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Westmoreland

Sisters of Charity now have a shed for charity garden

Renatta Signorini
| Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017, 11:39 a.m.

No longer will the rakes, shovels and potato pickers be transported back and forth at the Sisters of Charity garden in Greensburg.

They now have a home in a shed erected Tuesday morning near gardens developed by the Seton Hill University community and the nuns.

Braving the windy, cool morning to take cellphone pictures of the quick work were Sister Barbara Ann Smelko, Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill coordinator of vocation ministries, and Darren Achtzehn, food service director at the university and garden manager.

Both are looking forward to having the 12-by-20-foot structure topped with a cupola for the coming growing season.

“The shed will have some great advantages,” Achtzehn said.

The garden partnership was spurred after similar discussions were taking place at the campus and among the Sisters of Charity. The university operates a volunteer-run garden on its neighboring property and last year, the nuns were inspired to start planting their own crops on former farmland near their motherhouse.

That first year, they planted 600 pounds of potatoes with help from campus volunteers. The harvest was shared among the university, the nuns and the Westmoreland County Food Bank.

This year's 600 pounds of onions were shared in the same manner. Potatoes will return in 2018.

In addition to storage space, the shed will provide an area for the vegetables to dry, Smelko said.

“To dry onions — stick it up in the rafters,” she said.

The Sisters of Charity received a $10,000 grant for the shed, which was built by Weaver Barns of Ohio. The grant was obtained by Sister Mary Phillip Aaron through the Snee-Reinhardt Charitable Foundation.

The sisters plan to add areas for butterflies, bees and wildflowers, as well as alfalfa and clover to replenish the soil.

Renatta Signorini is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-837-5374, rsignorini@tribweb.com or via Twitter @byrenatta.

A crew from Weaver Barns in Ohio assembles a garden shed for the Sisters of Charity, at Seton Hill University, on Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017.
Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
A crew from Weaver Barns in Ohio assembles a garden shed for the Sisters of Charity, at Seton Hill University, on Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017.
A crew from Weaver Barns in Ohio assembles a garden shed for the Sisters of Charity, at Seton Hill University, on Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017.
Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
A crew from Weaver Barns in Ohio assembles a garden shed for the Sisters of Charity, at Seton Hill University, on Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017.
Sister Barbara Ann Smelko (left) and Darren Achtzehn, food service director at Seton Hill University, watch as a crew from Weaver Barns in Ohio assembles a garden shed for the Sisters of Charity, at Seton Hill, on Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017.
Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
Sister Barbara Ann Smelko (left) and Darren Achtzehn, food service director at Seton Hill University, watch as a crew from Weaver Barns in Ohio assembles a garden shed for the Sisters of Charity, at Seton Hill, on Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017.
A crew from Weaver Barns in Ohio assembles a garden shed for the Sisters of Charity, at Seton Hill University, on Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017.
Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
A crew from Weaver Barns in Ohio assembles a garden shed for the Sisters of Charity, at Seton Hill University, on Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017.
A crew from Weaver Barns in Ohio assembles a garden shed for the Sisters of Charity, at Seton Hill University, on Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017.
Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
A crew from Weaver Barns in Ohio assembles a garden shed for the Sisters of Charity, at Seton Hill University, on Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017.
A crew from Weaver Barns in Ohio assembles a garden shed for the Sisters of Charity, at Seton Hill University, on Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017.
Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
A crew from Weaver Barns in Ohio assembles a garden shed for the Sisters of Charity, at Seton Hill University, on Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017.
Darren Achtzehn (left), food service director at Seton Hill University, and Sister Barbara Ann Smelko watch as a crew from Weaver Barns in Ohio assembles a garden shed for the Sisters of Charity, at Seton Hill, on Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017.
Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
Darren Achtzehn (left), food service director at Seton Hill University, and Sister Barbara Ann Smelko watch as a crew from Weaver Barns in Ohio assembles a garden shed for the Sisters of Charity, at Seton Hill, on Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017.
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