B1 – How to start a vegetable garden? (imperatives)

Spring is already here, and what comes with it – gardening. Even if not everyone is crazy about this activity, why not take this opportunity and show how to begin this hobby? Maybe at the end of your lesson, your students won’t only know more about imperatives but will want to start their gardening adventure.

The idea for this lesson came a few weeks ago when one of my lessons naturally moved onto the topic of vegetable gardens. Although only one of my students truly loves gardening, many others expressed interest in starting to grow their vegetables to fight back against inflation. It could be a perfect opportunity to show them how to start this hobby, but also teach them a thing or two about imperatives.

At the end of the post, you can find the presentation and the worksheet with the teacher’s notes for all the face-to-face lessons.

Since the lesson is quite heavy on listening, I decided that it’d be best to try and sprinkle as much speaking as possible. That’s why the class starts with a general discussion about vegetable gardens. Ask if students have ever had a garden and if yes, what kind of plants they’ve grown. Then ask students to think about the equipment and materials needed to have a vegetable garden. Of course, an allotment or a garden is a given!


Even though the topic of the class is simple and students usually learn about imperatives at earlier stages, the vocabulary is unique and may cause some problems. For this reason, I decided to pre-teach the words mentioned in the video listening as one of the first tasks in the class. Students work in pairs and match the words to the pictures. They include manure, seedlings, trowel and seaweed solution. Watch the beginning of the video How to Start a Vegetable Garden by Bunnings Warehouse (0:00 – 0:30) and check the answers. Discuss if all 12 items mentioned in the video are essential to start a vegetable garden.

Before continuing with the rest of the video, look at six garden activities that need to be done to start a vegetable garden. Students work in pairs and put them in order (1-6). Watch the rest of the video (0:30 – 3:11) and check the answers. It’s easy to check the answers, as all of them are presented as chapters. Some of them are mulch garden bed, position patch and fill with quality potting mix. It also gives a great opportunity to explain any new words which can be seen in the pictures.

Initially, I wanted to make grammar (imperatives) the focus of the class, but the vocabulary stole the show. I created ten sentences with eleven missing words. This task is similar to Cambridge PET Listening Part 3. Students watch the video (0:30 – 3:11) again and fill in the gaps with the missing words. Nine of the words were presented in the pre-teach part of the class, and two others are simple and shouldn’t cause any additional problems. Check the answers and make sure to look at the correct spelling.


The class is relatively short, so I thought there should be plenty of time to revise imperatives. Show five sentences from the listening task and answer some CCQs as a group. Discuss what they have in common and how they compare to a typical sentence in English (there is no subject). Think about the form of the verb in affirmative and negative sentences, and identify the subject of each one. Talk about the use of imperatives and their general tone in a conversation. Practise imperatives by completing sentences about gardening.

The last activity in the class is a combination of writing and speaking. Students think of activities that can be done in a garden. To make it easier, I offered an example of how to grow and take care of roses. Students follow it and write five sentences explaining how to do something in the garden. At the end of the class, students present their ideas to each other. Correct any errors as needed.

Is gardening one of your hobbies? Which activity would you explain to the group?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s