Grow Your Own Food with Tips from A School Garden Teacher

By Jerusha Klemperer for FoodPrint

The coronavirus pandemic has inspired a lot of people to explore self-sufficiency in the form of scratch cooking and growing their own food. But for many first time gardeners, growing your own food is an intimidating task that brings up lots of questions: what to grow, where to grow it and, well, how not to screw it up? Is it as simple as throwing some seeds in some dirt, watering them and giving them sun? We asked an elementary school garden teacher for her tips: we figured, if she can teach young kids to grow their own food, she can teach you, too.

Sanaya Irani is a FoodCorps service member with Detroit Public Schools. She teaches kindergarteners through 6th graders how to turn nothing into something — how to feed themselves. She has found that “the detail-oriented aspects of gardening are especially challenging for students,” which is probably true for a lot of first time gardening adults as well. Here we dig into some of those details.


“You honestly don’t need a whole lot of tools to get started,” says Irani. “Some of the essentials are a pair of gardening gloves and a spade to turn the soil or remove aggressive weeds. Make sure you also have a small plot of open soil or a few containers with soil as well as a way to water your plants (hose, water cans) along with some seeds of your choosing. And finally, it doesn’t hurt to come to this work with creativity, as well as some patience, as you wait for your new seeds to germinate!”

Visit FoodPrint’s sustainable seed guide to find the best sources for heirloom and sustainable seeds.