Let your community garden grow

The orchard among us: Get some tips on creating a home orchard at Reems Creek Nursery’s April 16 workshop. photo courtesy of Reems Creek Nursery

Reems Creek Nursery offers a variety of workshops and presentations throughout the growing season, and next up is the Home Orchards seminar. The Saturday, April 16, session is all about creating your own edible landscape. It will focus on home-orchard basics, such as choosing your fruit trees, siting and planting your trees, and a bit on care and maintenance — all with an organic and permaculture twist. Teacher Andrew Goodheart Brown has taught permaculture around the world and brings his wealth of knowledge to this class. His own yard is a paradise of fruits and edibles. The seminar is free and starts at 10 a.m. at Reems Creek Nursery & Landscaping (70 Monticello Road, Weaverville).
For more info, visit www.reemscreek.com. Pre-register by calling 645-3937 as space is limited.

How does your garden grant grow?

The YMCA of Western North Carolina recently received a $2,000 grant from the Home Depot Foundation for developing a community garden at the Beaverdam Youth Services Center. The garden will be an outdoor learning environment that fosters the Y’s mission and three focus areas: youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.

“The garden is intended to be a safe and fun place where families and individuals within our community can build healthy relationships and connect with nature. It will promote intergenerational teamwork, sustainable agriculture, healthy lifestyles and youth development,” says Abby Smith, youth development coordinator.

Community gardening is a healthy, inexpensive activity for youth that allows them to interact with each other in a socially meaningful and physically productive way. The Y’s garden will serve as a learning opportunity for the after-school, summer and Youth Fit For Life programs that are held at the Beaverdam Y. “Nurturing our community, offering knowledge in growing your own food and connecting deeper to one another is what’s important,” says Christine Maiello, Lead Healthy Living Coach, Woodfin YMCA.

The Y also plans to donate much of the food from this garden to people who might otherwise not have access to healthy and fresh food. This promotes social justice and community engagement by feeding those in need. Additionally, food will be given to volunteers who put any amount of work into the garden, say YMCA representatives. Volunteer work and donations of supplies are appreciated.
To learn how you can help, please contact Abby Smith at 775-5323.

Growing in the Mountains

Plant nurseries from upstate South Carolina and Western North Carolina will be at the WNC Farmer’s Market Friday-Sunday, April 22-23. This is a rare opportunity to purchase trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals and herbs directly from local growers. More than 21 vendors will be available to share expert horticultural knowledge and discuss growers’ concerns and needs. Participating nurseries include Charles Street Garden of Saluda, propagator of over 50 iris cultivars, including Japanese iris; Nichols Nursery, which specializes in Japanese maples and offers 125 different cultivars; Berry Farms, herbs and design techniques for edible landscaping: and Mountain Meadows Nursery, which grows rare dwarf conifers.

The event is sponsored by the Blue Ridge Horticultural Association. It’s educational and fun — this year an Easter egg hunt is planned. Each egg will contain a special prize for the lucky plant shopper. Bring your wagon,organizers say. Friday and Saturday, the Growing in the Mountains show runs from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, the hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
For more information, contact Evelyn Nichols at 551-6738 or visit http://www.blueridgehorticulture.org/growin.html.

The CRAFT of agriculture

Here’s a bit of interesting farm-related news from the Organic Growers School website: The Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training brings established farmers, farm apprentices, and students of agriculture together for a comprehensive training program in sustainable agriculture. The goal: Give established, successful farmers a stake in the training of our next generation of growers and give farm apprentices a rich educational experience that truly encompasses the ins and outs of farm operation.

This year, OGS has partnered with key organizations in the region to build the CRAFT program into a richer, more beneficial experience for both established and beginning farmers. OGS’ work with the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project and Mountain BizWorks will make farmer-centered business planning training, marketing consulting and access to capital available to the growers involved with CRAFT. In addition to more structured production training, these financial literacy and business management components will allow members to better analyze their farm-business ideas. From starting a farm to adding a new enterprise, CRAFT can serve farmers of any experience level.
For more information, visit http://www.organicgrowersschool.org/content/1874.

— Send your farm-and-garden news to mvwilliams@mountainx.com or call 251-1333, ext. 152.


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