Academic English

“Garden Secrets”

Level: Topic: Speakers: Length:
difficult gardening man – woman 02:55

Pre-Listening Exercise

Think of two important keys in growing a garden. What have been your experiences in raising food in your country?


“let the grass grow around your feet” = wait, waste time, or delay in doing something
Don’t let the grass grow around your feet. Stop sitting at home and get out and apply for a job.”

“turn a new leaf” = change one’s behavior
I don’t think he’ll turn over a new leaf just because he is getting married.”

Listening Exercise

Instructions: Watch this video and answer the questions. Then, read the script at the bottom of the page.

Shirley learned about square-foot gardening _____.

This spring I took a square-foot gardening class, and I decided to try some of the things I've learned.

What is the main benefit of developing a square-foot garden?

Shirley: Well, for example, right here we have some, um, cantaloupe, and cantaloupe take a lot of space when you grow them out on the ground, and I don't have that much space, and so I just grow them up.

____ was NOT mentioned about starting a garden.

Um, one of the most important things in square-foot gardening is that you choose a good location. You need at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunshine. Um, you also need to choose a location that has good drainage, and it should be a convenient location.

Shirley talks about strawberries, okra, tomatillos, and ______.

Shirley: Well over on the far end, I have tomatoes growing vertically. In front of those I have, um, green peppers, basil, strawberries, uh, beets, um, green beans, corn, carrots, all kinds of different vegetables like that.

At the end of the show, Shirley is going to _____.

In a few minutes, viewers, we will let you see the entire garden, and maybe Shirley will kind of show you around.

Post-Listening Exercise

What are the benefits or challenges of trying to raise your own fruits, vegetables, and even herbs?

Online Investigation

Imagine that are moving to Northern Mexico for a couple of years, and you are into gardening. Because you are concerned about maintaining a healthy diet, you want to look into what edible plants you can grow in the area. Use the Internet to identify two vegetables and two fruits/berries that can be raised in that area. Then, answer the following questions:

  • What are the names of the plants you found?
  • When is the best time to plant them?
  • What is the growing season for each?
  • When are the vegetables ready for harvest?
  • In what kinds of recipes can the food items be used?