Thursday, February 11, 2016

Hello fans of The Cullowhee Community Garden! It has been way too long since our last blog post, almost two years, so what better use of a cold day in February than to update this blog!
We have a lot to share since our last post, and the thing that I am most excited about from last year is that we hosted 440 volunteers during our twice-a-week workdays! It is our members, and our volunteers that make this project possible. To all of you, I say Thank You
Another exciting development last year was the installation of NCDOT road signs that direct visitors and volunteers to the garden. I think that they look beautiful.
Other highlights from last season include the Cullowhee Volunteer Fire Department delivering water for our tanks when our pump system stopped working. They took time out from their schedule to bring water to us, twice. Thank you!

In 2015, we had the honor of working with Brave Sir Media in producing a promotional video for The Cullowhee Community Garden that involved some very cool and beautiful aerial drone photography. The video can be viewed on our Facebook page at or online at

At the height of our 2015 season, we had 36 garden plots adopted, both full and half sized. General attrition and life circumstances has reduced that number as we begin the 2016 season. We have plenty of room for anyone who would like to adopt a plot. Our plot adoption process for 2016 will begin very soon, so stay tuned for further information.

2016 will also feature the return of our monthly educational workshops. Our first offering will be a Fruit Tree Pruning Workshop on Saturday February 20th at 1 pm. Attendees will learn proper pruning and training techniques to maintain tree health, promote good shape and to increase fruit production for a variety of different fruit trees. This will be a “hands-on” workshop with the opportunity to put into practice what you have learned.

We will continue to offer educational programs every month, featuring topics such as Gardening 101; Soils and Composting; Pests, Weeds and Disease; Seed Saving; Fall/Winter Gardening; and others. If you have any suggestions for an educational topic, please let us know.

We will also continue our twice-a-week volunteer workdays every Saturday morning from 9 am until noon, and every Wednesday currently running from 3 pm until dusk. Start times for the Wednesday Workdays will be adjusted seasonally as the days get longer. And, of course, all workdays are weather dependent. If you have a group that would like to get involved at another time, please let us know.

For further information about how you can get involved in The Cullowhee Community Garden, please do not hesitate to contact the Garden Manager at or you can link with us on Facebook. Or, stop by the garden during one of our regular workdays, we would love to meet you.

Happy Gardening Everyone, and Kale Yeah!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Hello Gardeners and Supporters of The Cullowhee Community Garden! Happy planting to you all! We are excited to announce our new series of Monthly Educational Workshops in The Cullowhee Community Garden! 
We have decided to offer a seasonally relevant beginning gardener series, starting on April 19th starting at 1:00 pm, during our regular Saturday workday.

Our first offering will be Beginning Gardening 101,waking up the garden! We will cover topics such as: Soil, the foundation of all gardening; Starting Seeds, direct seeding vs transplanting; Annual and Perennial Weed Maintenance—the good, the bad, and the delicious; fertilizing; mulches; and much more. Please bring any questions you may have!

In May we cover Compost making and applications, and we dig deeper into the soil (ahem!). June will introduce gardeners to the ideas of Companion Planting and Succession Planting, both through the season and through the years. We will also cover Beneficial Flowers and Plants, including plants that attract beneficial insects, trap crops, and farm-scaping. In July join us to learn about Insects, both Pests and Beneficials. We will also cover Disease Prevention and treatment options. In August join us to learn about starting your Fall/Winter Garden and using Season Extension techniques such as mini-hoops and row covers. September will be time to learn about saving seeds. And we will wrap it up in October by Putting The Garden To Bed, and Maintaining The Winter Garden

We are continuing our twice-weekly Community Workdays in the Cullowhee Community Garden on Saturdays from 10 am until 2 pm, and on Wednesdays now starting at 4:00 pm and going until dusk. These workdays are a great time to get an introduction to the garden, meet other volunteers and gardeners, and to help with tasks outside of individual garden plots.

We look forward to seeing everyone around the garden this spring. The garden is coming to life, and is very beautiful this time of year. None of this would be possible without all of your hard work and support. Thank You All!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Happy Springtime Everyone!

There may still be cold and snow on our horizon, as well as  in the garden this morning, but the plants and the soil know that it is springtime. And so do we here in The Cullowhee Community Garden!  

Wow, we sure have been busy since that last blog post on this site. Apologies for not keeping you all updated more. We have planted many of our fruit trees in the style of a 

Food Forest along the western edge of the garden area. 

