Garden Aides Blog

Posted by on Jun 21, 2019 | Comments Off on Garden Aides Blog

Garden Aides Blog

Buford Garden Aides, 2018-2019

Intro by Ms. Shannon

Garden Aides Emma, Victoria and Jin spent the full 2018-2019 school year living the garden life here at Buford Middle School. From the Fall Harvest Festival to the Spring Seedling Giveaway, this trio tackled big and small projects alike, combining their strong individualism and growing teamwork skills to get the job done, all while cultivating friendships and food. Here are some of their stories from their year in the garden.

For more student stories from the Fall season, read here:

 Growing in the Garden

By Jin Pickering

In the garden, we grow a lot of stuff for the students and the community. In order for us to do that we must get a garden ready by choosing an area to make a bed. After you do that start by weeding an area where you want a garden to be. When you are done weeding you can then start to turn the bed with compost using a shovel. While you are turning the bed chop the soil up so then the plants can grow easier. When you have a bed then you can use rakes to make the bed raised so then the seeds or plants won’t get washed out from a lot of rain, or stepped on by other people. When you’re done shaping the bed then you can start planting seeds or seedlings. After the plants are planted then you can water them after they’re in the ground. You should water the plants often enough so they don’t become a crippled mess.

When the plants are ready to be harvested pick the ones that look ready to be pulled or cut (big, healthy, ones). After you’re done harvesting then you can distribute it out to people who are in the community. If you want to you can have a distributing event where people can come and get the harvest. At our school, we had a harvest distribution where we gave away some of the plants that we grew. We ground corn into some cornmeal and put some into Ziploc bags. Another plant we had there were beans that we shelled the day before.







By Emma Farrish


Mr. Fat Groundhog is a groundhog who lives under the ground like Pennywise the clown. So one day I chased Mr. Fat Groundhog, and then he turned around and chased me, but then he turned back around and I chased him, and he went into the woods. The reason why I chased the demonic animal is because the groundhog likes to eat our vegetables, and that is a very demonic thing to do. Then there was another time that we walked down to the garden from the Garden Aide classroom and we saw Mr. Fat groundhog running around INSIDE the garden, so I, the brave and heroic one, told it NOT to step on the garden beds, and it STEPPED on the garden bed. The groundhog has not been spotted since it left the garden, but rumor has it, it’s out there waiting for its next attack.

Harlequin Bugs

The demon ladybugs (Harlequin Bugs) like to kill our plants by eating them. Especially the bean plants and the kale, and have you heard of Lucy Hale, her name rhymes with kale. The evidence the demon ladybugs left were bites, and demon baby eggs on the leaves of the plants.

This a Harlequin bug.

The reason why we call Harlequin Bugs demon ladybugs is because they do very demonic things like kill our plants and they are bugs so they are very annoying! How to get rid of Harlequin Bugs:  you can dunk the plants in soapy water and it will kill them.


Little Baby ANIMALS 🐀🐹

So the other garden aid class the assignment was to make the compost very fine in this job they had to sift and dig through the compost so it wouldn’t have chunks of something in it. Then they saw a little head and there it was the LITTLE BABY ANIMAL!! To this day we still do not know what the animal was because the day after we saw it, it was GONE. But we do know that it was either squirrel or a rat. But it was really cute. It was so young that it had not opened its eyes yet. I really hope that the little baby animal comes back one day.

So this guy named Tom gave us a tour of a farm that had sheeps and lambs on it. At one point there was also goats but they got rid of them. When we went there the lambs had “lamb pox” so we couldn’t pet them. There was also a toad and it peed on someone (hahaha). We also went on a long walk and saw their HUGE garden it was like 11 times the size of Buford’s garden. Their farm is huge and we didn’t get to see all of it.

Projects in the Garden:

By Victoria Feigert

Trail work

In the area behind the Buford football field there is a small forest trail, only really used by the staff, students, and classes that need a break. This year we decided that the trail needed to be more easy to navigate, and that there was no one better qualified for the job than us! To do this, we would take a wheelbarrow full of mulch down to the trail, and start shoveling it onto the pathway. Every Friday for three weeks the ESL (english second language) class would come down to the garden and work on the trail too, we wouldn’t have gotten this far on the trail if not for them. This makes the trail easier to see, and walk around, thus making the trail even more fun for the students.


Wednesdays are my favorite days of the week because on Wednesdays we cook in garden class. With all of the plants and foods we get from the garden, what better way to use them then to cook with them! We made veggie tacos, zucchini cookies, sweet potato fries, and cornbread, all with ingredients from the Buford garden! Oftentimes we would have too much food, and so we would leave it for the cleaning staff to enjoy.  Overall cooking in garden class is one of my favorite activities.

Ingredient Pathway

By Emma Farrish

In the garden this year we did a project “The Ingredient Pathways” and in my opinion it was not really fun. The point of it was to learn about an ingredient that we chose and we had to do research on how it’s processed and consumed. Everyone in the class learned a lot about their ingredient. After we did the research we had to make a poster and put all the information we learned on it. The poster could have been creative or just one color and no pictures it was our choice and each one was unique. In the end each poster turned out really good!

Harvest Festival

On October 5th Buford and City Schoolyard Garden had a harvest festival for all the students. There was food, music, goats, and chickens. But all of this didn’t happen without effort. For the month leading up to the harvest festival, us Garden Aides were planting beds, harvesting crops, and preparing the garden for the festival. We had to mulch the garden so that people would know not to step on the beds, but they did anyway. Not to mention that all of the work had to be done in between rain storms every week. When the day finally came, we were all so excited to see our hard work paid off in a fun night for everyone!


In mid-February, Farmer Rich, a farmer from the Urban Agricultural Charlottesville Collective, visited the Buford garden to help with seeding and up-potting. He stayed the afternoon, and brought in a couple of cool tools from the UACC to help out around the garden, like the scuffle hoe. Later in the spring the garden classes visited a UACC farm to help with planting some of the spring plants. We were there for the whole afternoon, and we managed to plant three and a half rows of vegetables (close to five hundred plants) for the community. We mainly planted mustard greens and kale. It was such a fun and productive project for both the UACC and the Buford gardens.

Spring Seedling Project

By Jin Pickering

The spring seedling sale was really fun, we got to meet people from the community who like to grow plants and vegetables. In order to get ready, we had to select some plants from a catalog that would grow well in warm weather. Another step was to start planting the seeds and maintain them making sure they wouldn’t wilt from the heat. During that time we kept the plants inside of our tiny classroom. The plants that were growing inside the classroom took a few months to grow. When the seeds were ready to bring outside we would get some row covers set up then we would bring the seedlings outside so they would get used to the heat and cold. When they were big enough to move they would be transferred to bigger containers with new soil so then the plants wouldn’t get rootbound. When the time came for the spring seedling sale we transported all of the plants to the front of the school and hung up signs to let people see that we were selling plants. The Buford students got free seedlings for helping out growing the plants.







(photo credit: Daily Progess )