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Haywood County Public Library’s Giving Garden

Sow True Seed donated seed boxes to over 80 community orientated organizations this year. Here’s a little spotlight on one of those great gardens, doing fantastic work in their community.

Growing Together as a Community, for the Community

by Mannie Dalton Crone

The Giving Garden after the first planting day in April.The Giving Garden is a raised-bed vegetable garden located behind Haywood County Public Library’s (HCPL) Canton branch that is used to teach various aspects of gardening. A joint initiative of the Haywood County Public Library, Haywood County Cooperative Extension Center, and the Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Program, the garden is supported by the Haywood County Friends of the Library and by a grant from the Haywood County Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Association. Seeds for the garden were generously donated by Sow True Seed in Asheville. The garden is maintained by the work of volunteers, and all produce is donated to the local food pantry, The Community Kitchen in Canton.

Volunteers in the Giving Garden.

The Canton Branch Library has a wonderful, flat parcel of land located directly behind the library that receives full sun. Given the local food movement and trend towards community gardens, as well as knowing that gardening programs are quite popular among HCPL’s patrons, the idea for a garden at the Canton branch blossomed late last year. The library contacted the county’s Master Gardener Program Coordinator, who agreed to take on the project as a demonstration garden for the Master Gardeners. A schedule of gardening programs was created on such topics as seed starting, square-foot gardening, vertical gardening, composting, and more. The programs are led by Master Gardeners and Extension Agents, and are presented both in the library’s meeting room and at the garden site.

The Giving Garden currently has about a dozen volunteers who help with planting and watering. The volunteers include folks of all ages, from toddlers with their grandparents, to members of a Girl Scout troop, to frequent library patrons.

Attendees at the Square-Foot Gardening Class taught by Master Gardener Hughes RobertsThere’s information in the Giving Garden and its programs on the library’s website (, and frequent posts are made to the library’s Facebook page that include pictures of the garden.

The Giving Garden has increased HCPL’s community partners, brought people to the Canton branch who had never been before, provided opportunities for people of all ages to come together to both learn and work on a project for the greater good of the community.

New volunteers are always welcome! If you’re interested in volunteering, contact Mannie Dalton Crone at for more information.

Upcoming Giving Garden Programs:

(All events are at the Canton Branch Library unless otherwise noted.)

Tuesday, July 15, 5:30 p.m.

Master Gardener Coordinator Tim Mathews will present a program on IPM (Integrative Pest Management.) Find out how to keep pests at bay while remaining environmentally sensitive.

Thursday, July 24, 1:45 p.m. (cooking) & 2:30 p.m. (gardening)

Buy Haywood and MountainWise will show parents and children how they can use local products to create tasty snacks in a “Cooking Local Together” program. Afterwards, join Master Gardeners to discover how fun gardening can be for the whole family!

Wednesday, Aug. 13, 10 a.m. – At The Community Kitchen

Food Preservation Class with Extension Agent Julie Sawyer. Learn how to can and preserve your harvest.

Thursday, Aug. 21, 5:30 p.m.

Composting Class with a Master Gardener. Learn how to use kitchen scraps, leaves, and lawn waste to create compost that will enrich your garden’s soil.

Thursday, Aug. 28, 5:30 p.m. – At the Waynesville Library

Making Pesto from the Garden. Pesto is easy to make, and tastes delicious. Watch a pesto-making demonstration, and then sample the results! Class size is limited to 15. Call (828) 452-5169 to sign up.

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