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For The Lancaster News
Ah, to be in a garden in the cool of the day, with the fresh smell of the earth and plants filling the air. On Beaverland Farm on Hoke Road in Lancaster County, Robert and Lisa Bowers enjoy a bounty of the fruit of the earth – and all of the sights and smells that go with it – in a half acre garden on their property.
The garden began coming to life in February, Lisa Bowers said.
“We put the seeds in cups in the greenhouse then,” she said. “And the first plants went in the ground around March 20.”
There are plenty of plants. Several varieties of squash and tomatoes can be found in the garden, along with cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, okra, peanuts, pole beans, cabbage and cucumbers. There are some volunteer pumpkins growing from seeds given to the Bowerses last year from a friend who died not long afterward. Scattered Indian corn stalk plants stand tall and green among the garden.
“Nearly everything out here came from seeds we saved from last year’s garden,” Robert Bowers said. “We dried the seeds and froze them, for replanting this year.”
The lack of rain hasn’t bothered the garden at all because there is a well on the property used solely for irrigation. Robert Bowers uses compost and hasn’t used any fertilizer yet. He uses an organic insecticide – cayenne pepper spray – as well.
“This garden is as close to organic as you can get,” Lisa Bowers said.
The couple has a second garden, a two-acre patch in Richburg. Robert, who works Thursday through Sunday, said Monday through Wednesday is spent between the two.
“I usually put in three or four hours each day on this one,” he said. “Then I go to Richburg and spend the rest of the day in that one. It keeps me busy.”
Robert Steele, who represents District 4 of Lancaster County Farmer’s Market Commission, said he was driving by the property and was struck by the waist-high plants he could see from the road.
“It was just the most outstanding garden I’ve ever seen anywhere,” Steele said. “I just had to stop and take a look at it. It’s just beautiful.”
Robert Bowers said he takes a good majority of his harvest to the Lancaster County Farmers Market to be sold. The Bowerses also works with a co-op of 64 families in Fort Mill, who buy vegetables from him in bulk. He also supplies fresh vegetables to several restaurants in Charlotte. The rest is frozen at the farm for later use.
Lisa Bowers said her husband recently invested in a small utility trailer and installed an air conditioner in it to keep the vegetables fresh.
“We lost a lot of it last year because of the heat,” she said. “So this helps tremendously. Right now we’re pulling a bushel and a half of squash out of the garden and it’s wonderful to have this place to keep it.”
For more information on vegetables from Beaverland Farms, call the Bowerses at (803) 416-2689.