you can barely see the garlic!

You can barely see the garlic!

Heather again.

Hello there. I went out to the garden today to check on the soil, hoping in vain we could till. Still too wet. The 10-day forecast promises clear days, so I hope it drys out enough.

We have a fraternity from Emory and Henry College in Emory, VA coming on Saturday, April 6th. It looks like I’ll get a chance to get tilled up just in time for them to help us with a “mass planting”. We hope to bring our onions and brassicas out to our unheated little greenhouse to harden off and give out to people, and get people tilled up this coming week.

In any event, I looked around the garden and decided the wet soil meant it was the perfect time to overhaul our garlic bed.

We planted 8 heirloom varieties from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange last fall, and they’ve just been doing their thing all winter. However, the straw we put down ended up being hay-like in the amount of weed seed it brought forth.

We mulched to avoid weeds but ended up bringing a lot in. Annoying. In any event, I combed all the straw back and pulled out grass, then re-mulched with a thicker layer of straw and pulled out all the weedy grass clumps.

straw made a weedy mess...normally this shouldn't happen but sometimes it has seed in it. Mulch heavily so that if seed is present, hopefully there will be too much darkness before it can sprout.

Straw made a weedy mess…normally this shouldn’t happen but sometimes it has seed in it. Mulch heavily so that if seed is present, hopefully there will be too much darkness before it can sprout.

It is important to note that I did this with company.

We were fortunate enough to be able to hire a garden assistant for 10 hours a week. Nicole Dyer will mostly be busy with tilling and helping gardeners with other tasks they may not be able to do alone, such as fencing and installing various irrigation measures. She will also help us with cooking and food preservation classes, and random tasks (For example she divided up some of our bulk seed and labeled in envelopes for gardeners).

Nicole is our Farmer’s Market manager here in Abingdon, VA, and was looking for another job to round out her knowledge and gain some more hours.

She looks forward to yet another facet of experience in her work on food-access issues, and truly loves plants and exploring the natural world, and enjoys eclectic and healthful seasonal cooking.

ahhhh much better. garlic weeded and re-mulched.

Ah much better. Garlic weeded and re-mulched.

Introducing Nicole Dyer!
Introducing Nicole Dyer!

Below from Left: Deni and Tom Peterson, Nicole Dyer, Kyle King, Katie Commender, Ben Casteel. This picture was taken at the Appalachian Farmer’s Market Conference. Kyle King will be one of our gardeners this year. Ben and Katie will help with workshops. And you know Deni of course!

farmer's market group photoHeather J and Ben C   Ben Casteel and I present on seed-saving at Abingdon Library. Sylvia and suppliesSylvia Crum, our fundraising and outreach coordinator at Appalachian Sustainable Development, secured some donations from area Lowe’s.