Even by today’s age of instant gratification standards, participants in the Fort Mill Community Garden didn’t have to wait long to see their work paying off.
About two weeks after the initial planting, the garden is sprouting corn, peas, lima beans and more. Tomatoes, zucchini and even strawberries will soon be included and there’s plenty of room for whatever else gardeners want to plant. Right now, though, corn is king, organizer Lisa Daubenspeck said.
“We have a ton of corn planted,” she said. “It’s something that’s not high maintenance.”
Sometime in June, at least one row of pumpkins will be planted.
About 25 people are part of the mini-collective. The property, on Gold Hill Road just north of Lake Wylie Lutheran Church near the corner of Hwy. 160 West, is owned by nearby Tega Cay Baptist Church, whose members started the garden. It’s open to anyone who wants to participate.
Daubenspeck said they are working with a local ministry formed to help homeless residents and so far at least one homeless man wants to join in.
“The only problem is he doesn’t have a car, so they’re trying to work something out so he has transportation,” she said. “It’s that kind of relationship building with the community that we’re trying to accomplish here.”
Garden members – a mix of experienced gardeners and newbies – have a choice of planting and tending a 4-foot by 8-foot raised bed, or an 8- by 25-foot plowed section of ground.
More individuals are showing interest, but if all the spots are not claimed, some initial gardeners could get additional space if they want it, Daubenspeck said. “I have a handful of people I’m waiting to hear from, so we’ll see.”
During the group’s last work day in April, a borrowed tractor was used to perform most of the hauling. Now, besides weeding and watering and such, the only labor that has to be done is lugging dirt to fill boxes as needed. Daubenspeck said there are about half a dozen more raised boxes left to fill.
So far, the spirit the garden’s organizers hoped to nurture is thriving.
“There’s been a lot of sharing back and forth all ready,” Daubenspeck said. “People are watering for each other and things like that. We hope people will have good harvests because that will make people excited, I think.”
One possible new member is Dottie Whayland, who moved to Fort Mill from Maryland five years ago and never had her own garden.
“I’ve been interested in getting into gardening and I like the idea of doing it as part of a community activity and that you can share what you have,” Whayland said.
A dedication ceremony for the garden will be held Saturday. Anyone interested in participating in the garden should send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.