We completed and planted our blueberry mounds along our main pathway. 

We have been removing invasive plant species, we cleaned out the beautiful black willow tree (Salix nigra) next to the shed, 

and have landscaped around it 

and throughout the garden with native shrubs and wildflowers that were donated to us by the plant vendors from the 2013 Cullowhee Native Plants Conference.

We have formed our planning committee, and held the first meeting of the year. The committee is using the consensus-based decision making process. You can read more about that here:

Currently our Community Volunteer Workdays are on Wednesdays from 3 pm until dusk, and every Saturday from 10 am until 2 pm. Common tasks include planting, weeding, spreading mulch, helping us with small infrastructure projects, and much more. Also, look for educational programs that we will begin offering in conjunction with the NC Cooperative Extension Service. We will keep you posted on that.

Please share with us suggestions and ideas for educational topics that you would like to see offered in The Cullowhee Community Garden, or if you would like to present on a topic that you know a lot about. You can also suggest other knowledgeable members of our community who you think could offer a great workshop for us.

We would love to have you come visit with us! The garden is always open, and always beautiful! Please, stop on by anytime! Until then, enjoy these videos of the garden.
Kale Yeah!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Hello and Happy Spring!  The time is almost upon us, and we couldn't be more excited about beginning the first season of the Cullohwee Community Garden!  Our target for the first round of plot adoptions is the end of April, or beginning of May. We hope to be up and running in time for summer planting (our frost-free date is May 15th), and we hope to offer the plots with enough time to prepare your garden for planting.  Lots to do between then and now. If you are interested in helping in some of the work, please email me at for information. As soon as we have a parking area ready, we can start holding volunteer workdays. We will be sure to let you know when that is. We are also planning an administrative workday to go through email lists, work up spreadsheets and other garden templates.  If you have skills and talents in the area of administration, we could really use your help. Please contact me for more information.  We will be going through all of the contacts that we have made in the past year, and inviting everyone to get involved. Everyone has gifts, talents and something to give; and, everyone is hungry for something. I learned this from Susan Sides of The Lord's Acre ( recently, and believe in it wholeheartedly.  The Cullowhee Community Garden can help feed that hunger in many ways, and will help you to share your talents with the community, whatever they may be.  Please feel free to email me if you want more information, or want to volunteer. Please put Cullowhee Community Garden in the subject line, so I know who you are.  You can also request a plot adoption form. It is time, and we couldn't be more excited!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Hello Friends of The Cullowhee Community Garden, and Happy New Year to you all!  2013 is going to be a great year for gardening in Jackson County. I am happy to announce that we have received our funding, and that the money did not fall down any cliffs, or get diverted to be used in funding Hydraulic Fracturing efforts in NC, but it is here and we get to grow The Cullowhee Community Garden!  It has been a long few months waiting for word on our funding, and it is a huge relief to have it finally come through!

We will update you all very soon on the new time-frame for the first round of plot adoptions, and any and all volunteer opportunities including helping to remove rocks and large sticks or roots from the garden area prior to tilling in the Spring.  There will also be opportunities for removing exotic-invasive plants from the property, and helping to build the infrastructure for the garden, including water catchment and pumping, fencing, compost making areas, spreading topsoil, and many, many other tasks necessary for implementing the garden.

We are very excited about The Cullowhee Community Garden, and hope that you are as well.  Hope to see you all, very soon!  The Cullowhee Community Garden...KALE YEAH!!!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Hello Gardeners,

And, a Great Big Thank You for everyone who has sent in donations to help us get this garden going. We have no idea when the grant funds will be released by the State, but we are confident that they will eventually release it. However, we don’t want to wait any longer. So, I am releasing the plot adoption contract, and the garden rules and expectations here on The Cullowhee Community Garden Blog.

Yes! The adoption process is now open and plots will be made available as soon as we are able to acquire some basic tools, equipment and supplies. The full budgetary procurement will follow once the grant funds are in our account.

For an application to join The Cullowhee Community Garden, please email me at and I will send a copy of the application, along with some other documents. You can then send the completed application back to me via email, or you can print it, fill it out and send it to me at: Cullowhee Community Garden C/O Adam Bigelow 284 Keener St Sylva, NC 28779

Again, there is no fee for adopting a plot in our garden. Gardeners will agree to donate approximately half of their produce to The Community Table of Sylva, as well as to other organizations or people in need. Our aim is to provide space, tools, materials and assistance to members of our community while providing fresh, local, organic produce to our neighbors in need and to the organizations that serve them.  Truly, a win-win for everyone.

