Henrico County VA
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In the garden

Community gardens
Would you like to have a vegetable garden but don’t think it’s possible this year?

A lack of space, experience or resources such as tools or money to buy seeds and bedding plants doesn’t need to stand in your way. Applications for Gardens Growing Families, a community garden program for county residents, are now being accepted at the Henrico Extension Office.

Individuals or families who participate in the program receive expert help, free classes, tools, and water for irrigation as well as space to grow a garden for a fee of $5 to $65 a year, based on household income, the number of gardeners per family, and garden plot size. Garden plots are either 15 feet by 20 feet or 15 feet by 10 feet, and gardeners can rent up to two plots.

“Gardens Growing Families is designed to get people gardening, harvesting, preparing and storing nutritious food,” said Lisa Sanderson, Henrico Extension Agent.

“And, just as important as producing food, gardening together can help build families,” added Sanderson. “Families who garden together. To me, that’s the most important part.”

Garden plots are available in the Alma Avenue Island Garden near Alma and Laburnum Avenues and in Highland Springs at the corner of West Jerald Street and South Holly Avenue. The 34 plots at the Lakeside Garden have already been taken.

“We started in 2008,” said Sanderson, “And some of the original families are still with us!”

In a survey, almost all past participants said their family’s diet improved, and three-quarters said they saved money at the grocery store. “One man, who had two plots and gardened year-round, said he had saved almost $700,” said Sanderson.

The plots are available to participants from the first of April to the end of March. “You really can grow things to eat here all year long,” said Sanderson. “You have to like cabbage, and you have to plan, but you can do it!”

Participants maintain their gardens using only organic methods, which means no pesticides or herbicides in the gardens.

A demonstration plot is maintained by Henrico Master Gardeners, who are often on hand at the gardens to answer questions. “It’s the first experience for some,” said Sanderson, “so we encourage people to ask questions.”

A free seminar for participants will be held Saturday, April 7 from 9 a.m. to noon at the Henrico Demonstration Kitchen on Dixon Powers Drive. Topics include “Getting Started,” “Growing More,” and “Expanding Your Food Palette and Preparing Foods.” Programs for kids ages 5-13 will also be held that day.

“Young people can learn how to garden, see where their food comes from, and learn how to do things with their parents,” said Sanderson.

“And remember, food tastes better when you grow it yourself,” she added.

To learn more, call the Extension office at 501-5160 or get an application online at http://www.co.henrico.va.us/extension
Community

Lions Club donates backpacks to elementary school

The Richmond West Breakfast Lions Club (based in western Henrico) recently donated 59 backpacks to the Westover Hills Elementary School on Jahnke Road.

Above, club members display some of the backpacks prior to their distribution. > Read more.

Glen Allen student to perform at Carnegie Hall

Thanks to a first-place win in The American Protege International Vocal Competition 2014, Glen Allen High School student Matija Tomas will travel to New York City to perform at Carnegie Hall in December.

At the first-place winners recital in Weill Hall, Matija will perform Giacomo Puccini’s opera aria, “Chi il bel sogna di doretta.” She will perform with other vocalists from around the world and have the opportunity to win other awards and scholarships.

Locally, Thomas has performed with Richmond’s renowned Glorious Christmas Nights, Christian Youth Theatre, and WEAG’s Urban Gospel Youth Choir. > Read more.

Gayton Baptist Church dedicates new outreach center


The John Rolfe YMCA and Gayton Baptist Church have partnered in an effort to bring greater health and wellness opportunities to the community.

Through this partnership, the John Rolfe Y will run Youth Winter Sports programs, including basketball and indoor soccer, in Gayton’s newly renovated $5.5 million outreach center that features a new gymnasium, youth and teen space, social space with café, meeting space and full service commercial kitchen. > Read more.

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Entertainment

New Henrico biscuit shop thrives with grandmother’s recipe

Tim Laxton rises at 4:30 a.m. every day for a biscuit. But he’s not rushing out to any restaurant to get his favorite Southern comfort food; he’s baking his own from scratch and serving them up from his bakery on Lakeside Avenue.

Laxton opened Early Bird Biscuit Co. & Bakery in early July and since then biscuits have been flying out of there.

The self-taught baker draws hungry crowds in with a biscuit of the day like the Old Bay Cheddar, but the buttermilk biscuits are the staple.

“On a Saturday I generally make about 400 biscuits with my two hands,” Laxton said. “I’m constantly making biscuits all day long.” > Read more.

Restaurant watch

Find out how your favorite dining establishments fared during their most recent inspections by the Virginia Department of Health. > Read more.

CAT Theatre announces cast of Sherlock Holmes play

CAT Theatre’s 51st season will open with Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure, which will run from Oct. 24-Nov. 8. Adapted by Steven Dietz, it is based on the original 1899 play by William Gillette and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and was the winner of the 2007 Edgar Award for Best Mystery Play.

The plot follows what seems to be the end of the career of the world’s greatest detective as he is confronted with a case far too tempting to ignore. When the King of Bohemia faces blackmail by famed opera singer Irene Adler, Holmes and his faithful companion, Dr. Watson, find themselves falling into the trap of evil genius Professor Moriarty. As Holmes says, “The game is afoot Watson, and it is a dangerous one!” > Read more.

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