Growing veggies, friendships at the same time

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WALKERTOWN, N.C. -- At 9 years old, Lucas doesn't just love to eat his veggies, he loves growing them.

"They just taste better than other vegetables," said the fourth grade gardening whiz. "Make sure you water them twice a week and use coffee beans around your plants to keep ants away."

Lucas and his mom Annette tend to one of the 12 family garden beds outside the Walkertown Library in Forsyth County. The community garden is the only library garden in the state.

"The vegetables, grown this way, organically, are so much better," said Annette Zoellinger. "It's just a successful feeling when you actually take them home and create a dish with them. It's just my weekly success story and it's just really fun to do."

The community garden was started a few years ago when some residents wanted a way to grow local, healthy, more affordable food. A few people suggested turning the empty space outside the library into a garden, so the librarian and other people just worked together to make it happen.

"When the rain comes, my veggies just jump," said gardener Greg Wilks. "In these two plots, we grow about 400 pounds of food. Enough to feed my family, neighbors, church friends."

So, what's their secret, these families with seriously green thumbs when it comes to growing veggies galore?

They say spacing is key, that you have to know how far apart to plant the vegetables. Also, they say patience is most important. The gardeners say they learn from their mistakes and help each other.

The group hopes to inspire other schools, churches and libraries to create similar gardens. If you'd like any information about starting your own, call the Walkertown Library.

If you know of a gorgeous flower or veggie garden here in the Piedmont, let us know! Email us at or