in focus: charlie’s garden

Gardening in Mt. Lebanon can be a challenge, especially for people who have problems bending over. The animals anxious to make a meal of the output before the harvest can also be discouraging.

But Richard Salvante, Duquesne Drive, who created the growing business Yard to Table Garden Builders, may have a solution. Raised bed gardening can solve many of those problems by reducing the distance gardeners must bend over, allowing greater organization, and keeping animals out. “I was looking for ideas for gardening in my yard,” he says. “I noticed different ideas from my neighbors and looking on the Internet, I understood the animal problem in the community too.”

Charlie Stull and garden builder Rich Salvante.
Charlie Stull and garden builder Rich Salvante.

Salvante built a raised bed garden for his mother-in-law in Peters Township, and word got around. “People heard about it and liked the idea,” he says. “From there it just grew.”

Earlier this year, Salvante took on a project closer to home. His neighbor, Carnegie Drive resident Charles Stull, a retired teacher and boys tennis coach at Mt. Lebanon High School, had a garden that was a neighborhood showplace. Stull recently was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, which made made taking care of the garden harder and harder.

With his raised garden, Stull is able to tend to it more. “It takes some effort to manage,” says Salvante. “But the raised bed enclosures we designed along with the integrated deer fencing have made it easier and less frustrating for Charlie this year. The difference is easy to see in the success of the garden this year and how much time Charlie is able to spend tending it.”

Salvante hopes members of the community will start to see the benefits of raised garden beds. “They’re beneficial in several ways,” says Salavante. “People who want to garden have the opportunity. You can grow food, plants, foliage; it’s just an easy way to garden. I think it brings people together.”

Photos by Elizabeth Hruby McCabe