Summer Garden Care is a process over the summer months that allows families and community members to help care for and to get to know our school gardens, often lead by the students/children in the family who participated in school-year garden programming. Our garden schedule runs in one week shifts (we do Monday through Sunday) and is coordinated by one person who can generally oversee the program all summer long. This system is more work than one person doing it her/himself, but allows for many families and volunteers to gain understanding and ownership of the school garden space, which we believe is valuable. Here’s how we organize Summer Garden Care:
Prior to the summer garden care:
- An announcement sent home with each of the students requesting that any volunteers wanting to help care for the garden over the summer contact their school’s Garden Educator. We ask that each volunteer only signs up for one (or maybe two) weeks throughout the summer.
- An hour-long workshop scheduled and lead by your school’s Garden Educator to give volunteers a tour of the garden, to review the Summer Garden Care Handout and to answer any questions regarding the garden. This is also great a time to review and submit a volunteer waiver.
- An email titled “Welcome to Summer Garden Care” from the Summer Garden Care coordinator. This email will include contact information for the coordinator who can answer any questions or assist with any issues during the summer shifts.
Once Summer Garden Care has begun:
- An e-mail titled “Summer Garden Care” from the coordinator is sent out on the Friday afternoon before the week-long shift will start. This e-mail will contain detailed information about each of the specific garden tasks (watering, weeding, trellising, harvesting, and composting) that should happen over the course of the week.
- The Summer Garden Care Handout received at the training will also be laminated and taped to the toolbox for reference along with a diagram of the bed layouts. Volunteer waivers will also be placed in the tool box, volunteers should be sure to sign one and place it in the folder provided if unable to attend the workshop.
- A fun and enjoyable time getting to know the schools garden!
- An opportunity to take home and enjoy lettuce, raspberries, cherry tomatoes, ground cherries, fall broccoli, kale, flowers, and herbs harvested from the garden, as we greatly appreciate all of the team’s hard work!
After Summer Garden Care wraps up:
- Send a “Thank You, Summer Garden Care Volunteers!” email Bcc’d to all who participated. Include any interesting photos, fun facts or stories you have from the summer to end on a high, grateful, positive note.
- Maintain the list of Summer Garden Care volunteers and contact info for next year and to contact for school-year needs.