Life Lab

Life Lab cultivates children's love of learning, healthy food, and nature through garden-based education.

Family Garden Activities searchable database of easy to do activities large collection of resources and gardening how to’s 


Gardening How To

The UCSC Farm has a great collection of gardening skills and growing guides For the Gardener has an extensive resource library of videos and gardening tips.


Soil and Compost

When purchasing bagged soil or compost mixes from garden centers read the ingredients label and opt for organic products. Some products are made from municipal bio-waste or have warning labels that say handle with gloves and keep out of reach of children.

Larger quantities of soil mix can be purchased at landscape supply companies which often sell pre-mixed topsoil or compost products that can be loaded in a truck or delivered to your home. When ordering soil to be delivered Use a soil calculator to determine the amount of cubic yards to purchase:

Locally in the Santa Cruz you can purchase bulk soil or arrange delivery from: 

  • Aptos Landscape Supply recommended products are One Earth and Pure Green composts, as well as a topsoil mix good for filling garden boxes
  • Central Coast Home Supply
  • Tri-County Landscape

Resources and Videos for Composting with Kids

Resource and Video on Worm Composting

Make a Soil Shakes or Licuado de Suelo

High quality, affordable soil tests you can

Information about Soil Fertility can be found under the “fertility” heading


Garden Beds

Annie’s and Center for Ecoliteracy: 5 types of kids’ gardens

Building a Raised Bed from Sunset Magazine

Where to buy large containers or raised bed kits:


Seeds and Seeding

Seed Viability Chart see how long older seeds will continue to be viable. When planting older seeds you can just plant more 3 or 4 seeds per hole to better ensure germination.   

Make a Root View Cup


Crop Planning and Choosing Plants

Amazing Reseeding Annuals – these are some of our favorite seeds to sow. Let them mature to make seeds and you will have new plants “volunteer” year after year in your garden.

Learn about Edible Crop Planning – resources, links, and simple planting guide. Refer to your local MasterGardeners or search “vegetable planting guide” for your region or city.


Nature Journaling with Children

Garden Journaling with Children

Life Lab’s Blog Post of Nature Journaling Resources


Life Lab’s Family Garden Books & Activity Cards

The Book of Gardening Projects for Kids

Kids’ Garden Activity Cards


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Stock up your Garden Classroom

Life Lab provides truly inspiring training. Their breadth of experience, joy for teaching, and commitment to sharing knowledge highlight the best practices in food and garden education.
Erica CurryTraining and Professional Development ManagerFoodCorps
Thank you for such a wonderful field trip experience! Your leaders did such a great job at keeping our kids engaged.
Sheila BrickenKindergarten TeacherSan Lorenzo Valley Elementary
Terry had another awesome two weeks at Life Lab. I think he learns more there than in any other part of his year. School is great, but he’s passionate (and often dogmatic) about what he learns there.
Tara NeierCamp ParentSummer camp mom
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