewer particularly loved this one.
  1. Burns, L.G. & Harasimowicz, E. (2012). Citizen Scientists: Be a Part of Scientific Discovery From Your Own Backyard. NewYork, H. Holt. Pollinator gardens; has tons of resources; pick one chapter to do with kids or adults; there are other Citizen Science books.
  1. Wheeler-Toppen, J., & Tennant, C. (2015) Edible Science: Experiments You Can Eat. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic Society. Interesting experiments and the science behind it; popcorn.
  1. Higgins, N. (2015). Experiment with Photosynthesis. Minneapolis, MN: Lerner Publishing Group. Plant science; understanding the process; good pictures; reviewer uses it with her garden volunteers—Ex: how to thin radishes.
  1. Dakers, D. (2015). The Nitrogen Cycle. St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree Publishing Company.   Greenhouse gases.
  1. Dakers, D. (2014). Earth’s Water Cycle. St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree Publishing Company. Good conversation starter; tells about places where water is scarce.
  1. Drummond, A. (2016). Green City: How one community survived a tornado and rebuilt a sustainable future. New York, NY: Farrar Straus Giroux Books. Energy Island is another of his books—city flattened by a hurricane and how they rebuilt in both cases.
  1. Carson, R. (2002). Silent Spring. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. A classic.
  1. Louv, R. (2008). Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder. Chapel Hill, N.C.: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill.

Another classic.

  1. Carpenter, N. (2009). Farm City: The education of an urban farmer. New York: Penguin Press. Yet another classic; respectful of nature; from growing plants to hogs to sausage.
  1. Lawson, J., & Smith, S. (2015). Sidewalk Flowers. Toronto, ON: Groundwood Books. Graphic novel takes place in the city as parent walks and pays no attention to child but child is discovering nature as they walk.
  1. Brandt, L., & Vogel, V. (2014). Maddi’s Fridge. Brooklynm NY: Flashlight Press. Food insecurity; free & reduced lunch kids; happy end/sharing.

43. Florence, T., & Frazier, C. (2013). Tyler Makes Spaghetti! New York: Harper. Chef chooses fresh ingredients from farm.

  1. Falwell, C. (2013). Rainbow Stew. New York, NY: Lee & Low Books. Harvest in the rain; GOING OUTSIDE; no fear of rain/mud; cooking with Grandpa.
  1. Trent, S., & Dippold, J. (2013). Farmers’ Market Day. Wilton, CT: Tiger Tales. Family walks to farmers’ market; explains farmers’ market.
  1. Harris, R.H., & Westcott, N.B. (2014). What’s So Yummy? All About Eating Well and Feeling Good. Somerville, MA: Candlewick Press. Biracial family, diversity, community garden, lots of ideas for exercise and eating healthy; reviewers consider it a favorite book to read aloud to kids.
  1. Lipson, E.R. & Gerstein, M. (2009). Applesauce Season. New York, NY: Roaring Brook Press.   Variety in apples; process of making applesauce.
  1. Reynolds, A., Brown, P. & Bromley, L. (2012). Creepy Carrots! New York, NY: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. Fun! For Halloween.


 PBS Learning Media

Best kept secrets – You can use this site for information only, or take advantage of all the free capacity and options it offers. (Click “ABOUT” at top of page for introductory video). It even offers the site in “TEACHER VIEW” or “STUDENT VIEW”; See the link at bottom of main page.

Has a useful search feature to help you find what you need. Let’s use the example of a “2nd grade science lesson plan” to find a lesson about plants:

Put the parameters of your search in on the main page, click and scroll down to find the “Exploring Plants” lesson —

This is one of the excellent “Sock seeds” video lessons included within this lesson plan:   sock-seeds

DIY Seed Bombs

DIY Seed Bombs




Best kept secrets – An excellent explanation of the different corn.

