Like the Little Engine that could or the Little Red Hen, Grow Appalachia participants Marshall and Liz surely have made the most of their garden(s). Not only has Liz has helped with all of our community canning classes, she has the philosophy that canning begins at home and can she can.
I’ve wanted to spotlight them all summer, but decided to wait to share a total of their success in the garden. Marshall had a bean patch this summer that I got to share in and it was beautiful. When David Cooke visited, at that time, even he said it was the prettiest he had seen. I hope he doesn’t just say that to all the gardeners. In reflection on the beans, Marshall did proclaim he would never plant beans without staking them again. A few rows were not staked and he felt that was a waste of ground.
Marshall and Liz have a small garden in their yard, about 10×30, but he did his beans and corn in my garden. It was a nice addition to my attempts and gave much credibility to my garden. Marshall has the skills, talents, tools and mindset to put the work into the garden that creates the most yield. His staking of beans involved trips to the saw mill, saw horses, drills and a little back breaking labor, but created a beautiful vineyard and he is ahead now for next year.
Marshall and Liz also will buy several dozens of corn from a local supplier that just isn’t ready to go to market and they will freeze. Marshall is a lineman for the Kentucky Power Company, so he gets around the county and sees/knows who has a garden with surplus and makes connections. They also keep their ears open for who has more apples than they can use and just make an evening visit out of picking up apples with a neighbor or cousin. The same for berry picking, they know the secret and hard to reach places that one can come away with a few gallons of blackberries or raspberries.
I wanted to share pictures of their harvest and dividends, but we also compiled a list of their goodness and wanted to put those impressive numbers out there. Here is their list in no particular order:
105 Quarts of Green Beans 60 Quarts of Grape Juice
48 Pints of Pickles 60 Pints of Salsa
40 Quarts Tomatoes 40 Quarts Spaghetti Sauce
24 Pints Beets 36 Pints Pears
50 Quarts of Kraut 36 Pints of Grape Jelly
40 Pints of Apple Butter 21 Pints of Peaches
24 Pints of Strawberries 24 Pints of Peaches
24 Quarts of Apples 28 Quarts of Corn
They will eat most of their canned foods, like most of our GA participants they will share with family and friends. He stressed several times today that they eat well and have good food. He cites the taste and quality of the food as the primary reason he does this. He and Liz work together on this project, and says it would be very hard to do alone. Although, he is capable of all aspects of it. He did most of the beets, cooking them for hours outside on an open fire.
He estimates, they spent $600-$800 on their garden efforts this year. Although, it was difficult to have him assign a monetary value to what he would part with the goods for. I think he almost agreed, he would sell the beans if you bought them all for $600. That is actually a good deal, as that would be $6 per quart.
I asked if Grow Appalachia had helped in anyway. He quickly agreed they had, the fertilizer had been a savings. Having garden tilled had helped as he works a minimum of 50+ hours a week. He knows and understands he wont be eligible for those benefits next year and while there he called a co-worker to let him know about the benefits of the program and see if he might be a new candidate.
One comment he made was that he enjoyed the gardening as much as eating the food from the garden. That’s a win-win.
Again, one of the good things about working with Grow Appalachia is getting to talk with and connect with folks here in a way that didn’t happen before, even when it was my very own brother.