Student Stories in the CSG Garden
December 2016
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Buford Garden Aides Straight Talk
This month, the Buford Garden Aides wrote two incredible blog posts about their year in the garden. The words of these 7th and 8th grade students are worth the click and read! Check out their blogs at: 
You'll also see photos of their projects throughout the year as they share what they enjoyed, learned and even struggled with during their time in garden class. 
6th Period: Amelia, Jamonte, Lynaisha, Jaeheim, and Jeanette  
6TH PERIOD GARDEN AIDES: One of the most meaningful and unique parts of the garden aide class is that students spend the whole year working with the same four teammates towards a common goal: healthy food for all.  To achieve that goal, CSG prioritizes creating space for students to reflect, share and be themselves with each other as they form a united garden crew.  In doing so we learn that Jamonte focuses best when he has music on in the background, Lynaisha loves meeting new people, Amelia is curious about everything in the garden, Jaeheim de-stresses by digging in the soil and Jeanette energizes all of us with her big smile and contagious excitement. I hope you enjoy hearing from them about their experience working in the garden at Buford this school year.
7th PeriodEve, Manny, Anders, Odalis, and Joseph 

7TH PERIOD GARDEN AIDES: Each student that passes through the garden leaves a mark, not only on the plant and animal community there, but also on the spirit and energy of this beautiful growing space.  These five garden aides not only work with diligence and care to plant, grow and harvest, but also bring the spirit of teamwork and kindness to their work.  It is in Anders’ garden puns, Odalis’ witty jokes, Joseph’s enthusiasm and encouragement, Manny’s storytelling and Eve’s team spirit that I feel honored to work with them in the garden at Buford.  I hope you enjoy hearing their unique voices describe our fall gardening season.
-Emily Axelbaum, Buford Garden Educator
Tomas Rahal - Mas Tapas, Owner & Chef
"Why I Support City Schoolyard Garden"

I started out by looking for roots in the community. A business needs to have the historical context of the community in which it thrives and we need to give back to our community.  At Mas, we support City Schoolyard Garden because the gardens are a living, breathing way to bring to light issues of sustainability and organic farming, history and healthy community. The gardens are cultural anchors for our kids that build identity—unique and specific to our place.

—Tomas Rahal, Chef at Mas Tapas and CSG monthly donor

We are so grateful for Tomas’s contributions, and for the support of all of our business and community partners. Join Tomas and make a gift to build healthy community through youth gardens. We’re 43% of the way to reaching our $10,000 goal. Give today and help us finish strong on December 31!


Join us for tips about planting, pruning, harvesting and cooking in your garden.


1. Cut back dry stems of perennials to soil level after frost to neaten the garden and remove pest eggs and disease spores that may linger. Leave stems with attractive seed heads for winter interest.

2. Compost dead plant debris to create an organic soil conditioner. Hot, active piles kill weed seeds and disease pathogens; passive, inactive piles do not. 

3. Cut off diseased foliage from evergreen plants and shrubs and compost separately. Rake up and discard the old, disease-bearing mulch, too.

4. To prevent rodents from nesting in the soil, wait until the ground freezes before adding a 6-inch layer of organic material as winter mulch.

5. Mulch perennial and shrub beds with pine needles or chopped leaves. This protects both plant roots and the soil and moderates the effects of extreme temperature changes during winter freezes and thaws.
1. Sage is a perennial in most areas and does not need special treatment for the winter. 

2. Rosemary is a tender evergreen perennial that should be sheltered outside (Zone 6) or potted up and brought inside (Zone 5 and colder) for the winter.

3. Thyme is fairly indestructible. A perennial, it will go dormant in the fall, then revive by itself in the spring.

4. Parsley, a biennial, will withstand a light frost. In Zone 5 or colder, cover it on cold nights. It has a long taproot and does not transplant well.

5. Chives are hardy perennials. Dig up a clump and pot it, then let the foliage die down and freeze for several weeks. Bring the pot indoors to a sunny, cool spot. Water well and harvest chives throughout the winter.

1. Protect the tender bark of young trees from gnawing critters by wrapping stems or trunks with wire or commercial tree-guard products.

2. Screen evergreens, particularly exposed broad-leaved types, from drying winter wind and sun by setting up burlap screens or shade cloth shelters.
CSG sends out a hearty thank you to each and every one of the individuals, businesses and foundations that support the work we do to engage youth in nature, enhance academic learning and cultivate the skills for healthy living. We can only thrive with your partnerships!

Many thanks to Bama Works, a Dave Matthews Band fund administered by the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation.  Your support keeps elementary school youth gardening and growing.

We extend our warmest thanks to Tomas Rahal of Mas Tapas; Tomas has been a year-round supporter through monthly donations and annual porgrams with Clark youth. We so appreciate your support!

Thank you to Hartfield Foundation for your foundational support to CSG. You help us to ensure that young people can engage with nature year-round!

Thanks to the Dominion Environmental Stewardship Grants Program, which supports growing urban habitats in the form of gardening.

Student Ernesto Sanchez Connects with the CHS Garden

In September 2016, we hosted a reception at Charlottesville High School (CHS) to officially launch this gem of a garden. We were lucky enough to have Alice Waters there to help plant the peach tree. But, our truly special guests were Ernesto Sanchez and Makayla Howard. Ernesto is a junior at CHS and student in the Garden to Market class and Makalya is a freshman and former Garden Aide at Buford. Ernesto offered a warm welcome to the community as well as a testament to the positive impact of the garden on youth:

"Good evening! My name is Ernesto Sanchez and I am a junior here at Charlottesville High School...I am in my second year of taking the Garden to Market class and our class is excited to finally have a chance to show off all of our hard work we have put into the garden.... One of my favorite parts of working in the garden is that it reminds me of when I was younger. I spent a lot of my childhood in Tennessee, and I would always go and help my Dad at the farm where he worked. I miss living in Tennessee sometimes and this garden helps me stay connected with those memories."  To see Ernesto's full, beautiful speech, click here. [It's so worth it!]

The Greenbrier Shed is Alive… Well Almost!

The shed roof at the Greenbrier Elementary School is's ALIVE!  Well, not quite. With a green design concept, the shed was originally designed to have a living roof.  What does that mean?  A living roof is a roof of a building that is partially or completely covered with vegetation and a growing medium, planted over a waterproofing membrane. With drainage material and barriers installed to prevent soil erosion, it was finally time to put the soil on the roof.  

On two Saturday volunteer workdays in November 2016, CSG Garden Coordinator Emily Anderson and volunteers worked hard to move over 2.5 tons of cobbles, pea gravel, sand, top soil, and perlite onto the roof.  Read more about the living roof here.

Help CSG Spark Garden Connections for Youth! Give Today

City Schoolyard Garden is so thankful for the generous support provided by the Charlottesville community. If you are passionate about engaging youth in nature -donate today!


P.O. Box 5282, Charlottesville, VA 22905


For fun updates, photos and stories, be sure to like us on Facebook!

Just in case you shop Amazon - your purchases can count as a donation to City Schoolyard Garden through AmazonSmile. It’s easy to select CSG as your "smile organization" by going to this CSG AmazonSmile Link and signing up. Then, 0.5% of your eligible purchase price will be donated to CSG.

Thanks for checking it out and supporting youth engagement in nature. 
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Are you a Virginia State Employee? City Schoolyard Garden is excited to be participating in this year's Commonwealth of Virginia Campaign (CVC) fundraising drive where state employees can donate pre-tax to the charity of your choice. We are #08290. Tell a friend and donate today!

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