St. Johns Master Gardener Volunteers Help Build School Garden

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The Master Gardener Legacy Fund was created to provide financial support for outstanding Master Gardener Volunteer projects. Counties apply annually to receive grants for new or continuing educational projects.


St. Johns County Master Gardener Vounteers helped Palm Valley Academy staff, family, and students install 12 flower beds. Gardens will be a living classroom and tended to by students next year.

A smiling family working over a raised garden bed

St. Johns County Master Gardener Volunteers, parents, grandparents, students from PVA and Nease and Ponte Vedra High Schools, as well as Principal Jessica Richardson worked side by side to complete 12 garden beds.

PONTE VEDRA, Fla. (July 16, 2019) – A group of 30 volunteers built 12 raised garden beds at Palm Valley Academy Saturday morning. The gardens will serve as living classrooms next year and will be tended to by students, teachers, and volunteers.

The UF/IFAS Extension St. Johns County Master Gardener Volunteer Program, coordinated by Horticulture Extension Agent Terra Freeman, was awarded a $1,500 grant from the Florida Master Gardener Legacy Fund to expand garden enrichment opportunities offered in county schools.

"Whether they are learning about soil science, growing vegetables, or providing plants for pollinators, this community effort is sure to be appreciated by students for years to come," said Freeman.

The process involved constructing 12 raised beds out of pre-cut lumber, followed by laying down thick layers of newspaper to naturally kill grass and weeds. In each bed, the newspaper was topped with a yard of compost and a bale of peat moss to provide a rich soil blend for growing vegetables or flowers. Each bed was topped with a layer of landscape fabric to keep the weeds at bay until the beds are planted.

"This was a great team effort, proving that many hands make for light work," said PVA Principal Jessica Richardson. "In just over two hours, volunteers worked together to create 12 raised garden beds that will provide countless learning opportunities for all of our students. It was a wonderful way to spend a Saturday morning."

A large group of people comprised of children and adults stand or kneel behind raised garden beds

A group of 30 volunteers built 12 raised garden beds Saturday morning using wood, drills, shovels, and wheelbarrows.