Volunteer Don Meyer here -This week has brought Grow Appalachia at Red Bird Mission a mix of weather conditions including precipitation (rain and SNOW) as well as almost a 50 degree swing in temperatures. Nevertheless, we have been out doing Home Visits for First Year and other Participants. The sizes of some garden plots have expanded or changed as the previous years have dictated (floods or for better soil). Tilling for/with our local folks has brought this volunteer closer to the “Real People” of Kentucky. We exchange ideas on gardening from local habits both as historical guidance from ancestors and also from later scientific suggestions are published. Additional enhancements in more robust and disease resistant strains of seeds and sets are increasing the availability of Organic Plants and crops. Results from soil samples have continued to roll in and our participants will be receiving fertilizer and other soil enhancement products as needed. Donations of seeds seem to have fallen off a bit this year but we will “make do with what we get.”
For the sorting & bagging of the seed stock we did receive, we had several volunteer ladies from Ohio show up looking for work! We had them sorting, measuring and bagging seeds for distribution to our GA Participants. They had never seen so many seeds from the larger bead seeds to the smallest mustard, carrot & tomato seeds. Great Job by the ANGELS from Ohio & many thanks.
On another front, we find some of the folks plan their gardening needs a year ahead and others (often the newer participants) are more reactive to the budding-blossoming of the trees to realize “Spring has come to Appalachia!”
I am also reminded of experiences in Virginia & North Carolina where I’ve worked gardens to provide vegetables for local Food Banks and churches. Folks are so similar all over this region. Planting the “3 sisters” ( Corn, Beans & Squash ) is still found in all 3 of these states. Also popular are the potatoes, onions and green leafy veggies. I will be working with the 5th grade class at Red Bird Christian School this week on a presentation about all the colors of vegetables and Companion Plantings. It is wonderful to see the interest in gardening across the generations. As a Grand Father I say – “Get your grand kids out in the dirt with you and watch their eyes light up!” What a blessing to see the garden and the children grow – together.-Don