School garden activities, grant listings, free education opportunities, and plants!

San Diego School Garden Newsletter

~ Spring 2019 ~
In this Issue...
* Plant Giveaway Planting Instructions ~ Planting guide for all vegetables distributed at this year's Plant Giveaway.

* Available School Garden Grants ~ Apply for Spring garden grants!

* Create Your Own Flower Clock ~ Learn how to plant a flower clock and create a living timepiece in your garden!

* Garden Activity ~ A fun and easy garden activity that will engage your students and beautify your school.

* Museums for All ~ An opportunity for the whole family to visit a local museum for free!

*Inspiring Field Trips ~ Learn about composting, farm animals, environmental stewardship, and healthy eating on a local farm!

* 2019 Conservation Scholarship ~ Help us spread the word and invite local high school seniors to apply for the RCD's Conservation Scholarship.

 * Range Camp Sponsorship ~ Apply now for the opportunity to win a free trip to Range Camp!

* Creek to Bay Cleanup ~  Join the RCD and I Love a Clean San Diego to help clean our community garden!

FREE Watershed Presentation ~ A one-hour in-class program for students in the San Diego Bay Watershed!

                                Vegetable Planting Instructions

The RCD 2019 Free Plant Giveaway was a huge success! For those of you who participated, we want to send a heartfelt thank you! We distributed about 2,500 plants to local San Diego schools in our largest Plant Giveaway yet! We appreciate your support, none of this could be possible without you! Many schools received different types of vegetable and herb seedlings that students may not be familiar with. Below you can find detailed instructions for planting each beautiful plant you have received so that they thrive in your garden! 

General guidelines:  Make sure plants have acclimated to the local environment (hardened off) by placing them near where they will be planted for a
couple of days.  Keep them moist.  Dig a hole large enough for the transplant, and if necessary, water the surrounding soil.  Remove the transplant from the pot and place in the hole, being careful not to disturb the roots or damage the stem.  Check to ensure that the soil depth is the same as in the pot (except tomatoes).  You want the transplants to be planted at this same level; not buried lower or raised higher than the surrounding soil. Once the transplants are in place, backfill the soil and press firmly to eliminate soil air pockets.  When transplanting, remove any flowers/fruit to allow for stronger root development.  Some pots you receive will have more than one plant. Make sure that these are separated into their own spaces. The exception is cilantro and chives, which can have several plants per space.  Water in the transplants thoroughly. 

  • Basil Nufar
    • Transplant 4” – 8” apart in rows 18” apart.  Likes rich, warm soil but can be susceptible to heat stress.
  • Cucumber Burpless
    • Transplant individual plants 12” apart in rows 6” apart.  Do not disturb roots while transplanting.  Cucumbers will not survive frost.
  • Onion Chives
    • Chives are a perennial that will come back every year, so choose a suitable location.  Thinning is not required and chives can be planted densely.
  • Beans Blue Lake
    • Transplant beans 2” apart in rows 20-36” apart.  Plant when daytime soil temperatures average at least 60º F.
  • Peas Sugar Snap
    • Transplant in early spring, 1 – 1 ½” apart.  If desired, it is best to install a trellis at the time of planting.
  • Cilantro Slo Bolting
    • Transplant 1” to 1 ½” apart in rows 12” – 18” apart.  Thinning is not required.
  • Zucchini Squash
    • Transplant individual plants 12” – 24” in rows 6” apart.  Do not disturb roots while transplanting.
  • Tomato Early Girl
    • Stems of tomatoes will develop adventitious roots if they are buried, so many gardeners will remove the lower leaves of the tomatoes and plant the root ball far below the surface of the soil.  Make sure that at least several inches of the stem is above the soil line.  Water deeply.
Click here for plumeria planting instructions!

Garden Grants and Resources  

Captain Planet Foundation: The CPF invests in high-quality, solution-based programs that embrace STEM learning and empower youth to become local & global environmental change-makers. Educators who are interested in receiving support for students to design and implement hands-on environmental solutions are eligible for project funding. Learn more here. Deadlines vary.

Carton 2 Garden: The fifth annual national Carton 2 Garden Contest, sponsored by Evergreen Packaging, is now accepting registrations! Open to public and private schools, contest winners will be selected based on their implementation of an innovative garden creation featuring creative and sustainable uses for repurposed milk and juice cartons. Fifteen (15) entries will be selected to receive award packages for their efforts. Learn more and register today! Deadline: March 25, 2019.

Educational Garden Design Grant: The California Native Garden Foundation offers grants for school gardens that feature CA native plants. Types of support include garden design services, in-kind donations of plants and landscape materials, volunteer assistance, and direct financial assistance. Click here to learn more and to apply. No deadline: rolling application.

Let's Move Salad Bars to Schools -  Through this opportunity, schools can apply to receive a salad bar in their cafeteria! This is a program that strives to help every child gain access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Click here to learn more and apply; salad bars are awarded as funds become available. No deadline: rolling application.

Native Garden Design Grants:
The California Native Garden Foundation (CNGF) provides native garden design grants to schools, colleges, museums, and other public spaces and non-profit organizations across California. CNGF has been awarding grants to schools to design and install gardens featuring California native plants since 2004.  Click here for more information and instructions. No deadline: rolling application.


Click here for additional grant listings!

Grow a Flower Clock!

Flowers have many beneficial adaptations to attract helpful pollinators to your garden! The scents, colors, and shapes of flowers have all evolved over time to ensure their pollen is equally distributed to ideal destinations. One of these wonderful adaptations is varying bloom times. Some flowers open in the early hours of the morning while other flowers open late in the moonlight. Some flowers only open to peek at the world for a small portion of the day and some stay open for continuous hours. All of these different bloom variations help to attract the attention of hungry pollinators throughout the day. 