Gardeners will need to provide their own seeds, plants or starts for their own plots. However, often we in the Sylva Community Garden are blessed by donations of plant starts, seeds, and perennial plants from this great community that we live in. In the future, we will be growing some of our own plant starts, and a saving/collecting seed from our and other’s gardens. Locally adapted seeds, heirlooms passed down through families, and open-pollinated seeds will perform the best in our gardens. As we grow from year to year, we may be able to have our own collection of local seeds with local genetic provenance and adaptations.

While the window is slowly closing on being able to get in a Fall garden, there is still time to grow lettuces, winter greens like kale and collards, plant garlic, and to prepare your beds for overwintering and Spring planting. But, the window is closing, so lets not wait.

Please email me with any questions or concerns, and get your applications in as soon as you can. Thank You again to all that have donated to The Cullowhee Community Garden, and please feel free to send in monetary donations along with your applications. We need all the help that we can get, and appreciate it greatly!


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Hello Gardeners and Supporters of The Cullowhee Community Garden. Well, we hit the ground running, and have completed a whole bunch of the preliminary work to get the garden up and running. All documents and forms have been created, the land has been cleared (twice!), the soil has been turned (and is Beautiful! Loamy Goodness and Rich!), and we have seeded out a cover crop blend consisting of annual grains, clover, winter pea, and others. However, we have hit a bit of a slowdown because the State has yet to release our funds. So, we are unable to make any purchases of necessary materials and equipment. Unless, that is, we rise up as a community, and come together to make this happen. Towards that end, I am going to post here a short-list of tools and equipment that we feel are necessary to getting started. If we can raise funds on our own to get started, we will be able to make the State money go farther, and maybe purchase items that had to be removed from the initial budget requests, like a greenhouse.

All donations made to The Cullowhee Community Garden are tax deductable, and will be greatly appreciated by the community. To reduce our future costs and expenditures, and in keeping with our intent to make the garden as sustainable as possible, all tools and equipment will be of the highest quality and construction. We could save initial money by purchasing poorly constructed tools made in far away lands. But, through my experience with other gardens, they tend to break and are difficult to use, making for an unpleasant experience gardening. On the flip side, well-made tools are a treat to use, and last a long, long time. Therefore you only need to buy the tool once. I have sourced out some really well-made tools, hand forged and of heirloom quality. You can find them at

The Garden Tool Company also has well made tools from other suppliers, all handcrafted and easy to use. This is an example of the type of tools and equipment that we will be using at The Cullowhee Community Garden.

Following, you will find a list of the tools that will get us started in the garden. We are also looking for donations of materials like hardwood mulch; straw mulch; organic fertilizers; fish and algae based fertilizers; wire fencing materials; split rail fencing materials; and any other gardening supplies that can help us get started.

If we come together as a community to raise these required funds and materials, then we may still be able to divide up the plots for adoption in time to get in a fall garden. So, please consider a tax-deductable donation to The Cullowhee Community Garden and help this worthwhile project to grow and thrive. We are hoping to raise approximately $3,000.00

Please make checks out to: The Jackson County Department of Public Health, and put Cullowhee Community Garden in the info line. 

Donation checks may be mailed to: Adam Bigelow 284 Keener St. Sylva, NC 28779

Thank you for considering a donation to help kick off The Cullowhee Community Garden

bales of straw for each garden
Fish/kelp Emulsion fertilizer
to provide plants with nutrients
Organic fertilizer
to provide plants with nutrients
Leaf Rake
to move leaves and grass clippings
Hard Rake
to move soil and gravel
Scuffle Hoe
to remove weeds
to remove weeds
Digging Fork
for tilling soil and digging weeds
Pitch Fork
for moving mulch, turning compost, etc.
to weigh produce for donation
Flat shovel
to move soil and gravel
Round shovel
for digging in soil, compost, etc.
root jack
for removing exotic invasive plant species
hand pruner
for pruning trees
Pruning saws
for pruning trees
for pruning trees
hand trowel
for digging in soil, compost, etc.
hand cultivator
for tilling soil and digging weeds
gloves s, m, l, xl
for use by volunteers and gardeners
manual weedwhacker
to control weeds
to haul materials
Garden Hose
for irrigation
watering cans
for irrigation
garden shears
to remove weeds