By Norah Davis
Special To The Times 

Garden Truly A Community Undertaking – Brevard NC


Martha Mayberry, Bill Chandler, and Jayne Field spread rye straw to cover two of the planting beds. Local farmer Jimmy Whitmire donated the straw. (Courtesy photo by Norah Davis)

In myriad ways, Brevard is stepping up to help the Rice Street Community Garden, a garden that gives to the needy.

The volunteer-operated garden’s first season in 2012 produced almost 700 pounds of organically grown produce, all donated to Bread of Life and Sharing House.

At current prices, that’s about $3,000 worth of fresh organic produce.

Planted on a sloping hillside owned by St. Philip’s Episcopal Church, the garden is behind the Comporium parking lot on East Main Street.

The community has been donating generously to the Rice Street Community Garden. After donations from Kathleen Harris and Steve and Dottie Marcinko underwrote installation of a water tap by the city, Dru Bridges of 4-Rent donated the use of a trenching machine for connecting the tap to two water faucets.

Johnny Martinez, Ernie Speckman, Doug Parker, and Doug’s son Justin, who was visiting from Las Vegas, swung pickaxes for five hours to clean rocks out 150 feet of trenches. They then volunteered another five hours installing two yard faucets, one for the upper planting beds and one for the lower beds.

During the 2012 growing season, a rotation of two-person teams had dragged water-heavy hoses 300 feet from the church’s outdoor spigot. This summer, watering will be a snap.

And the donations keep coming. Josh Leder, developer of Brevard Lumber Company, donated enough 2 by 6 lumber to build sides around two of the raised planting beds.

The raised boxes were built by Wayne Hasting, a local handyman.

Jimmy Whitmire, a local farmer, donated enough bales of rye straw to cover the garden’s eight planting beds.

Volunteers spread the straw after aerating the soil with pitchforks and covering it with 2 inches of mushroom compost.

A new worker this year is Rachel Meriwether, who volunteered after reading about the Rice Street Community Garden in The Transylvania Times. She and her husband recently moved into the area, shortly after she finished her master’s degree in horticulture.

Most of the garden’s volunteers are novices or amateur gardeners, so they are delighted to have Meriwether’s expertise.

On this spring’s first workdays, the volunteers transplanted spinach and mustard greens that had made it through the winter. In addition, they sowed carrot and radish seeds.

Parishioners from the church, along with neighbors on Rice Street and volunteers from anywhere in Brevard or Transylvania County, are asked to join in one or both of the next two workdays: Saturday, April 13, from 10 to 11 a.m., and Sunday, April 14, from 1 to 2 p.m.

On those days, the gardeners will finish planting cool-weather crops and will wheelbarrow wood chips to the garden’s paths.

Meanwhile, the help keeps pouring in. Arlene and David Bowen of Brevard donated 20 long metal stakes that will support tomatoes and other plants.

The need for fresh organic produce for Brevard’s needy families continues to grow.

The Rice Street Community Garden is hoping to grow enough in its second year to help meet that need.

For more information on how to help, or to underwrite the cost of blueberry bushes, fruit trees, more raised boxes, or memorial benches or picnic tables, call Norah Davis at 877-4070.

Editor’s Note: Davis is a member of the Rice Street Community Garden’s steering committee.

Johnny Martinez guides a rental machine for digging trenches to connect the city’s water tap to two yard faucets. Dru Bridges of 4-Rent donated the rental. (Courtesy photo by Norah Davis)


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