Popcorn in slow motion – video

Science Fair Project Ideas (from main page – click LEARN, then find KIDS, SCIENCE FAIR PROJECTS in drop down box, click, scroll bottom of page for list of projects by grade

  1. Washington Youth Garden

Best kept secrets – Free downloadable popcorn curriculum (click RESOURCES:CURRICULUM, scroll down to POPCORN LESSON PLANS & HANDOUTS).

Plant Yoga – great activity for all grades (parents & kids requested an

encore of this) (click RESOURCES:CURRICULUM, scroll down to

PLANT YOGA, click on graphic to print handout)

  1. NeoK12     fascinating to watch

Best kept secrets – Helpful time lapse videos of plants growing like bean

sprout. (From main page – find LIFE SCIENCE, scroll down to PLANTS

and click, scroll down to “Time lapse of Plants Growing”, click)

Great introduction to different kinds of pollinators that will spark lots of

discussion. (From main page – find LIFE SCIENCE, scroll down to

POLLINATION and click, scroll to “The Beauty of Pollination”, click)

  1. Dig it! The Secrets of Soil

Best kept secrets – Interactive postcards from each state with detailed

soil information. (click DIG IT, scroll to STATE SOIL INTERACTIVE, click)

  1. The U.S. Geological Survey’s Water Science School

Best kept secret – This is an amazing site to learn about water for all ages! It

has an interactive water cycle diagram, with three levels of difficulty for kids.

(click WATER CYCLE KIDS, scroll and click on “interactive diagram”).

many more water topics and tools

Water cycle diagram for adults (click WATER CYCLE ADULTS)


Best kept secret – this should be everyone’s “go to” site for up-to-date info

directly produced by reliable government programs on almost any topic you

can think of. You can learn about farmer’s markets (click KIDS, EXERCISE


changes constantly

You can get to know your farmers and your food (click KIDS: EXERCISE AND



amazing amount of resources and tools


  1. The Potato Board

Best kept secret – great printable activity sheets and resources about

potatoes (click MY POTATOES, scroll to HOME COOKS: KIDS CORNER,

click)   in Spanish also

Eye-catching nutrition education poster and lesson on how to read a

nutrition label (click MY POTATOES, scroll to NUTRITION PROFESSIONALS:


click on one of the options)

  1. U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council (available in English & Spanish)

Best kept secret – awesome video of the narrator actually riding in the

blueberry picker. (click GROWING BLUEBERRIES, scroll across to HOW

BLUEBERRIES GROW and click, scroll down VIDEO)

another good site for where your food comes from

  1. Cape Cod Cranberry Growers’ Association

Best kept secret – “Exploring Cranberries” cranberry curriculum for grades 3–5.

(click on CRANBERRIES, then on FOR TEACHERS).

Ice Sanding information and slide show (click on CRANBERRIES:GROWING


harvesting food; boys might really like this, perhaps decide to do farming

  1. Garden Mosaics (also in Spanish)

Best kept secret – An extensive list of science-based online resources.

(click on ABOUT US, then click on LINKS AND RESOURCES)

Also look at their Science pages, available in both English and Spanish.

Best kept secret – Engaging online illustrations of each fact and topic, which

includes a printable version of the online information & a second page with

additional activities. (Example – click SCIENCE PAGES, select your language,

select your topic [EARTHWORMS], click print version with activities, and then click

teaching tips for more information. How earthworms till the soil, earthworm senses smell, moisture, how they find the compost pile.

  1. Dawn Publishing       Best kept secret – Free downloadable activities that add some amazing sounds and interaction to their books adding another level of learning to their books (click ACTIVITIES, scroll to NOISY BUG SLING-ALONG)

Can use along with reading books about insects.

