Gardener helps Kiwanis Club grow loads of vegetables to give


June 11, 1998|By Joni Guhne | Joni Guhne,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

IF YOU WANT to find Thomas Nester, one of Severna Park's star gardeners, don't go looking in the yard of his home in Cape Arthur. Try, instead, the Kiwanis Club of Severna Park's plot at Kinder Farm Park.

Most days, the retired salesman can be found down the winding park road that leads past the Severna Park Jaycees Community Center, tending the 20-foot-by-30-foot plot that is one of the most productive among the 77 gardens the county makes available for use by residents.

His gardening reputation has grown so much that County Executive John G. Gary named Nester the park's "unofficial park gardener."

On a recent bright spring morning, the energetic Nester, dressed in sleeveless shirt, shorts and work boots and looking 20 years younger than his 81 years, was busy setting out nearly 100 sweet potato plants.

"If you work in the garden long enough, it fertilizes you from the feet up," he said, explaining his youthful appearance and good health.

The sweet potatoes were part of a small farm's worth of vegetables: onions, beets, lima beans, corn, melons and tomatoes. "Plus anything else you can think of," laughed Nester, who towers over the rows of young vegetables like a modern-day Paul Bunyan.

His 1982 Mazda utility truck -- crammed with shovels, rakes and rope and hitched to an open trailer overflowing with hoses, buckets, a couple of tillers and an amazing old-fashioned wheel hoe -- is always parked nearby.

The club uses some of the garden's produce and donates the rest to the Severna Park Assistance Network and elsewhere.

The county is moving the garden plots to a new section of the park and creating more plots in time for next spring's planning as part of a three-phase, four-year, $12 million development program.

The existing garden area will be cleared to increase space for parking for the athletic fields adjacent to Kinder Road.

Hike planned amid flowers

If you don't garden but enjoy flowers, join Ranger David DeVault on the B&A Trail at 10 a.m. Saturday for a one-mile nature hike.

The hike begins at the Earleigh Heights Ranger Station.

You must preregister. Call 410-222-6244.

Bible school scheduled

What would summer be for a child without vacation Bible school?

Severna Park Baptist Church invites children, from 4-year-olds to sixth-graders, to attend Bible school from 9 a.m. to noon June 22 to 26.

For details, call 410-544-4695.

Pub Date: 6/11/98

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