by Erica at High Rocks

I’ve got some catching up to do!  Typically I update the blog at the end of each week.  I didn’t expect that a quiet breeze and a flickering of lights two Friday evenings ago was the first sign that something unusual was afoot in these mountains.   Once the storm roared through the area, we were without phones for seven days and without power until just now.   But let me tell you a little about what happened before that!

With a truck full of tomato stakes and bean poles I gleaned from a local bamboo patch, I made the rounds to several of our participants’ gardens.  First I visited Cheri, a beginning gardener who is growing vegetables for the first time.  Cheri, her husband, and 3 kids have been enjoying fresh salads and peas for several weeks now.  Her potato patch is thriving but I found potato beetle larvae and eggs.  Her beans and tomatoes look very healthy, but needed a little support.  We got to work spraying OMRI listed Spinosad on the potatoes and beans (which also looked a little holey.)   We tied bamboo canes together to support her pole beans and drove in stakes to support her tomatoes using the Florida Weave technique I learned from information David Cooke sent us.   

Cheri is new to the area and has made new friends through gardening.  A neighbor gave her Granny Myrtle’s pole beans that have been saved in her family for four generations.   She has also gotten advice for planting by the signs.   Another neighbor shared a tip that I had never heard:  you can grow bigger onions by bending over the biggest leaves.  (I noticed this happened naturally with my onions, maybe it helps to save them the step?)  We made plans for me to return with some mulch and more lettuce seed.

I also paid a visit to Butch and Kathy’s garden.  They are planning to feed three generations of 8 family members out of the garden.  So far so good! They are rich with radishes, flush with lettuce, and rolling in peas.  Melon plants are cascading over the tires that gave them an early start.   Butch is excited to keep building the soil in this new garden spot.  He’s on our list for a delivery of mulch and manure.

Lastly, I had the opportunity to speak with the Hillsboro CEO (Continuing Education Outreach) group about Grow Appalachia at their monthly meeting.  We exchanged gardening tips and I was recruited a few volunteers to help with the canning and preserving workshop later this summer.