Holy Cross Garden Expands Again, Welcomes New Gardeners

Sharing Garden became a Virtual Durham CROP Walk activity

Volunteers build, plant new garden beds at Holy Cross, while maintaining safe distancing.In about three hours on Palm Sunday, a team of five volunteers from Holy Cross Catholic Church built six new wood-framed planting beds for the Holy Cross Sharing Garden. They also prepped and planted two of the garden’s seven sharing beds, built by Deacon Phil Rzewnicki the week prior. Those are dedicated to growing produce for the Catholic Charities Durham Community Food Pantry. There was plenty of room in the garden to maintain safe distancing while working.

The day of service was organized by Anna Rzewnicki, coordinator of the Holy Cross Sharing Garden, as her alternative Durham CROP Hunger Walk (DCHW) project. That was a virtual event this year due to coronavirus-related crowd restrictions. CROP Walk donations are still being accepted by the DCHW via its website here.

The garden now has a nearly 30 raised beds, meeting a goal for the garden this year: to have only raised beds throughout the garden, with landscaping material in the rows between the beds to help control weeds. The landscaping material had been laid on the garden surface the week prior by Anna and a friend who came out to help and get some fresh air and exercise.

Eleven of the garden beds are being used by returning or new gardeners. Among those returning are Lori and Eric Crump, who also helped reconfigure the garden this spring. It was two of their children who got the project started years ago, as a high school project.

An additional 11 raised beds are available for Holy Cross parishoners and others in the community to rent for the 2020 growing season. A donation of $45 per bed is requested, to help cover the cost of garden materials. Additional donations of garden soil are also welcome, for the newly built beds. Contact Anna by email to garden@holycrossdurham.org to reserve a garden bed or for details about donating soil.

Why rent a garden bed? Benefits include:

  • A steady supply of fresh produce deep into the fall months
  • Light exercise in fresh air
  • Fellowship with the other gardeners, and the
  • Opportunity to help others by planting, maintaining and harvesting the sharing beds that yield produce for the Durham Community Food Pantry.

Gardeners can also help to maintain a small blueberry patch that is adjacent to the vegetable garden, as well as the compost pile, which needs to be ‘turned’ every two weeks. The finished compost is then used to refresh the growing beds.

Ready to rent a garden bed or two?

Send an email message to garden@holycrossdurham.org to sign up. Your garden bed donation can be made via the parish’s online giving or by check made out to Holy Cross Catholic Church, with ‘Garden’ in the memo line, and given to Anna.

Upcoming Garden Projects

Non-gardeners who just want a little outdoor exercise are also welcome to help. Following are a few projects in the works.

  • Help Deacon Phil re-align the irrigation lines to serve the new raised beds.
  • Place a layer of sand over the landscaping material along the perimeter of the garden, under the electric fence.
  • Place sand or wood chips over the landscaping material between the planting beds
  • Weed the blueberry patch and replace netting

As the season progresses, volunteers are needed to harvest, rinse, weigh and pack produce for delivery to the Durham Community Food Pantry. Volunteers will be needed at least once a week for the early harvest, more often as the season progresses. The beds also are continually replanted as vegetables are harvested. 

Tags: Virtual Durham CROP Walk, Community Vegetable Garden, Holy Cross Sharing Garden

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