Your seasonal picks are here! Please enjoy our quarterly resources picked just for you and your school garden by our Washington Youth Garden team, the youth education branch of Friends of the National Arboretum.

Join Washington Youth Garden this Saturday, September 18th from 9 AM to 12 PM for our Garden Maintenance Morning. Join us for workshops on container gardening with Niraj Ray of Cultivate the City, Najwa Womack of SiStained8, and Toni Burnham of DC Bees. Walk through the garden to learn more about our gardening practices and pick up seedlings, seeds, and compost for your DC school. This event is free, but registration is requested.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the WYG team has supported teachers in providing hands-on, experiential education by delivering over 4,000 Grow@Home kits to students across the District.

These kits include everything students need to start growing their own food: seeds, soil, planter, and an activity guide to encourage students and classes to learn through experimentation.
We love seeing how classes put our kits into action! Sabina Malkani and Rebecca Lubin's 3rd grade class at Bruce Monroe DCPS set up a virtual walkthrough with our educator, Ehren, and a follow-up virtual lesson on plant care and harvesting.

Their students started each week sharing observations they recorded in the activity guide's Plant Journal. When the plants were large enough, the class transplanted their seedlings into the school's brand new garden beds and eventually harvested the beans, peas, lettuce, and kale they started through the kits.

Washington Youth Garden was founded in 1971 to introduce children to horticultural and life skills, and that has formed the basis of our work since then.

Whether you've come out on a SPROUT field trip, built out a school garden, attended a training, or brought your family to our 1-acre garden, we'd love to highlight your story. If you have a favorite story or moment, please visit our WYG 50th Anniversary webpage and tell us your Washington Youth Garden moment. Write a story (no more than 500 words), share your photos, or upload a short video (30-40 seconds max) to wish Washington Youth Garden a happy birthday. Submit stories by Friday, September 24th.
We also often send out information and opportunities like free seedling availability on the Sprout It Out Teachers listserv, so check it out! Click on the link to request to join the group or send an email to

Fall and the return of cooler weather means it's time to plant root vegetables (radishes, carrots, beets, turnips), hardy vegetables that can survive the winter under row cover or cold frames (kale, collards, broccoli, other brassicas, some varieties of lettuce), and garlic in mid-October. You can even plant some spring flowers to get a head start on blooms (snapdragons, feverfew, Bachelor's button, calendula, rudbeckia, echinacea, and more).

You can find seeds and starts at your local hardware store or from online seed companies like WYG's favorites, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange and True Love Seeds. Remember to apply a layer of compost before planting seeds for best results. We get deliveries from a local company, Veteran Compost. Plus, DC schools can come get seeds and brassica seedlings at Saturday's Garden Maintenance Morning. Need a tool to schedule out your fall planting? Take a look at our planting plan template.

Teaching in Nature's Classroom is a free online course created by Rooted, Life Lab, and Wisconsin School Garden Network. This new online course is intended to be useful and inspirational for educators interested in outdoor and garden based learning. This self-directed 30-hour course is available from September 3 - December 20, 2021.
OSSE's Community of Practice on Agriculture, Food and Environmental (AFE) Education — continue building your network of educators and community members dedicated to infusing garden, outdoor, and nutrition education throughout the school day. Hear from practitioners in DC on best practices and problem-solve together. These monthly sessions begin Wednesday, September 22nd from 4-5 PM.

The seasons are changing and now is an easy time to introduce your students to the garden. Start by having students plant fall seeds and pull weeds to explore the plant life cycles and plant parts. FoodPrints and Whole Kids Foundation developed garden lessons in alignment with Common Core standards to help introduce students to the garden. Consider the lesson "Fall Harvest Celebration" from the FoodPrints curriculum to kick off the harvest season and tie in with any harvest festivities at your school.

The fall season is also an excellent time to start saving seeds for next year. Seed saving is an ancient practice where farmers and gardeners choose the best of their crops to save seeds for the next growing season. This can be done in or out of the garden and has connections to history, math and science.
Come see us next time you're at the National Arboretum!
The Arboretum is open every day from 8 AM - 5 PM except December 25th. Some buildings and collections remain closed to ensure visitor and staff safety.
Washington Youth Garden is the youth outreach and education branch of Friends of the National Arboretum. By supporting FONA, you support WYG connecting thousands of students each year to food, the land, and each other.
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