Weeds, Dirt, and Dixie Plantation

Planting Day at Dixie


Did you know that The College of Charleston has a Sustainable Agriculture Program?

Did you know that The College of Charleston’s Sustainable Agriculture Program has three downtown urban gardens AND a two-acre student garden at Dixie Plantation in Ravenelle, SC?

I know what you are thinking, “Where is Ravenelle and why would I ever go there?”

As far as proximity goes, it is a bit of a drive from The College of Charleston’s downtown campus, 18.6 miles to be exact. But the good news is that if you are lacking in a vehicle or in motivation to make the drive then the Sustainable Agriculture Program will happily partner you up with fellow students to carpool out the plantation and trust me it is worth it.

When you first turn on to the dirt road at Dixie Plantation you start to get excited. Big old trees line the driveway and the occasional houses and businesses that were visible before now almost completely disappear. This is where you start to get an idea of the scale of the property, 881 acres, and the remote positioning that preserves the land’s integrity and beauty. About halfway down the driveway, you pass the original gates and the hall of angel oak trees that used to line the path to the original home.

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A couple turns and gates later you arrive at the student gardens. Complete with a custom gate and more than six beds for planting, the student garden at Dixie Plantation is the perfect environment for any student looking to relieve some stress and grow some vegetables on a historic Charleston property. Lucky for you there is an event at the property almost monthly, weekly during the busy season. At the garden, students focus on growing a variety of leafy greens and vegetables that are harvested and sold to the South Carolina Aquarium Sea Turtle Hospital. Talk about all the good vibes, your plants get to feed the sick and recovering sea turtles!

Aside from the garden, the Sustainable Agriculture Program hosts workshops and Expos in their newly built research facility on the property. In the past, they have hosted honey bee expos with the Charleston Bee Keeper Association, composting workshops, and other education events. They are also there almost every Saturday if you just have some free time and would like to help in the garden.

That is what my husband and I did! We woke up early, put on some comfortable clothes, and drove out to Dixie Plantation. We met up with Sean Dove and friends on a chilly Saturday morning to participate in the Dixie Planting Day. We were assigned a bed and were provided with tools to clear out weeds and debris from the soil so that it could be planted in the next few days. We were cold and our noses were running but we had so much fun. After we cleared our bed we took a walk through the grounds and learned a bit about the history of the plantation. It was a Saturday morning well spent.


So if you are thinking, “Wow! I want to grow veg for the sea turtles!” or maybe just “I would like to know more about these Sustainable Agriculture programs. ” Then you should reach out to Abbie Cain at caina@cofc.edu and request to be added to the email list.

Hope to see you all out in the garden!