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Gardening is important to Becki Janes. Not only has she found peace in the work she does in her 6,000-square-foot garden tucked away on Hiawassee Avenue, she's also made her living there with Becki's Bounty.

With her newest service - YOUR Bounty - Janes brings her seven years of professional gardening experience to yards throughout the community.

Janes came to gardening after a career in human services. Her master's degree in counseling led her to direct a therapeutic equestrian program. Her time with the now-defunct program brought her full circle to some of her earlier interests. With a degree is biology and a minor in agriculture, she started out in the sciences and came back to them with Becki's Bounty, established in 2010.

"This is what I love to do now," she said at Becki's Bounty, her garden business in Black Mountain. The produce from Becki's Bounty can be bought there and at Black Mountain Tailgate Market and East Asheville Tailgate Market from May.

Almost two years ago Janes began offering gardening classes. Last fall she held a class at Black Mountain Academy,  a private boarding school for boys with autism. That made her think about "what a difference gardening has made in my life and not just the physical health aspect, but also the emotional and psychological benefits," she said.

She came to believe that a lot more people in the community could grow their own food.

"I've had some requests in the past from people who have commented that they wanted me to help them get a garden together," Janes said. "So I figured that was a service I could add to my business."

Through YOUR Bounty, Janes consults with clients in their gardens (or yards). She'll help anyone from beginners to long-time gardeners.

"The first thing you want to do with a garden is site it correctly," she said. Motioning around the raised beds at Becki's Bounty, she said "this garden is optimally sited. It faces south on a gentle slope, so it has good drainage and gravity feed for watering. When I go do an on-site consultation I'm looking at sunshine, shade, drainage. I also take a soil sample."

Soil samples help Janes to determine which nonsynthetic amendments to use to best support growth. And the time to take samples is now, she said.

"There are several sources for analyzing soil," she said. "If you do it through the state program it could take up to six weeks to get the results back at this point. It's getting a little close to the late side for that. But there are other resources."

Her consultations take about two hours. But she also offers additional services.

"For the second phase," she said. "I take into the account the size of your family and figure out exactly what size garden you need and where to place it. I would bring my tiller and actually do that for them."

YOUR Bounty can get the most out of established gardens, Janes said.

She is seeking interns for Becki's Bounty who will work alongside her and learn more about her approach to gardening. Janes also offers a program for people who don't have the time to commit to a full internship.

"It's for people who want to just come in and learn a skill," she said. "I bring them to the garden and teach that skill for an hour in exchange for two hours of work."

This fall Janes plans to teach a series of classes that will take students through phases from planting seeds indoors to fall preparations for winter.

Contact Becki Janes at (828) 775-9251 or beckisbounty@gmail.com.  

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