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FSC School Garden Resource Page

Welcome to DeKalb County Public School’s School Garden resource page. Fernbank Science Center has offered the DeKalb School Master Gardener program since 2004, supporting dozens of schools in developing their gardens as outdoor learning laboratories. To meet increasing demand for school garden support and professional development, FSC will maintain this page with up-to-date information about seasonal garden tasks, grants, professional development opportunities and lesson ideas.  

Why School Gardens?

Children and Nature Network says it best: “Spending time in nature enhances educational outcomes by improving children’s academic performance, focus, behavior and love of learning.” This info-graphic includes references to research that shows the positive impacts of using school gardens and other natural learning environments as teaching tools


DeKalb County has an excellent climate for nearly year-round gardening, and school gardens can help build school community and encourage students (and teachers!) to eat fresh fruits and vegetables. School gardens also provide habitat for critical pollinator species like Monarch butterflies and native bees.

Finally, a school garden is an outdoor laboratory, providing curricular connections to all subjects and opportunities for experimentation and STEAM projects. School gardens bring learning to life.



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Professional Development Opportunities

Essential Summer Garden Tasks

Summer-ize the school garden by choosing from the following options:

No-maintenance summer: Sheet mulch or cover-crop the garden beds. See: Sheet mulching with wheat straw

Low-maintenance summer: plant crops that are planted in May and can wait to be harvested until August and just need weekly watering and weeding .  Good plants include: popcorn, winter squash, dry beans, sweet potatoes, long-season eggplant, peppers, sweet corn.  ‘Three Sisters’ gardens work well for this model. 

High-maintenance summer: plant crops that need frequent summer harvesting . Cucumbers, tomatoes, okra, green beans, summer squash.

This is a great option to produce for summer programs . Requires at least twice weekly visits 

Watering (Drip irrigation): Dripworks has great resources available for planning and purchasing a drip irrigation system, which will save lots of time and water for summer watering. 

Additional Resources

Summer in the School Garden: a resource for working with volunteers to maintain your school garden

Lifelab Summer Vacation for your School Garden  

Georgia Organics Planting and Harvest Calendar 

UGA: Using Cover Crops in the Home Garden 

Zone 8

Zone 8 (Metro Atlanta) Planting/Harvest Calendar

Planting vegetable seeds or transplants at the correct time is important to getting the most out of your garden. Knowing your first and last frost dates will help you start your vegetable seeds at the right time. The Atlanta Metro area is Zone 8.

Green Teacher

Green Teacher Magazine

Green Teacher Magazine is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping educators, both inside and outside of schools, promote environmental awareness among young people aged 6-19.  The quarterly Green Teacher magazine offers perspectives on the role of education in creating a sustainable future, practical articles and ready to use activities for various age levels, and reviews of dozens of new educational resources.

DeKalb teachers have free access!  

Contact Kyla Van Deusen for subscription information. or 678-874-7138

DeKalb School Garden Blog

Click Here For The Full Blog Page

Grant Opportunities
DCSD Grants Departmentincludes grant-writing tips, available external grants and guidelines for submitting grant applications.

Environmental Education in Georgia keeps a thorough list of grants and contests

Grant writing tips from Whole Kids Foundation
School Garden Support Organizations

The following list is not exhaustive; please let us know who is missing! In addition, many schools develop partnerships with local scouting and other civic organizations, businesses, and institutions in support of their outdoor education programs. See the In the News section for great ideas on community partnerships for DeKalb school gardens.

Captain Planet Foundation: Captain Planet Foundation’s Project Learning Garden competitive grant is available annually to a limited number of DeKalb elementary and middle schools, check website for annual grant timelines. Additionally, CPF provides professional learning in 3D schoolyard science through the CPF Institute, and K-8 garden-based curriculum freely accessible through Project Learning Garden. CPF has provided summer garden maintenance interns for DeKalb Schools. 

DeKalb County Conservation District: The Dekalb County Conservation District promotes soil & water stewardship throughout local schools and to landowners in Dekalb County. Program Assistant Tixie Fowler connects schools to experts in the field to support aquaponics, greenhouses, and other garden-related school-based activities. Excellent resource for technical support. 

Georgia Organics: Georgia Organic’s Farm to School program provides on-line resources for schools as well as fee-for-service professional development in school garden and nutrition topics. As a Golden Radish Award-winning district, DCSD is eligible for workshop scholarships. 

Out Teach: Out Teach partners with districts and schools to create effective professional development programs and rich outdoor learning environments that teachers need to unlock student performance with the power of experiential learning outdoors. Out Teach empowers teachers to get outside—beyond the classroom—to create unforgettable learning experiences and measurable academic results. 

Partners for Action in Healthy Living: PAHL supports school gardens in SW DeKalb as part of its overall mission to “empower and educate individuals through gardening and urban agriculture, connecting people to the land, to their food and most importantly, to each other.” PAHL provides grants and hands-on technical and educational support for school gardens. 

Wylde Center: Wylde Center implemented a grant to plant school fruit tree orchards in the South River watershed and also offers a menu of fee-for-service school garden coach services throughout the county. 

DeKalb Gardens in the News

Oct 16 2018: 84 Georgia School Districts Recognized for Farm to School Innovation at 2018 Golden Radish Awards (DeKalb receives Gold Level) AllOnGeorgia

Sept 27 2018: Volunteers build community garden at Stone Mountain High School On Common Ground News

Aug 25 2018: Sagamore Hills STEM teacher Stephanie Spencer in the AJC

July 20 2018: Eldridge E Miller Gets Outdoor Classroom and Greenhouse, The DeKalb Free Press

April 6 2018: Students Planting Orchards at Lithonia Schools, Crossroads News

Wadsworth STEM Garden, DCSD Trusted News

Nov 25 2016: DeKalb Gets Golden Radish Award for Farm to School, Crossroads News

Sept 14, 2014 Druid Hills HS Eagle Scout Builds Garden Beds, Crossroads News

April 12, 2013 Toney Elementary Student Starts a Garden, Crossroads News

Need More Information?

Contact Kyla Van Deusen at or 678-874-7138