This week we visited the Marlinton Middle School garden to weed and lay donated sawdust in the paths. Principal Joe Riley met us at the garden and shared his excitement about the project. This lush garden will greet students when the return to school in two weeks.
We helped out beginning gardener Lori with weeding, harvesting, and preparing the site for a new fence while sunflowers watched approvingly. Her sugar-baby watermelons are coming in and we helped her pick two pecks of beets and carrots which she is planning to freeze and enjoy roasted this winter.
We visited Vanessa’s 2nd year Grow Appalachia garden where her daughter helped her spray a homemade concoction of garlic, cayenne, and soap to ward of those that would eat her bean leaves. We worried that late blight had gotten her tomatoes, but the diagnosis from the WVU extension office was septoria leaf spot and fruit anthracnose—not great, but at least she can still get some tomatoes from infected plants. We sprayed Serenade on the tomatoes to check the spread. Our wet nights and misty mornings haven’t made for the best conditions for tomatoes recently. Next year we will be advising gardeners to leave more space between their tomatoes and prune them to promote better air flow.
We had fun in the Pearl Buck garden with Hillsboro Elementary students, harvesting and planting lettuce. The kids that came to help left with ears of corn and bags of beans and lettuce for dinner that night.