Hanover Master Gardeners Gleaning Project

Gleaning is the practice of harvesting excess produce and distributing it to those in need. In short, gleaning directs valuable nutrition to citizens and diverts it from loss in the field. This practice connects food to people through local food pantries.

2021 Hanover Extension summer intern, Sara Hallam, planned and launched the Hanover Extension Master Gardener Gleaners as her project. Her interests in food insecurity and local gardening were drivers for her initiative. Thirty Extension Master Gardeners took food safety training to qualify as gleaners.

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Greer School Garden Project

By Christine Atkins, Piedmont Master Gardener

PMG volunteer Christine Putnam, a retired science teacher, talks to 3rd graders about the importance of oak trees while PMG volunteer Fern Campbell gathers acorns for the children.

In 2021, the Piedmont Master Gardeners (PMG) began a partnership with Albemarle County Public Schools to provide gardening instruction and support at three elementary schools, beginning with Mary Carr Greer Elementary School. Greer serves the most diverse student population of any Albemarle County school, and some 75 percent of its students live in households below the poverty line.

Since last September, PMG volunteers have collaborated with Greer teachers to provide lessons to all first- and third-grade classes once per month to enhance their love and understanding of gardening and the environment. The lessons are structured to meet approved Virginia Standards of Learning for science, social studies and mathematics and were developed by Piedmont Master Gardeners who are retired teachers. Some examples include:

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Turf to Trees

By Barbara Bailey, Community Engagement Coordinator Master Gardener Coordinator Virginia Cooperative Extension, Loudoun County

Turf to Trees project info box

Last September, Loudoun Extension Master Gardener Cynthia Falconer spearheaded a cost share grant project, Virginia Trees for Clean Water, awarded by the VA Dept. of Forestry, for her Potomac Green HOA common area.

The objective was to convert sections of turf to mulched beds with native trees and ground cover, thereby reducing runoff and nutrients flowing into Russell Branch Creek, which runs through the property, and reducing in-stream sediment. The trees will also shade a 600-foot section of the community trail system and provide an object lesson in the benefits of trees to community members.

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Master gardeners stand around cart and clap

Virginia Beach seed library cart enters fourth season

By Debi Edwards, Virginia Beach Master Gardener

The Virginia Beach Seed Library was created as a joint project of the Meyera E Obendorf (MEO) Central  Library and Virginia Beach Master Gardeners (VBMG) to entice the general public to start planting home gardens.  Since the grand opening in 2018, we have distributed 23,287 seed packets (over 232,000 seeds!) to 719 participants.

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house in colonial williamsburg with trees

Colonial Williamsburg Arboretum Educational Tree Project

Colonial Williamsburg (CW) has within its boundaries a unique collection of trees and woody plants.  The majority of them are native to the Mid-Atlantic region, and those that are not, were introduced into the Virginia Colony prior to 1800.  Although these plants were familiar to Virginia colonists, many of today’s visitors do not recognize them because they are not readily available in commercial nurseries. 

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boxes of produce sit on a stone path with yellow flowers in a garden behind them

Fred Heutte Demonstration Garden COVID Response

By: Paul Ziegler, Norfolk Extension Master Gardener

For over 10 years, Norfolk Master Gardeners have operated a Demonstration Garden at the Fred Heutte Center in Norfolk’s Ghent neighborhood. The garden, consisting of 40 4ft X 4ft raised beds, utilizes Square Foot Gardening techniques to demonstrate how to maximize food growing potential in an urban environment.  The entire garden is maintained by a cadre of extremely dedicated Norfolk Master Gardeners and a few neighborhood volunteers. All produce is donated to the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia.  It has served as a hands-on educational opportunity for not only our Interns, but for our “seasoned perennials” as well.  It has been a central focal point to helpgroups and individuals interested in growing their own produce.

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close up branches affected by boxwood blight show leaf yellowing

In Chesterfield, plant disease diagnosis goes virtual amid coronavirus

By: John McBride

In Chesterfield, plant disease diagnosis goes virtual amid coronavirus

Last summer, a local first-time vegetable gardener called the Chesterfield County Master Gardener Help Desk with a big problem: all his tomato plants seemed to be dying. Peg Tipple, Chesterfield County Master Gardener volunteer, jumped into action. After dissecting plant samples brought to the lab, she identified the problem. The gardener had planted his tomatoes in containers that were too small.

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obelisk in corhaven graveyard

NSV Master Gardeners Work to Restore Corhaven Graveyard

By: Gabrielle Sanderson

Sarah Kohrs, a Northern Shenandoah Extension Master Gardener, attended a workshop for the Corhaven Slave Cemetery called “Honoring the Forgotten” and immediately jumped on the opportunity to apply for the Corhaven Graveyard to become a project through the  Extension Northern Shenandoah Valley Master Gardeners. The mission of the Extension Master Gardener Program is to share knowledge and empower communities, and through the Corhaven Graveyard project, Northern Shenandoah Master Gardeners illustrate the power of this mission.

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