Garden Basics: Planning a Workday

Garden Workdays can serve to not only expedite the tasks at hand but to also engage the broader school community around the schoolyard garden. 

If your school has an existing school garden classroom,

A workday is a great opportunity to reinvigorate your existing space and/or install your selected garden enhancements to kick off the Project Learning Garden program with the school community.

If your school will be building a school garden classroom,

A workday helps to make light work of assembling your five raised garden beds and filling them with soil while introducing the school community to the first elements of the Project Learning Garden program. 

One Month in Advance

  • Make a Work Plan 
    • Confirm task list, including location of new projects. Consider including fun creative tasks that will make it a memorable experience for volunteers (garden sign painting, starting seeds for volunteers to take home, etc).
    • Create a list of necessary tools and supplies. Order supplies or request donations, plan for pick-up or delivery.
  • Pick a Date
    • Select a workday date and complete of “Use of Facilities” form, if necessary.
    • Announce workday date to recruit volunteers. We recommend extending the invitation beyond school staff, parents, and students to community partners (non-profit and corporate) and local experts, as well.
    • Include information on what to bring: a refillable water bottle and any specific supplies or tools that will be needed (labeled with their name).

One Week in Advance

  • Confirm Work Plans 
    • Measure and mark the location of new projects (with flags or tape). Coordinate with the facilities team for any mowing or weed whacking around the space as necessary. 
    • Gather necessary tools and supplies. 
    • Take “before” photos of the space. 
  • Communicate Date Reminders
    • Coordinate with school administration to ensure access to the space and nearby restrooms.
    • Share workday date on school announcements, on the school marquee, on bulletin boards, through email newsletters, on social media, etc. 

Day Of 

  • Build Community
    • Hang a welcome banner, play music, bring snacks.
    • Create a sign-in sheet to capture volunteer names and email addresses. 
    • Provide name tags for each volunteer. 
    • Encourage photos and provide a hashtag for social media. 
  • Complete Work Plan 
    • Assign lead volunteers to facilitate different tasks. 
    • Encourage safety with proper tool use, staying hydrated, etc.  

One Week After

  • Share a “Thank You!” to volunteers and share progress with broader school community with before / after photos on bulletin boards, through email, on social media, etc. 

For more information, see these great resources: