Hi! I’m Rachel, the new Grow Appalachia AmeriCorps member for High Rocks in Hillsboro, WV. I’ve lived in West Virginia my whole life, and after finishing my MA in French, it was important to me to give back to rural communities in my state. Local produce, sustainability and food in general are all passions of mine, so making the change from academic to vegetable gardener has been an interesting and welcome change. This fall, our High Rocks team, which ranges from the inexperienced to veteran gardeners, has worked hard in transforming our overgrown high tunnel into a late fall garden. I can’t wait to see our little beet, lettuce and radish shoots start breaking the surface (though I’m even more excited to start eating them later on).
Here at Grow Appalachia High Rocks, we have been emphasizing to our participants the importance of preparing your garden for winter. We recommend either planting a cover crop or covering your garden with a layer of straw mulch, both of which we can supply to interested participants. By adding organic matter to the soil and decreasing opportunities for weeds to move in, gardeners can significantly decrease the early spring work load of fertilizing and pest removal.