What beautiful weather we have been having here in Greene County, TN!  The sun is shinning, some rain, and WARM temperatures.  We are very excited to finely really begin gardening and farming.  Our Grow Appalachia teen group, which has named themselves “Food Commanders”,  came out this past weekend and put in some raised beds.  They helped to carry the frames from the barn and place them near our high tunnel.

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The teens brought in leaves to place on the bottom, and then brought carts full of horse manure to layer in.  I was shocked that the teens did not turn up their noses!  They were skittish at first until they realized the manure did not smell, since it had been aging for a few years.  They had no problems to shovel it into the wheel barrows and dump it into the beds.  But will they touch it?  HMMMM.. let us see.  They next added top soil, took shovels and mixed the manure layer into the top soil.

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Our on-site farmer, Farmer Melissa, is very good with the teens.  She gets in with them, shows them how to do it, and helps do it!  The teens enjoy her instructions, and I feel, leave knowing how to do it by Melissa’s led example and hands on approach.

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Melissa took a few of the teens to the green house to grab some lettuce and fennel to plant in the beds.  The plants looked excellent, and should take to the beds nicely.


So, would the teens put their hands into the horse manure to plant the fennel and lettuce?  Carefully watching how Melissa grabbed the plants from the tray, place her hand down into the manure to dig a hole, and carefully place the plant, I don’t think the teens had any doubt.  They all were excited to grab their own plant, place their hand down into the horse manure, and carefully pat their plant into its new home.  They all worked very hard to make sure the fennel filled the bed, and began work on the lettuce.  One young lady commented that she loved farming!  This group will come back out in about 2 weeks, where we will go visit a community garden to gain inspiration for their own back yard gardens that we will be putting in this summer.  They are spending this spring learning how to begin growing food and getting an idea of what they want to grow, what space they have at home to grow in, and how they want to set up their growing space.

We look forward to exciting “Growth” out of these teens this year!