Spring thyme is here and the OISE Library Branch of the Toronto Seed Library is newly stocked up with seeds. The Toronto Seed Library has 20 branches across the city where gardeners, both seasoned and beginner, can pick up a wide variety of seeds for free. Gardeners are encouraged to learn about the process of seed saving and return seeds for use by their fellow gardeners. More information about seed saving and using the Toronto Seed Library is available on their website. Members of the OISE community and general public are welcome to stop by the OISE Library Branch during our opening hours to pick up seeds.
The OISE Library has a number of works relevant to the intersection of gardening and education, which might interest students hoping to integrate gardening into community organizations or the classroom. How to Grow a School Garden: A Complete Guide for Parents and Teachers by Arden Bucklin-Sporer and Rachel Kathleen Pringle walks prospective gardeners through the step of setting up a school garden—big or small—drawing on the authors’ years of experience working with the San Francisco Green Schoolyard Alliance. The book covers all the steps of establishing a school garden process from early advocacy and design to maintaining the garden’s vitality and ecosystem over many years. The nitty-gritty of soil and composting are addressed alongside tips about effective classroom management and lesson planning to help students get the most out of a school garden.
Once a garden is established and sprouting smoothly The Garden Classroom: Hands-on Activities in Math, Science, Literacy, and Art by Cathy James offers lesson plan suggestions which incorporate plants and gardening with various strands of the curriculum. The Garden Classroom does offer tips on getting a gardens of varying size started, but mainly focuses on detailing outdoor and garden based activities appropriate for students ranging from kindergarten through grade three. The activities James’ discusses range from getting students to keep a gardening journal, to creating your own natural dyes.
Garden and plant-centric lesson plans might benefit from the beautifully illustrated Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt written by Kate Messner and illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal, from our Children’s Literature collection. The picture book’s story introduces children to the various insects and animals who inhabit the garden, ranging from worms to wasps to ladybugs, emphasizing the important role these creatures play. The story familiarizes children with the seasonal changes, following the garden’s progress from early spring until the return of winter. Messner and Neal’s book matches well with the Ontario Science Curriculum for primary grades and offers a starting point for familiarizing students with gardening.
How Groundhog’s Garden Grew written and illustrated by Lynne Cherry introduces the reader to how plants and gardens grow, with special attention to how vegetables grow from seeds into dinner. Groundhog, the book’s main character, plants seeds in the ground and nurtures them from seedling into full grown vegetables, learning lessons about the diverse life cycles of plants, pollination, and the changing seasons along the way. The book introduces children to gardening vocabulary teaching them about fertilizer, perennials, and other key gardening concepts.
Start your gardening adventures today by visiting the OISE Library Branch of the Toronto Seed Library, or by checking out a gardening title from our collection!