There are plenty of textbooks, guidebooks and videos to help children learn to garden. There are also a limited number of teaching programs and workshops for young gardeners.

Guidebooks for parents and teachers:

“A Child’s Garden” (Public Affairs Dept., Chevron Chemical Co., 6001 Bollinger Canyon Road, San Ramon, Calif. 94583, 50 cents, single copies free to teachers). Still the best bargain for teachers of gardening, it contains sketches of garden activities and a list of vegetables with their histories, tabulated planting information and resources.

“Let’s Grow!” by Linda Tilgner (Storey Communications Inc., Pownal, Vt. 05261: $21.95). Largely pictorial introduction to gardening for the very young to be read or enjoyed with a parent or teacher.

“The Youth Gardening Book, a Complete Guide for Teachers, Parents and Youth Leaders” by Lynn Ocone with Eve Pranis (National Gardening Assn., 180 Flynn Ave., Burlington, Vt., 05401; $14.95). A well-documented guide to gardening for teachers, parents and youth leaders of young and older children.

“Children’s Gardens, A Field Guide for Teachers, Parents and Volunteers” by Elizabeth Brenner and John Pusey (UC Cooperative Extension, Common Ground Garden Program: $8.14, including tax and postage). Garden projects for children age 3 to 10. Based on staff experience with children’s gardens in schools, day-care facilities and community garden sites in Southern California.


Books for the preschool child:

“Carrot Seed” by Ruth Krauss (Harper & Row, 1945: $4.95). As long as there is hope and little boys who plant a carrot seed, this book will be read and treasured.

“How My Garden Grew” by Anne and Harlow Rockwell (Macmillan Publishing Co., 1982: $7.95). A charmingly simple tale of a child, earth, seed and their culture culminates in bouquets and a cooking pot.

“In My Garden” by Helen and Kelly Oechsli (Macmillan Publishing Co., 1985: $12.95). A simply and accurately written how-to text complemented with useful illustrations.

“The Reason for a Flower” by Ruth Heller (Scholastic Inc., 1983: $8.95, paperback $2.50). Artwork in the Georgia O’Keeffe style and a lilting poetic text traces useful plus simply beautiful seeds from grains to lilies and plum blossoms.

“Planting a Rainbow” by Lois Ehlert (Harcourt Brace & Jovanovich, 1988: $14.95). Vivid color and good identity of flowers make this and “Growing Vegetable Soup” by the same author and publisher (1987: $10.95), a librarian’s personal choice.

For kindergarten through third grade:

“Peter Rabbit’s Gardening Book” by Sarah Garland, (Frederick Warne, $6.95: 1983). Peter and his whimsical friends in Mr. McGregor’s garden get down to the earthy pedantics of raising vegetables, berries, mint and geraniums.

“The All-Around Pumpkin Book” by Margery Cuyler (Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1980: $3.95 paperback). A wonderfully complete book about seeds, culture and history, including Halloween.

“Eat the Fruit, Plant the Seed” by Millicent E. Selsman and Jerome Wexler (William Morrow & Co., $11.75: 1980). As with her other excellent gardening books for children, Selsman simply and accurately distills the wonder of plant activity with the help of Jerome Wexler’s camera magic.


“Get Ready, Get Set, GROW” by award-winning producer Ian Clark, filmed in the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, 1000 Washington Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y., 11225, $29.95, plus $2.50 for shipping. This 15-minute film is about the excitement of a child’s garden seen through his eyes and the magnified eyes of resident insects. Two booklets are included for the child and the parent or teacher.

Workshops and discovery programs:

Common Ground: “Saturdays With Mom ‘n’ Dad” and other family gardening activities emphasizing food growing; 2615 S. Grand Ave., Suite 400, Los Angeles, 90007, (213) 744-4349.

Ranch Santa Ana Botanic Garden: Nine guided tours for small groups of school-age children coinciding with the school year. $10 class fee. Available in the fall; “Green Thumbs and Growing Minds,” six after-school sessions, 5 to 7 years; very popular basic horticulture class where children can get their hands dirty. Fees about $36, early registration advised. For information call Susan Greenstein, educational director, (714) 625-8767, or write to the garden at 1500 N. College Ave., Claremont, Calif. 91711.

The Natural History Museum’s Ralph Parson’s Discovery Center, May 6, 1:30 and 3 p.m., “Radish Forests and Pumpkin Houses,” an introduction to family garden adventures with Teddy Colbert. Workshop is free with museum admission: $3. Seniors 62 and over and students with I.D., $1.50, children 12 and under 75 cents; 900 Exposition Blvd., Los Angeles 90007, (213) 744-3534. Reservations not required.

Los Angeles State and County Arboretum: A one-week, half-day discovery program exploring seeds, flowers, bugs, birds and trees utilizing the Arboretum grounds. Ages 6 to 14, 301 N. Baldwin Ave., Arcadia 91006, fee $75 to members of the Arboretum Foundation, $95 general. Information call Wendy Sekovich, education specialist, (818) 446-8251.