Got Dirt? Gardening Initiative

In an effort to increase fruit and vegetable consumption in Wisconsin, the Department of Health Services' Nutrition and Physical Activity program developed "Got Dirt?" - a program designed to assist with the implementation of school, community, and child care gardens. 

Never gardened? The Got Dirt? Garden toolkit is designed to provide simple, step-by-step plans for starting a garden. Even better…tips from garden experts and garden success stories from around Wisconsin are also included. 

To request a copy of the toolkit, please complete and return a Got Dirt? Garden Toolkit order sheet (PDF, 216 KB) or you may download a copy of the toolkit via this page.

Note: The PDF version of the "Got Dirt?" Garden Toolkit available on this page is very large and may take a long time to open and / or print from your computer, particularly for people using a dial-up connection.

Got Dirt? Garden Toolkit (PDF, 2.7 MB)  

Toolkit – Table of Contents  

Part One: Basic Steps for Starting a Garden

  • Step 1: Find a Place to Plant

  • Step 2: Get Seeds and Tools

  • Step 3: Prepare the Soil 

  • Step 4: Start Your Garden

  • Step 5: Planting 

  • Step 6: Caring for the Garden

  • Step 7: Harvest Time 

  • Step 8: Preparing for Next Year

Part Two: Gardening Examples and Resources

  • Stories of Successful Gardens

  • Community Gardens (examples & resources)

  • Child & Adult Care Center Gardens (examples)

  • School Gardens (examples, resources, funding opportunities, service learning)

  • Helpful Garden Resources

Learn more about the Got Dirt? Gardening Initiative, which trains teachers and childcare providers to start youth gardens at their own facilities.

Need Help Starting a Garden?

To locate a volunteer Master Gardener or for questions related to gardening, contact your county UW-Extension Office.

University of Wisconsin-Extension Urban Horticulture has information and links to a series of helpful publications that provide even more details and great tips on gardening.

Need Help Extending the Growing Season?

Learn more about using cold frames to extend the school garden growing season.  

Got Veggies?

Got Veggies? is a garden-based nutrition education curriculum created with the goal of getting children to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables. Got Veggies? features seven full lesson plans that are aligned with Wisconsin's Model Academic Standards for Nutrition, Health, Science, and other related subjects.  A series of shorter garden-based activities are also included, as well as fun recipes and helpful tips for cooking and eating in the garden.  This curriculum provides an all around great way to nurture students’ interest in growing and eating fresh fruits and vegetables!

Here are some additional resources that will help to get your garden growing.


Need funding for a fruit and vegetable garden?  Search these organizations for possible grant opportunities.

National Resources

  • National Gardening Association Offers national gardening news and regional reports 

  • The Edible Schoolyard: This site from a Berkley, California school, is an excellent example of a successful farm-to-school program. This site also offers how-to ideas for starting your own garden 

  • Garden Mosaics: Youth gardening assistance using educational resources and activities.  The focus is to learn from elder community members, who share their gardening practices, cultural backgrounds, and wisdom about their community.


  • Buds 'n Sprouts offers 75 in-class and out-of-classroom activities for gardening with kids. For more information, contact:

  • Havenwoods State Forest 
    6141 N. Hopkins Street 
    Milwaukee, WI 53209 
    (414) 527-0232

  • Junior Master Gardener Curriculum includes science, biology, math, botany and reasoning skills through horticulture; both in-class and out-of-classroom activities are included

  • Kids World - Plant Nutrition: Offers kid-friendly explanations of plants and their essential nutrients 

  • Wisconsin Resources 

    Visit these great links to local resources for Wisconsin gardeners.

    Continuing Education Opportunities

    Wisconsin Youth Gardens 

    Comments or Suggestions? If you liked the site or couldn’t find something you were looking for, let us know. We will try and update the site to meet the needs of our audience. Thank you for your input.


    Last Revised: November 24, 2014