April Showers in School Gardens

Blog April Showers Apr 2017


Second graders of Clay Elementary learning about Ecosystem Connections in the School Garden with Gateway Greening Youth Educator Lucy Herleth on a rainy April morning.

It has been a rainy April, but the Clay Elementary second graders are still out in the school garden. Rain often keeps students inside, just as the seeds need to be planted. Instead of stressing about a ruined planting plan, we’ll throw on an extra layer and head outside!


Ecosystem Connections


Second graders discover wiggling worms in the school garden, learning ecosystem connections on a rainy April day.


The second graders are currently learning about ecosystems and a rainy day is the perfect chance to see ecosystem connections. Luckily, Gateway Greening’s Clay Elementary program recently received a donation of rain coats from Frogg Toggs. After quickly dressing in the new rain gear and grabbing science notebooks, the second graders were able to visit the garden on a recent rainy afternoon. First, the second graders met in the gazebo to discuss how springtime is such a special season for the garden. Gardeners may not like all the rainy days, but it keeps the plants very happy.

Now comfortable getting a little wet in their raincoats, the second graders grabbed trowels and created a trench to plant seed potatoes. It took everyone working together to create a trench the entire length of the garden bed. While digging in the wet soil, students observed the soil and the worms wiggling throughout – another ecosystem connection. As they finished creating the trench, the second graders brought out rulers to practice their measuring skills. They double checked that the holes were deep enough and that the seed potato pieces were far enough apart. Tools and hands were a little muddy but potatoes were planted!

The Clay Elementary second graders were excellent gardeners, even in less than ideal conditions. They helped to plant seed potatoes that had to get in the ground and learned that rain does not have to stop the outdoor fun. They got a little damp post Seed-to-STEM lesson but were more energized than ever to get out in the garden.


The Takeaway

Don’t let a little rain stop you from getting out in the school garden. Encourage students (and teachers) to wear clothes that can get muddy and get outside, even if it is just for a little bit.

Written by Gateway Greening Youth Educator Lucy Herleth. For questions about this article or the Seed to STEM program, please contact Lucy at 314-588-9600 ext 106, or send her an email at [email protected]


Discover more about what is happening in St. Louis school gardens this spring:

Weather won’t stop us! (Autistic Classroom at Clay Elementary)

VermiComposting at Gateway Elementary

Students Planning School Garden Crops

Compost Challenge at Mallinckrodt Academy


Second Graders at Clay Elementary heading back inside after a lesson in ecosystem connections in the school garden – despite April showers!

Looking for more ways to incorporate the school garden into your lesson plan? Stop by:

  • Gateway Greening’s Workshops for Educators page to explore monthly workshops that address the challenges and opportunities represented by teaching in school gardens
  • The Gateway Greening Educators Facebook group to connect with other teachers throughout St. Louis with similar interests in school gardens
  • Check out our In the School Garden Youtube playlist for short, actionable how-to videos that are seasonally relevant.