School Strawberry Gardens

Joshua Rupert, Kayden Nelson, and Megan Cullipher.Kids love strawberries! Growing a strawberry garden under the “Southeastern plasticulture system” fits really well into the traditional school year. A strawberry garden can be a great project or outdoor laboratory for many grade levels.

In this system, the strawberry plants are set out in September or October and then harvested in April and May. It doesn’t take much space, just a sunny spot with good soil (and you can even bring in the soil). Teachers often find they can enlist the help of local farmers, Master Gardeners, parents, the NC Farm Bureau, and local businesses to build the garden, provide expertise, and acquire the plants, tools, and materials for the garden.

What do you need to get started? How do you grow a school strawberry garden? The NCSU Extension publication Teach from the Garden: Strawberries is a terrific resource. This was developed as a cooperative project by teachers, NC Farm Bureau, the NC Strawberry Association, and NC Cooperative Extension. Other NCSU Extension gardening publications at may also be helpful.

For lesson plans and activities that work well with a strawberry garden and additional resources, see the NC Strawberry Association’s NC Strawberry Investigations K-5 curriculum.

Also visit The Strawberry Garden Project, where you will find additional lesson plans and activities and can sign up to be part of a strawberry school garden listserv.

Here’s a link to a short YouTube video featuring the third graders at Swift Creek Elementary School in Raleigh (pictured above): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4uBMREzx4ks&index=4&list=UUA6ZxToOZ6C08OwrTm6erKw