Family Gardening Program

Program Description

  • The Family Gardening Program at Hilltop provides a fun, interactive, garden-themed learning environment in which families learn and work together through gardening.
  • The Family Gardening Program is free and is for families with children ages 3-9.
  • The garden program will mainly focus on growing edible plants (including fruits, vegetables, and herbs) as well as flowers.
  • Families register for one of two time slots, Mondays from 6pm – 7:30pm or Saturdays from 9am to 10:30am, and come to Hilltop every week during the time slot they’ve registered for.
  • For participants registered for Mondays the program will be:
    • Monday, May 8th through Monday, July 24th.
  • For participants registered for Saturdays the program will be:
    • Saturday, May 13th through Saturday, July 29th.
  • After July 29th, during Hilltop’s open hours participating families will be able to continue to come to Hilltop to tend to their garden plot and harvest from it until the end of the 2023 growing season.
  • There are a limited number of spaces available in the Family Gardening Program, so please only register if you are able to commit to consistent program attendance and participation.

Program Participants

  • A ‘family’ must include at least one responsible adult who is 18 years or older, and one child.
  • There is no limit to how many people may participate per family.
  • Not all family members are required to come to each weekly program, as long as at least one child and one adult attend each week.

Garden Plot Maintenance

  • Families are responsible for maintaining their own designated garden plot and the pathways surrounding their plot.
  • Maintenance includes watering, harvesting, and weeding both your designated garden plot and the pathways surrounding it.
  • Consistent garden upkeep is essential to pest and invasive weed prevention.
  • Hilltop staff will not be responsible for maintaining your garden plot or your pathways.

Child Supervision During the Program

  • Parents/guardians are responsible for the supervision of their children during the Family Gardening Program at Hilltop.
  • While Hilltop staff will be present each week to facilitate gardening activities for participating families, Hilltop staff will not be responsible for babysitting children during the Family Gardening Program.
  • Children participating in the Family Gardening Program cannot be left unsupervised or unattended by their parents/guardians.

Program Attendance

  • Participants are expected to attend each week.
  • If your family will not be able to attend one week, we request that you notify the instructor and ask another family in the program to take care of your garden for you until you return.
  • Because maintaining a garden plot requires weekly attention, participants who do not attend for more than 2 consecutive weeks will forfeit their garden plot and their spot in the program (unless absence is related to COVID-19).

COVID-19 Precautions

  • Program participants should not come to Hilltop if within the past two weeks they: (1) have had symptoms of COVID-19, (2) have tested positive for COVID-19, or (3) have been in contact with someone who has symptoms of COVID-19 or someone who tested positive for COVID-19.

Program Tools

  • Tools are available for participating families to use while working in their garden plot at Hilltop.
  • All program participants are responsible for cleaning and putting away tools, gloves, and other materials in their proper location every time.
  • Program participants using hoses are responsible for rolling them up neatly after use to prevent tripping hazards.

Program Safety

  • Close-toed shoes are required to protect feet and toes.
  • On warm days, we recommend families bring water bottles to stay hydrated while working outside in the gardens.
  • While it is very uncommon that someone gets stung by an insect at Hilltop, if you or your child have a bee allergy you should bring an epi-pen every time you are at Hilltop and be prepared to self-administer.

Participant Participation Benefits

  • Participants in the program receive weekly gardening instruction through hands-on, family friendly gardening activities.
  • Each family is provided with a garden plot at Hilltop that they maintain through the 2023 growing season.
  • Plants and seeds are provided, and participants are able to utilize Hilltop’s tools while growing their garden plot.
  • Participants take home the produce and flowers grown in their garden plot.

Program Location and Transportation Options

  • The program takes place at Hilltop Garden & Nature Center at Indiana University. Hilltop is located at 2367 E. 10th St. in Bloomington, Indiana.
  • During the Family Gardening Program participants are able to park in the visitor parking at Hilltop.
  • The Bloomington Transit 9 Bus drops off at the nearby Tulip Tree apartments. Just get off at the Tulip Tree apartment stop and walk north 3 minutes and you've arrived at Hilltop.
  • There are also nearby multi-use paths and bike lanes.