Teacher Spotlight: Patti Stogsdill of Patrick Henry Elementary

Patrick Henry Downtown Academy School Garden Expansion 2016


Interview with Patti Stogsdill, preschool teacher at Patrick Henry Elementary in St. Louis MO., about how she personally became involved with the school’s garden.

How long have you been gardening personally, and with your students?

All of my life because I was raised on a farm. However, I have only been gardening at the school since the Fall of 2016. My husband helps the preschoolers and I do a lot of the work.


How did you get started with gardening at school?

We had a garden when I first started working [at Patrick Henry Elementary]. The garden was overgrown with weeds and the person that was in charge had been out on medical leave. However, I believe it needed to be used so Patrick Henry put me in charge.


What is the most worthwhile part of school gardening?

Seeing the kids’ joy when they’re out [in the garden]. The teachers don’t utilize it as much as I wish they would but when they do come out and take advantage of the garden they realize how exciting it is.


What is your favorite thing to plant with your students?

Sunflower seeds.


What do teachers need the most in order to use a school garden successfully?

Just be convinced that it is a worthwhile process. They need a lesson plan that gives them ideas and need to see for themselves how beneficial it is for the children.


What are you excited to try/do this coming growing season?

I am excited to try and use cattle fencing to keep our tomatoes from drooping.


What is your best garden tip?

Borax and sugar to keep ants away from your plants.


Interview with Allison Berndt, Education Intern at Gateway Greening, in Fall of 2017.


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.