In the garden

Be a garden hero: Pick up some pruners and help the Dr. George Washington Carver Edible Park grow on Mondays from 5-7 p.m.
Be a garden hero: Pick up some pruners and help the Dr. George Washington Carver Edible Park grow on Mondays from 5-7 p.m.

Edible park springs to life

The Dr. George Washington Carver Edible Park got its start in 1998 and gained momentum as the concept of urban gardening took off. A few fruit and nut trees and a boardwalk was all it took to start one of Asheville's oldest community gardens. Today, more than 40 trees surround a vegetable garden that overflows with produce each summer. The site is maintained by members of the Buncombe Fruit Nut Club, Warren Wilson College students and volunteers from the surrounding East End neighborhood.

During her five years of tending to the trees, volunteer Lindsay Majer watched the park evolve and witnessed the growth of WNC's gardening movement in the process. "Folks are realizing the benefits of growing their own food," she observes. "I see more and more raised beds and cold frames in neighborhoods around town." Majer hopes to see a victory garden renaissance take over our region and encourages neighbors to provide for themselves while picking up a trowel to build community and trust.

The edible park hosts workdays on Mondays from 5-7 p.m. beside the Stephens Lee Recreation Center, 30 G. W. Carver Ave. Volunteers learn about pruning and grafting trees, as well as crop rotation, companion planting and beneficial insects for the garden. Once the summer's bounty rolls in, volunteers can take home the fruits of their labor. Info: http://avl.mx/rk

Swaying in the wind

There's nothing quite like a field of native grass blowing in the breeze. These billowing waves of green and brown are also perfectly suited to steep and dry conditions. Whether you're looking for native plants to stop erosion or a way to increase the ornamental beauty of your land, the Botanical Gardens at Asheville has the information you need to get started.

Gary Kauffman, abotanist and ecologist for the National Forests in N.C., will lead a class on native grasses at the Botanical Gardens. Kauffman specializes in the development of Southern Appalachian ecotypes for native grasses and forbs and will share his knowledge with home gardeners on Sunday, April 7, from 2-3:30 p.m. $15; $10 BGA members. Registration required. Info: http://www.ashevillebotanicalgardens.org or 252-5190.

Organic gardening 101

Organic Growers School wrapped up a two-day conference for farmers and gardeners last month, but there's no rest for the weary. The school will host a series of beginners' classes on organic gardening this April. Novice gardeners will learn how to start their first garden, save seeds, extend the growing season and establish a healthy compost pile. Casses will be held at Jubilee, 46 Wall St., on Tuesdays, April 9 and 16, from 7-9 p.m. $10 suggested donation. No registration required. Info: http://www.organicgrowersschool.org or 668-2127.

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