USBG Greenhouse Manual

Greenhouse Manual CoverThis greenhouse manual is an easy-to-use guide designed to help educators with access to educational greenhouses. Whether planting gardens, growing for Farm to School programs, or integrating plant science into an existing curriculum, this manual has answers that educators need.


Developed in a partnership between NCAT, the United States Botanic Garden (USBG) and City Blossoms, the manual helps educators maximize the potential of new and existing school greenhouses. It opens with a basic explanation of greenhouses and continues with how to integrate their use into classroom and out-of-classroom learning. It contains lesson plans and information on greenhouse operation, growing plants, starting seeds, plant nutrition, disease and pest management, greenhouse budgeting, and succession planting.

Contents Outline:

  • How This Manual Works—An Introduction
  • Part 1: A Strong Foundation—Getting Started
    • Factors to Consider about a Greenhouse
    • Designing for Your Climate
    • Connections to Standards and Evidence of Benefits
    • Spotlight: Grown By Kids, For Kids in Livingston, Montana
  • Part 2: The Best Greenhouse For You—Design & Budget
    • Questions to Ask in Preparation: What, Why, Where, When & How
    • Greenhouse Types
    • Infrastructure Elements: Temperature, Orientation, Ventilation & Light
    • Creating an Interior Layout
    • Hydroponics
    • Budgeting for a School Greenhouse
  • Part 3: Plants, Plants, Plants–Growing in Greenhouse
    • Planning with the School Year & Growing Season
    • Creating a Planting Schedule
    • Greenhouse Planting with Students
    • From Seed to Seedling: Soil, Water & Nutrients
    • Soil Mix Ingredients
    • Steps for Starting Seeds
    • Caring for Seedlings
    • Seedling Nutrition
    • Environmental & Space Factors
  • Problem Solving: Pest & Disease Management
    • Beneficial Insects
    • Pests
    • Tools for Managing Greenhouse Plant Diseases
    • Spotlight: Helping Hands in Washington, D.C.
  • Part 4: Let’s Learn Together—Education & Engagement
    • Not Just Science! Creating a Larger Vision
    • Project-Based Learning
    • Time to Harvest: Connecting a School Greenhouse with a Farm-to-School Program
    • Spotlight: Growing Greens in Washington, D.C.
    • Budget Template
    • Greenhouse Seedling Planting Schedule
    • Succession Planting
    • Further Resources