  1. Monarch Butterfly Life Cycle

Narrated life cycle of a butterfly told from the butterfly’s point of view.

done by a teacher to help her teach

  1. ARKive

Best kept secrets – Presentations you can use to teach! (Example: click

EDUCATE, click 7-11 YEAR OLDS, scroll down to BUTTERFLIES AND


teacher notes along with powerpoint; teaching resources; habitats

A video of a carnivorous plant eating an insect. (Example – click


down to VENUS FLYTRAP, click on ALL 1 VIDEO, click on PLAY)

kids love this

  1. eBird

Best kept secret – intuitive site for citizen scientists that is simple and

fun to use. You create an account, mark your favorite bird watching

spot on a map and input the information about the birds you have

observed. Cornell tracks this data in real time for use in bird research

(click ABOUT then set up an account, get started)

citizen science projects; you can interact by keeping your own data;

     always updating this site; Amazing site

  1. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)

Best kept secret – this informative site for older kids has an excellent video explaining the basics of how wind turbines produce energy (scroll

to bottom of homepage, find RESOURCES, click on LEARN ABOUT

RENEWABLE ENERGY, then click WIND on box on left)

wind energy basics

  1. Aliant Energy Kids       (for younger kids)

Best kept secret – taking your students on an “Energy 101” virtual field


click ENERGY 101 to get the video). “Lesson Book” for each kid online;

     also always updating

  1. South Carolina Garden-based Learning Network

    for anyone interested in gardening with children


       Part of South Carolina’s “Resource Conservation Challenge.” This

environmental education initiative encourages individual schools

to take annual steps toward becoming more environmentally


Projects and resources at the site. Lots of recycling.

  1. Fence line garden   (easily adapted to Georgia state symbols, etc.)

The Carolina Fence™ incorporates both natural and cultural elements, which have been designated as symbols of our state. Includes state flower, state stone, state bird (with a birdhouse suitable for that bird), state wildflowers attractive to state butterfly, state grass, etc. The Fence can function as a valuable habitat element while showcasing symbols of natural and cultural history.

  1. University of Georgia School Gardens
  1. Captain Planet


Additional Resources:


Three Great Books on Soil Microbiology


Deep-Rooted Wisdom, A.J. Farmer

We have begun to lose some of the most important skills used by everyday gardeners to create beautiful, productive gardens. With a personality-driven, engaging narrative, Deep Rooted Wisdom teaches accessible, commonsense skills to a new generation of gardeners. Soulful gardener, Augustus Jenkins Farmer, profiles experienced and up-and-coming gardeners who use these skills in their own gardens. Enjoy this chance to get planting, propagation, and fertilizing knowledge handed down directly from the experts in the field.

Teaming with Microbes, Jeff Lowenfels

The 2011 Garden Writers of America Gold Award for Best Writing/Book proves soil is anything but an inert substance. Healthy soil is teeming with life — not just earthworms and insects, but a staggering multitude of bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms. When we use chemical fertilizers, we injure the microbial life that sustains healthy plants, and thus become increasingly dependent on an arsenal of artificial substances, many of them toxic to humans as well as other forms of life. But there is an alternative to this vicious circle: to garden in a way that strengthens, rather than destroys, the soil food web — the complex world of soil-dwelling organisms.

Organic Mushroom Farming and Mycoremediation, Tradd Cotter

What would it take to grow mushrooms in space? How can mushroom cultivation help us manage, or at least make use of, invasive species such as kudzu and water hyacinth and thereby reduce dependence on herbicides?


To Buy mushroom/fungi spores:

Books used with Microgreens growing:

The Children’s Kitchen Garden, Georgeanne Brennan, 1997, Ten Speed Press

An inspiring, practical book filled with full-color illustrations, recipes, and projects for parents, teachers, and kids who want to grow and eat their own tasty food.

Fanny at Chez Pannise: A Child’s Restaurant Adventures with 46 recipes,

Alice L. Waters, 1997, William Morrow Cookbooks

Edible Salad Garden, Rosalind Creasy, 1999, Periplus Editions

Creasy shows readers how to grow favorite salad greens and vegetables then prepare them using delicious and unique recipes. Over 90 color illustrations.

The Salad Book, Connery and Hill, 1993, Weidenfeld & Nicolson

Planting a salad garden, recipes for salads