An empty lot in Crosland Park is a little greener and more fruitful with the installation of the first Crosland Park neighborhood garden on Saturday.

Led by Tom Dix of the Aiken Master Gardeners Association, residents and members of the Crosland Park board planted carrots, broccoli, cabbage, peas, collards, spinach, beets, turnips and chives in raised beds on the lot, located on Aldrich Street a half-block from the intersection at York Street. The garden is the third to be created in Aiken neighborhoods, after the Toole Hill and Governor Aiken Park gardens, through the support of City of Aiken Neighborhood Services Supervisor Leasa Segura and Tim Coakley, Aiken Public Services director.

“I’m expecting about six or seven volunteers to help us plant this morning,” Dix said. “I think it’ll take us about an hour to put in once everybody gets going. We have 10 raised beds, 4 feet by 10 feet. The soil here is compacted, so we couldn’t even dig a hole for a soil sample, so we’re doing it in raised beds.”

Each volunteer is to be responsible for the future care and maintenance of one of the garden beds, Dix said. The harvest will go into the residents’ kitchens or to Golden Harvest Food Bank, where Dix said new S.C. Chief Development Officer Mike Gibbons hopes to start a vegetable garden of the food bank’s own.

“I’m a member of the Crosland Park board, and when Leasa Segura gave us the information on the City’s neighborhood garden program, we were pro-gardening – anything to build up the community,” said volunteer gardener Carmen Roa. “If we get a harvest, we plan to fix something with it. I also like the idea that we’re learning to take care of the garden ourselves.”

Suzanne Stone is a general assignment reporter at the Aiken Standard. She is a graduate of the Savannah College of Art & Design and studied communications at Augusta State University. She is a native of Augusta, Ga. Contact Suzanne Stone at, or follow on Twitter at #SuzanneRStone and on Facebook at Suzanne Stone is