Did you know that Swannanoa is home to two community gardens, both of which are sponsored and managed by Friends and Neighbors of Swannanoa (FANS)? The first garden, located on Lanier Lane in the Grovemont community, is a traditional community garden, where folks can rent plots of various sizes and grow fruits and vegetables for their own use. All plots have been rented for this season; gardeners are busy tending their crops and preparing for the bountiful summer harvest that’s soon to come.
The newest community garden, located on Clover Lane off Lake Eden Road, is a “Garden That Gives.” All fruits and vegetables grown in this garden are distributed to local food banks and other organizations that provide fresh food to our neighbors in need, including the Swannanoa Welcome Table, Swannanoa Valley Christian Ministry and Bounty & Soul. Thanks to the efforts of many hard-working volunteers, the Clover Lane garden has expanded significantly this year, with more land under cultivation and a greater diversity of crops planted. There’s even a new children’s garden for our littlest volunteers. This past week, the first of many pounds of produce were donated to the Swannanoa Welcome Table Pantry.
With new scarecrows standing guard to deter the birds, the large blackberry patch should soon be ripe for picking. The beans, Community Garden Scarecrow Keeps Birds Away From Berries peas, lettuce and zucchini are all producing now, and summer crops, including pumpkins and watermelons, are well on their way. The apple trees are loaded with fruit, and should produce a large harvest later in the season. If Mother Nature continues to provide good growing weather, the community garden will be a reliable source of fresh produce for Valley food banks.
The Clover Lane garden received a grant this spring from the Black Mountain – Swannanoa Valley Endowment Fund, an affiliate of the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina. The grant money allowed the garden crew to purchase additional tools and other needed supplies. Several nurseries have donated vegetable starts, and Sow-True Seeds donated seeds and seed potatoes.
Volunteer labor is at the heart of the community garden’s success. A number of individuals and groups volunteer their time, including summer campers from Ridgecrest, and students from Owen High and Warren Wilson College. In addition to the ongoing work of weeding, mulching and harvesting, volunteers have been busy digging trenches for a future irrigation system. To read a recent Black Mountain News article about the community garden, please click here.
The garden welcomes visitors and volunteers. Come on out and pull a few weeds while you enjoy the beautiful setting. For more information about volunteer opportunities, please call Sandy Drake, Garden Manager, at 581-9020.