Teach Outside
Resources and inspiration for current and aspiring outdoor educators and those interested in a natural learning environment.

Potting and Pots in the Garden


Potting and Pots in the GArden


 A child peers into a pot to select something to eat.


Big Pots with Drainage Holes


Copper Tape (Optional- Use to help keep snails out. Wear gardening gloves when applying or you will slice your skin!)

Drip System (Optional but highly recommended.)

Fertilizer (Optional- Depends on soil quality.)

Flower, Fruit, Herb and Vegetable Starts

High Quality Potting Soil




Prepare new pots by ensuring they are clean.

Place bricks under big pots to allow for drainage and to prevent roots from reaching ground underneath.

Fill with a small amount of potting soil.

Point out how to remove the plant from the old container gently by loosening the sides (I roll larger plastic pots on the ground and squeeze small 6-packs) and grasping the plant firmly but gently at the base while pulling it out. Now is a good time to discuss the major parts of the plant structure and what their purposes and needs are.

Gently loosen the roots if the plant is root bound.

Gently set the plant upright in the new container.

Fill gently around the sides with more potting soil and tamp it down with fingers.

Fill with a variety of annual and perennial fruit, herb, and vegetable starts. I've had great success with strawberries, basil, mustard, mint, oregano, rosemary, chicory, kale, and lettuce.


Gigantic, empty pots with drainage holes in the bottom also make beautiful play structures.


A child challenges herself by getting out of a very large pot all on her own.


Seeds can be more easily started in the classroom than a garden space with young children, as they're less likely to get dug up (the children don't yet understand that something will grow in that enticing soil) and less likely to be eaten by pests.

Many nurseries offer free, expired seeds to schools, and school discounts as well.

Lesson plan by Heather Taylor, teachoutside@gmail.com. You are welcome to share all materials with credit to her.