Last week I had the wonderful opportunity to meet Mark Waldon for the first time and show him around several of our garden sites. We visited a total of 9 gardens that day finishing off with a great class on fall crops, weeds and cover crops taught by Mark. I also took the opportunity to ask him just about every question I could think of about Grow Appalachia, gardening, plants, weeds, encourage participants and everything in between. It’s been a huge learning curve going from one garden to fifteen, I was so grateful for the information he shared.
Our visit started at the Jackson County Extension office where we got a chance to look at their pallet garden. They have created a program called “Come Grow with Us” that took participants all the way through the gardening process. They got to plant, harvest, and cook them into a wonderful meal with recipes to take home. Our next stop was our visit with Mr. Adkins, he showed us his set up and quickly offered us banana peppers to munch on. From there we loaded up and made the trek into the next county were we visited The Miller Farm. Mr. Miller acquired a hoop house this summer and was so delighted to show us that most of his beans had grown to the roof, thus having to use a step-ladder to pick his beans. He also showed us his wonderful bees, collecting over 40 quarts this summer. The best part was watching him play with his goats, showing us tricks that he had taught them. The Pennington’s garden was next with such a great example of how much produce you can grow in a raised bed. They have high beds, no bending over with a wonderful arch over them to create an environment for early growing and protection from frost in the fall.
- Our midday stop was at the Dunzweiler’s garden where Amy served a garden harvest lunch; yummy pesto spinach salad with tomatoes, pasta, whole wheat bread, fresh pick corn of the cob and good ole sweet tea. It was great to be able to sit down and continue to chat and learn a little more about each other too. Back in the van and across county lines again to catch a glimpse of the inmates working the Jackson County Detention Center garden. Unfortunately we missed them by a few minutes but took the opportunity to look out over there 3 1/2 acre expanse of a garden. Just amazed at how much food they have been able to bring in and the $$$ that it will save the Jail. The 5 generation garden was next seeing the largest sunflower that I’ve personally ever seen. Our last stop was Jackson Valley Apartments where the adventure started as a lone garden last year. They too have expanded adding a 3rd garden, the potato patch. Overall, it was a great day and the weather was perfect.
- We quickly made it back to the Jackson County Extension office were we had 23 participants attend the evening’s Grow Appalachia Meeting. Mark did a fantastic job presenting fall crops, weeds and cover crops. I soaked up so much knowledge today and was so excited to put everything that I had learned into practice. Thank you Mark for coming down. Your welcome anytime!