Giving Garden at Canton Library

Guest Post
Mannie Dalton Crone, Canton Branch Library Manager

The Giving Garden
The Giving Garden

Do you know about the Giving Garden? Located behind the public library in Canton, it’s a raised-bed vegetable garden used to teach various aspects of gardening.

Started in the spring of 2014, the garden is an education-oriented joint initiative of the Haywood County Public Library, Haywood County Cooperative Extension Center, and the Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Program. This past year, the garden received financial support from the Haywood County Friends of the Library and the Haywood County Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Association. The garden is maintained by the work of volunteers, and all produce is donated to the local food pantry, The Community Kitchen in Canton.

The first year of the Giving Garden was quite successful! Nine educational classes taught by Master Gardeners and Extension Agents on various gardening topics were offered to the public over the spring and summer of 2014, with strong community response. People of all ages attended the programs, and at the height of the Giving Garden’s harvest, produce was donated to The Community Kitchen 2-3 times per week.

Plans for next year include:

  1. Building new raised beds
  2. Providing more gardening classes taught by Master Gardeners
  3. Establishing a Monarch Butterfly Waystation

The Monarch Waystation would be used to educate the public on the need to create habitats for Monarchs due to their decreasing population, and to demonstrate that anyone with at least 100 square feet of garden space can create a Monarch-loving habitat.

In order for next year to be successful, we could use your help!

There are several ways that folks interested in this exciting new community project can help:

  • Join the Giving Garden Planning Committee. We currently have four members on the Giving Garden Planning Committee, but we’re seeking additional members. The committee helps to plan the gardening classes, determines what will be added/changed to the garden, brainstorms ways to recruit volunteers and manage the garden, and more.
  • Lead a gardening class. We need Master Gardeners who are willing to share their expertise with others on any gardening topic they are passionate about. Classes typically last from an hour to an hour and a half, and are held in the auditorium at the Canton Library. Audience size varies, running from 15-30 people. There are a lot of folks in our community interested in gardening who could benefit from your gardening knowledge!
  • Join the volunteer garden crew. We need help watering, weeding (minimal, since it’s raised-bed garden), and harvesting the garden during the spring and summer months.

If you’re interested in any of these volunteer opportunities, please contact Canton Library Manager, Mannie Dalton Crone at (828) 648-2924 or .

We hope you join us in this rewarding endeavor!

Mannie Dalton Crone
Manager – Canton Branch Library
Haywood County Public Library
Phone: (828) 648-2924
Fax: (828) 648-0377

What About Earthworms?

Guest Post
Mary Ann Smith

Of course, we know that earthworms are very beneficial.  They aerate the soil.  They make channels in the soil which improve absorption of water and drainage.


Did you know that earthworms have a much greater impact on the soil?

The waste left behind by worms, called worm castings, have many beneficial effects on the soil and the plants that grow in the soil.

Here are a few:

  • It supplies organic matter to the soil.
  • It helps the soil retain moisture.
  • It reduces the density of soil.
  • It helps the soil to retain nutrients longer.
  • It aids the growth of microbes in the soil.
  • It supplies beneficial microorganisms to the soil and plants.
  • It allows the plants to utilize nutrients more effectively.

Because of these properties, worm castings make a good soil amendment in flower and vegetable gardens.

Amazing lemon cucumber plant grown with vermicompost.
Amazing lemon cucumber plant grown with vermicompost.

Here are ways that worm castings may be used:

  • As an additive when planting in the garden – Put ½ to 1 cup worm castings in the hole as the plant is set out.
  • As an additive when planting potted plants – Make a mix of 10-20% castings with potting soil to use with potted plants.
  • As a medium for germinating seeds – Make a mix of 5-10% castings with seed starting mix or line your furrow with castings as you plant in the garden.
  • As a side dressing for annuals and perennials – Mix castings into the soil around your plants at the drip line of the plant and cover with mulch.
  • As a tea for plants – Mix castings in a 5-10% ratio with water, steep overnight, and then either water or spray on plants.  You may leave the castings loose or put in a tea bag.

Since there has been a good deal of community interest in this topic of vermiculture, Mary Ann will be partnering with the Haywood County Library to present a free workshop on “How to Build a Home Compost Bin with Worms.” 

Worms galore!
Worms galore!

The workshop will take place the end of October or November, and anyone interested is cordially invited to attend.  If you would like to be notified when the date is confirmed, please email Mary Ann and she will be glad to contact you and answer any questions.

For more information and to buy worm castings, contact:

Mary Ann Smith /  (828)456-4515 /