WILMINGTON — Fruit trees and herbs have been planted in front of the Sugartree Ministries building on Main Street as part of a permaculture project that will offer edible landscaping and beauty.
Wilmington College students and community members volunteered to assist project organizer Cassi DeHart Carter plant peach, apple and cherry trees and the flowering elderberry shrub, as well as help cover the ground with mulch and flattened boxes of cardboard.
The “patio peach” variety of tree gets about four feet tall and has loads of peaches, said DeHart Carter, who is an herbalist, a horticulturalist, a WC graduate who focused her studies on soil health and sustainability, an operator of a small start-up ag business, and manager of the college’s Community Gardens enterprise.
This new edible-and-educational garden bed at the Sugartree Ministries Center will be fertilized with the regenerative fertilizing comfrey plant rather than manure, she said.
And elderberries are believed to support overall immune health. Syrup can be made by mashing up the berries — a syrup which is rather expensive in stores but real easy to make on one’s own, she said.
Those are two examples of the education she’s going to incorporate at some point with various community groups such as Clinton County Youth Council (CCYC) after-school participants, 4-H clubs, children’s groups, and college students.
“There are so many things we can do, all the while beautifying the building which is what we really wanted to do, as well, beautifying,” DeHart Carter said.
Purple asparagus is one of the most beautiful things you can see, she said, while the patio peach tree will show purple, to accompany your greens and yellows.
“It’s actually very beautiful. If you look up permaculture landscaping, it’s gorgeous,” she said.
An added bonus is that food tastes better if raised regeneratively, said DeHart Carter.
Most of the planned four garden areas are going to be fenced in and used for kids’ and teens’ and maybe others’ education, while of course the food grown can also be donated to Sugartree Ministries directly.
Phase 2 of the project will involve the other area in front of the building which is just grass now. The other spaces include the raised beds across the street in front of the brick commercial building; and the fourth area will be the grassy strip along Lincoln Street where the dumpster currently is.
Lee Sandlin, who is director of Sugartree Ministries which is a faith-based street ministry, said, “We are thrilled by all the hard work Cassi and crew have put into this project. Our belief is that it will not only beautify the area but eventually provide a sustainable food source for those in need.
“This collaboration shows that we are truly better when we work together,” Sandlin said.
DeHart Carter looks forward to getting to know the people at Sugartree Ministries Center and from elsewhere in the community, finding out what their needs are, and helping them if they’re interested in being educated how to become more self-sufficient.
Her new business, named Grow Health Permaculture (business email: [email protected]), donated the fruit trees that were recently planted at the bricked-in area.
As an educational piece, she said placing cardboard on the ground in the newly planted bed is for weed control, water conservation, and worm population. That’s because the cardboard suppresses perennial weeds; and along with the mulch it helps keep water in the soil; and the cardboard attracts worms and “their castings are incredibly beneficial to plant health.”
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.