Hello out there in Garden Land! We’ve been very busy here at ASPI in Rockcastle County. Last week, 10 students from Loyola University visited to do a Service Learning Project during their Spring Break. They were very wonderful, enthusiastic people with a good work ethic and lots of great questions. On Monday and Friday they worked with Grow Appalachia doing work in the office demonstration gardens and the community gardens. At the entrance to our demo garden, we now have a wonderful pergola-style trellis for peas and other annuals and perennials, a finished rock wall, a newly tilled and plotted wildflower and fruit garden, and several seeds started indoors and outdoors. The community garden is plotted out with a mixture of raised beds and open ground.
This week students from Notre Dame University are visiting for their Spring Break and we have a very exciting Grow Appalachia event planned for them on Friday. Along with Mark Walden and Mike Lewis, the students and GA staff will be putting up a new hoop house! This structure will be a versatile seed-starting, season-extending, gardening education asset. Along with on-site structures such as the rain catchment system, the solar greenhouse, and solar panels, the new hoop house will add a new edge to our status as a Small Town Demonstration Center.
Beginning this week, we will be doing site visits for soil testing and helping folks plan further in their gardens. We have a few groups of participants who are gardening together as a group, with plans to sell and market their produce. One group of ladies who are all neighbors are growing on about 8000 square feet and have already built their own greenhouse and indoor seed starting set-up. We are excited to get them going and see where they end up!!
The last few days of warmth brought out some of our seeds, its a refreshing and beautiful sight! Looking forward to seeing and meeting some of you at the Pine Mountain Seed Swap this weekend!