Students at Brevard Academy recently took advantage of favorably warm temperatures and sowed the first of many seeds in their newly expanded vegetable garden.
The students look forward to harvesting cool season crops including carrots, radishes, kales, lettuces, peas, calendula, collards, pak choi, dill, spinach and cilantro.
The vegetable garden expansion was made possible through a grant from the Rotary Club of Pisgah Forest and a partnership between Blue Zones Brevard, Brevard Academy and Mountain Roots, a local nonprofit that runs the outdoor education program at Brevard Academy.
Every Brevard Academy K-8 student participates in outdoor education once per week and the expanded learning garden now offers a unique and engaging experiential learning opportunity.
The garden expansion site was prepared by removing five mature Bradford pear trees, an invasive species that has been repeatedly called an “ecological nightmare” for its ability to cross pollinate and rapidly spread.
Parent volunteers constructed nine 4-by-8-foot raised beds and one 2-by-8 foot handicap accessible bed.
Students then spread mulch, planted grass, placed the beds, installed arbors and filled the beds with wood chips, soil and compost.
Installation efforts were overseen by Brevard Academy’s garden manager, Leah Webb, a local gardening expert whose gardening book “The Seven Step Homestead” is being released on April 4.
The garden installation could not have been possible without the help of local businesses who donated their time, expertise and products.
Bryon and Tiffany Litsey of Earthops, LLC, provided heavy machines to remove tree stumps and install drainage.
James and Jessi Fowler of Hellbender Tree Care offered arborist services for complete tree removal and chipping.
Hayley Leland and Brian Spotts of Blantyre Station donated plant starts, discounted soil amendments and have offered continued support as the garden grows. Cason’s Building Supply provided discounted bulk mushroom compost, Bartlett Tree Care donated additional wood chips and Sow True Seeds donated seeds.
The garden expansion at Brevard Academy is the perfect example of what’s possible when community members come together in support of our youth.