It is official. The Big Sandy Community and Technical College has a community garden and that garden has beans! It has taken a lot longer than I expected to get things growing on the BSCTC campus but Tom Vierheller, a science professor at the college and the unofficial head of the community garden group, stuck to it and we finally got all of the paperwork out of the way.
The garden group grew after the Vision Planning for Sustainable Agriculture at the end of March so there are now five 20’x4’ raised beds in the middle of the Nature Preserve section of the Big Sandy campus. The college group, consisting of teachers, staff and Care Club students, has agreed to tend two of the beds during the summer and the community group is tending the other three. All of the food grown in the garden will go to the food pantry at St. James Episcopal Church. Tom Vierheller will be using one of the beds in his fall botany class and we will be using season extension techniques to grow for the food pantry into the late fall, early winter.
With the legal stuff was out of the way, the next hurdle was finding enough top soil to fill the beds. I had my friend and all-things-gardening advisor, Todd Howard, keeping an eye out for soil when he spotted a huge pile of it right down the road from the Mission. A couple of quick phone calls connected me with the “Man with the Dirt”. It seems that Prestonsburg High School is putting in Astroturf on their football field and Matt had the contract to haul the topsoil away. When I contacted him, there were two truck loads left at the high school and since the college and the high school are only blocks apart, I got a superb discount on enough dirt to fill the five beds plus.
Once the dirt was delivered the rest just fell in to place. Thanks to the college group, the bed frames were assembled on the site and two of them were filled with soil and prepped and half runner beans were planted. They are plating sweet potatoes in their second bed which will be going in next week as soon as the starts are ready to go in the ground. The starts are being grown by my friend and co-worker Crystal and her family to keep it all in the Grow Appalachia family.
As I was putting this blog post together I got an email from Tom that the beans have sprouted and the birds are looking hungry so I have to go get some netting to keep the crows and the rabbits at bay until the baby bean sprouts get their feet firmly planted. I look forward to passing on updates from this garden group which has opened another door here in Floyd County, Kentucky to living a healthier, quality lifestyle. I am so excited about all the different ways Grow Appalachia is growing here and at the other partner sites. Thanks again for the opportunity John Paul.