Does the weather have you stuck inside your classroom? Invite the outdoors in… plant an indoor garden!
Most classrooms garden during the fall and spring, but by incorporating plant activities indoors you can reap the benefits of garden programs year round. Using grow lights or sunny windowsills, your class can experiment with growing a wide range of plants, from houseplants and blooming bulbs to edible crops like radishes and lettuce.
The simplest form of indoor gardening is to place plants in windows that receive a decent amount of light. Windows that face south and west are best and they usually receive enough light to grow leaf and root vegetables (beets, carrots, lettuce, onions and radishes) and herbs. East and north facing windows receive less light and are ideal for many houseplants. You will need to spend a few days monitoring your window space to determine how much light is naturally available for an indoor garden. Learn how to prepare indoor growing spaces.
Grow lights or light gardens (fixtures with fluorescent or incandescent bulbs designed to hang low over growing areas) are a more effective way to produce indoor crops. With grow lights, you can control the amount of light your plants receive and expand your crop options to fruit crops like tomatoes and strawberries. For a selection of prefabricated light gardens designed specifically for youth garden projects, visit NGA's Gardening with Kids Shop there are a number of models to choose from.
To help you incorporate indoor gardens into your curriculum, check out NGA’s GrowLab® Curriculum and GrowLab® Complete Guide. Focused on inquiry based learning, GrowLab® offers engaging lessons that prompt students to question, experiment, and construct their own understanding of the world around them.
This month, download two, free pdf lessons from our GrowLab® curriculum:
Make Room for Raddy: Students observe how plants — and people — respond when crowded and forced to share limited resources. This activity will help students understand that even their precious garden plants must sometimes be thinned.
Plantenstein: Students examine some of the ways we propagate new plants from parts by growing plant parts in the design of unusual faces.