By planting a flower clock you can create a living timepiece in your garden! Pick a place with at least six hours of sun and flowers with different bloom times to keep your clock blooming all day. You can choose to plant for each hour of the day or make it more simplistic with just a few time points. You can then use your garden as a way to demonstrate how people used to rely on natures patterns for practical uses. You can even use it to show children a way to check the time without using a smartphone! 

Click here for more information on plant choices, instructions, and details!
Fun Activity - Egg Carton Garden!


Having your own garden is wonderful, but can be hard to maintain or find the space for it. That is why an egg carton garden is perfect for use in the home or classroom! This is an easy and educational project that is great for students and for mother earth! By reusing an old egg carton you are recycling something that would go to waste and bringing new life to it. You can use these mini gardens to start seeds, grow vegetables or flowers!


  • Egg carton (the biodegradable kind)
  • Potting soil
  • Seeds (easy-to-grow or native varieties)
  • Scissors

Season: Plant in spring, summer, or fall


1. Take a pair of scissors and cut off the top and side flap of the egg carton.
2. Fill the egg cups with dirt. If you are starting seeds use the appropriate soil for this. If you are growing food or edible flowers use organic soil.
3. Plant your seeds in the different egg cups. Limit one seed per cup.
4. Place your garden in a place where it will receive lots of sunshine. To help them grow tall and straight rotate your carton from time to time as the plants grow towards the sunlight.
5. Make sure your little guy gets lots of water and light. Check on them every day to watch their growth! 
6. After your plants have sprouted you can transplant them outdoors! Simply cut along the lines of the carton to free each egg cup and plant the whole thing, cup and all, into the ground!

~ Other Opportunities ~

Museums for All!

Visiting a museum fosters joy, creativity, and curiosity. Not only is it a great social experience and a chance to spend time with family, but museums offer amazing educational opportunities as well. 

Museums for All is a signature access program of the Association of Children’s Museums (ACM) and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) that encourages families of all backgrounds to visit museums regularly and build a lifelong affinity for arts and culture. The Nat is a proud participant of this program, which serves low-income families by offering free admission to the Museum year-round for up to four people with the presentation of an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or Women, Infants & Children (WIC) card and a valid form of ID. By removing the financial barrier, Museums for All also removes the social and academic barrier families face when they are not exposed to high-quality museum experiences. 

Click here to learn more about the Museums for All program and embark on a fun, free, educational adventure today!

Inspiring Field Trips!

Wild Willow Farm offers active, inspiring field trips for school and community groups of all ages. Farm field trips engage students and chaperones alike on topics about composting, farm animals, environmental stewardship, and healthy eating.  

Wild Willow Farm field trips are offered on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm, and typically last from 1.5 to 2 hours depending on your needs. Visitors will be split into groups and rotate through three to four hands-on activities, including light and easy farming and interactive lessons. Wild Willow Farm tasks are always changing, but you might be planting, weeding, watering, bed-building, composting, mulching, etc.

To learn more or request a trip, please visit their 
website by clicking here. 

~  Opportunities for High School Students ~

2019 Conservation Scholarship

The RCD invites local high school seniors to apply for the 2019 Conservation Scholarship.  Help us spread the word by sharing with the college-bound students you know!

Up to seven scholarships of $1,000 will be directly awarded by the RCD Scholarship Committee to graduating high school seniors pursuing further education in the fields of resource conservation, environmental sciences, biology or agriculture.  The scholarship is available to students residing in the RCD of Greater San Diego County boundaries (click here for map).  Please check your eligibility by clicking here before applying.

Click here and complete the Google application by 5 pm Monday, April 8, 2019.

Range Camp Sponsorship

The RCD is able to fully sponsor one San Diego student to attend this year’s Range Camp! The goal of Range Camp is to introduce students to the professional world of plant, animal, and landscape management. The sponsorship covers the cost of camp fees and round trip airfare. Eligible students must be 15-18 years old and attend high school within our service area. 

Applications are now live and must be completed and emailed to by Friday, April 19th, 2019. Click here to apply; please note that the deadline on the Range Camp website is April 26th but in order to be sponsored by the RCD you must submit your application a week early to the email address provided above.  
Creek to Bay Cleanup

Celebrate Earth Day with your students this year by joining I Love a Clean San Diego and the Resource Conservation District at the Creek to Bay Cleanup.  Students, families, and friends can earn volunteer hours and help our local landscapes by sharing in this county-wide cleanup. 

Bring a hat, a water bottle, a pair of gloves and be part of this Earth Day effort! The RCD will be hosting a cleanup site at the beautiful Tijuana River Valley Community Garden

Date: April 27th, 2019
Time: 8:00am-12:00pm with a potluck to follow
Place: 2100 Hollister St, San Diego, CA 92154

FREE Watershed Education Program

The Resource Conservation District - in partnership with the Port of San Diego - offers the Watershed Connection, a free watershed education program available to all second through sixth-grade students at schools located within the San Diego Bay Watershed. Click here for a map.

The program includes a one-hour, in-class presentation providing students a hands-on opportunity to learn about their environment. Participants are introduced to the connection between land, water, and human actions, as well as common stormwater pollutants in San Diego. The presentation supports Next Generation Science Standards and CA Science Standards.

For more information visit our website: or email

Wishing you and your garden a happy and healthy start to the spring season! 
(619) 562-0096 ~
11769 Waterhill Rd, Lakeside, CA. 92040

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RCD of Greater San Diego County · 11769 Waterhill Road · Lakeside, CA 92040 · USA

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