75 gardeners began planting Greer Community Garden today at the site of the former Woodland Elementary School. One 10-by-16 foot plot will feed one family vegetables for the summer.
Bobby Reynolds spent the day clearing his plot of debris that remained after the plowing and tilling of the plots.
Overnight rain didn’t hamper the 75 gardeners who came to cultivate their plots for their personal use or community agencies. The 54 garden plots, 10-by-16 feet each, doubled since the project was announced earlier this year.
“This is exciting and I can’t wait to see what we grow,” said Susan Gowens, a respiratory nurse at Greer Memorial Hospital. John Mansure, the hospital’s president, came up with the idea to make use of its vacant land. Greer Memorial planted a flower garden outside its cafeteria last year and added a small plot for vegetables.
Nurses, employees of the hospital, families and people from churches are participating. Some are novices while a group of four nurses are working together with their one plot packaged into a 10-by-64 foot area.
Gowens is a member of the health team at Shady Oak Baptist Church. She and Cheryl McNeil, a master gardener, are partnering on their plot to promote healthy eating. “If we try to eat the right foods we can lower high cholesterol and blood pressure and fight obesity,” Gowens said. “Think how good it would be if we could reduce the number of medicines we take just by eating right.”
Excess vegetables will be donated to Greer Community Ministries, the Soup Kitchen or Greer Relief. One plot would provide one family a summer’s supply of vegetables.
Buddy Waters, former CEO of Cunningham-Waters Construction Co., prepared the land. It took five days to plow, three weeks for the soil to set and then it was tilled and powdered, Waters said. Cheryl Moore of Greer Memorial organized the project.
“If we don’t get a cold snap, down to 20 degrees at night, this is the perfect time to plant the garden,” Waters, a master gardener, said. “If people don’t get their seeds in by April 15, nothing is going to grow.”
A majority of the gardeners hoed and removed rocks and debris from the soil today. “With a year behind us, and the stakes and wire removed, this soil will be perfect next year,” Waters said.
Katherine and Margaret Hazelton, sisters, who have relocated to the area from Alaska and Michigan, respectively, are growing a garden together. “We miss gardening. We will grow the vegetables for ourselves and give away the extra.” They planted red potatoes today.
Vegetables planted will include tomatoes, squash, carrots, cucumbers, lettuce, cabbage, potatoes and English peas. “It’s not big enough to plant corn,” Waters said. The garden is 100 percent organic. Marigolds and chrysanthemums will act as a natural pest and bug repellent in the gardens.
Waters, a master gardener, held two classes to review the kinds of seeds that were best for the region’s soil, suggested the tools needed and dos and don’ts of gardening like watering, insect/pest control and fertilization.
Gardeners will manage their own plots. Waters said he will be on site Fridays and Saturdays from 9-11 a.m.