The Green Desk

Growing Tomatoes in Preschool Gardens

Are tomatoes allowed?
From the North Carolina Rated License Assessment Project:

We would defer to CEHP and DCDEE on this topic.  Additionally, for the ERS involving children in the process of gardening through planning, discussion, provision of tools, specific jobs/tasks such as weeding or harvesting, observation and reflection, etc. is considered in the science item. Hand washing is required when children return indoors after gardening.

From the North Carolina Division of Child Development and Early Education:

Yes, growing tomatoes inside your licensed child care outdoor learning environment is fine for children 3 years of age or older. Gardens are acceptable but would need to be maintained. Growing tomato plants in infant and toddler play areas (children 2 years of age or younger) is not allowed.

From the North Carolina Children’s Environmental Health Branch:

Hand washing is required after outdoor activity including gardening. It is important to harvest the ripened fruit to prevent it from falling to the ground and attracting vermin. The use of pesticides is not recommended for gardens in licensed child care programs.

*This information is from a series of FAQ about child care outdoor learning environment regulations in North Carolina. Please see the intro post, here, for more information.

**The NC Pre-K program is now part of the Division of Child Development and Early Education. Previously the downloadable document was available at the Office of Early Learning website. NLI is making this document available here for convenience, but updates and revisions may appear and future inquiries should be directed to this website.

Overview from the North Carolina Outdoor Learning Environments Alliance: