This week, Mark Walden, Assistant Director Grow Appalachia at Berea College, came by to give our participants training on Cold Weather Gardening. He arrived early, so we could take him to see some of our participant’s gardens and meet some wonderful Appalachian gardeners.

We didn’t get to take him everywhere we wanted, due to time constraints, but we took him to Elizabeth Fee’s garden, where he got to meet her husband, Ewel, and her son, Kenny.

Mark, Kenny and Ewel

Kenny, Ewel and Mark

Kenny, Elizabeth and her deep freeze filled to the top with produce from her garden.

Kenny, Elizabeth and her deep freeze filled to the top with produce from her garden.

Then we visited Melissa and Kenny’s garden. Mark got to see where Kenny had harvested around 220 watermelons.  Kenny had used organic fertilizer (Harmony 5-4-3) on one third of his garden and commercial (10-10-10) on the rest of it. He noted about a 15% increase in quantity with the commercial but an increase in size with the organic fertilizer.


Kenny and Mark standing in what’s left of the watermelon patch


Kenny and Mark discussing whether or not there is an organic substitute for Sevin, which Kenny has been using.

From our home visits, Mark left with a watermelon, an ear of bread corn and a handful of “tater” onions to take home with him.

After all we finished the home visits, it was time for our meeting. The weather turned sour just before the meeting, but we still had a turnout of 24 participants interested in what Mark had to say. He discussed the use of row covers, cold frames, high tunnels and low tunnels. He also discussed what plants were good fall crops.


Mark Walden


Our participants listening attentively to what Mark had to say

Overall, we had a good time and were glad to get the chance for our participants to meet Mark and vice versa.

Thanks to all who came out and a special thanks to Mark, for taking time out of his busy schedule to come down and see us. It means a lot.