I’ve been cruising around Southwest VA to visit more of our gardeners and check on their home gardens. Many of these places I have not seen since they were patches of bare earth so it’s an exciting time–how did each gardener take our garden lessons, what they saw at our teaching garden, their own desires and knowledge, and transpose them onto their own property?
Here’s some of the things I found:
Unfortunately, with all the incessant rain many folks couldn’t get into their gardens. This caused the weeds to explode along with the plants, making it hard to know where anything is. As one gardener exclaimed when I asked where her pathway was, “That disappeared a long time ago.”
Many gardeners are engaging in seed saving which is quite exciting. Lavonda here is saving pea seed, letting the pods dry out on the vines and the seeds harden as is the custom.
I saw the beginnings of eggplants in the gardens where folks did not give up on this difficult plant.
When we have leftover plants folks are pretty die-hard about nothing getting thrown into the compost. Lavonda cleared a whole bed around her fence, not even in her main garden, to make room for all the extra squash, pumpkins, cantaloupes, and melons we started.
Lavonda is really proud of her garden, and likes these tires filled with potatoes a lot. Her biggest issue this year has been slugs.
Many gardeners invite me into their homes, and it is special to see their harvests in their house, knowing that we helped facilitate that.
This year we helped Abingdon High school’s special education program with their garden. The kids learned so much. Here they are harvesting lettuce.
A lot of what I do is diagnose plant issues. Sometimes I can do it on my own, sometimes I need extension, or other times I can consult with my coworkers. In this case, my coworkers thought this was herbicide damage. Participants in our program know they are not supposed to use any inorganic methods in their garden, and we never encourage herbicides organic or not, so this confused me. The man said he had not sprayed, but round-up can drift–he is surrounded by farms so it is possible herbicide drifted in the air.
I still don’t get what is going on with this squash plant. I’d assume it was as nutrient deficiency but of what sort I have no idea. The plants around it all look fine though. Still working on this one!
Well, more plants, more problems.