We are so excited to see pipes and sprinkler heads this week! Last summer we spent time digging, and digging, and digging, and digging, and digging a well at Rural Resources in East Tennessee. We finally struck water, set up the well house, plumbed the lines, and this spring sprinklers went in! No more slow moving water from the spring or hauling water into the garden, no more drip tape. Water pressure is excellent and our plants will be so happy! Farmer Melissa, and her new summer assistant, Katee, were very busy setting this system up in our two current growing spaces. Progress!
Melissa and Katee were also busy planting tomatoes this past week. I would estimate about 150 plants went in the ground between our hoop house and big field! That will be a lot of fresh tomatoes, canned tomatoes, salsa, tomato paste, tomato sauce, ketchup, spaghetti sauce – oh how my mouth is beginning to water! The possibilities are endless as our customers, teens, and programs will be able to put these to good use.
Our Grow Appalachia teen group, Food Commanders, came to the farm Saturday. We walked down the road to Farmer Melissa’s home to see her personal garden. While their, the teens were able to sample her salad mix and mustard greens! This young man was the first brave soul to try the mustard greens – a bit bitter, but he enjoyed it. Others, too bitter for their taste, but when cooked will be a masterpiece. The teens were visiting Melissa’s garden in preparation to go back to our farm and map their own gardens at home. Melissa wanted them to get an idea of a smaller area garden versus our large garden at Rural Resources, to see the potential to grow quite a bit in a small space.
I have been out visiting with the teens and their families for a couple of weeks, and think everyone has been caught and is squared away on what type of garden they want, where they want it, what they want to grow, and all the help the family plans to give to the teen. Once getting back to the farm, the teens sat with Melissa and Katee to plan out their garden space based on their size and needs. Each teen felt confident with the plans and will be able to put them into practice at home.
Before going home, the teens took with them tools, seeds, and some plants to go into their gardens. The plan is to run all over Kingdom Come this week and buy all necessary boards, nails, remainder seeds, amendments, forgotten tools, dirt, dirt, and more dirt and begin setting these gardens up at the end of the week and the whole first week of June. The teens were so excited that the time is nearing to growing food in their own back yards! As I took two of the teens home with their plants, seeds, and tools the parents and younger siblings were excited to see strawberry, tomato, and pepper plants coming home. They cannot wait to see us turning in their drive with the equipment to finish their teen’s garden. Most of the teens are going with a raised bed – anywhere from a 4X8 to a 4X12 and a pallet to grow their strawberries in. Three families are growing in spaces they have used in past years. For these gardens we are waiting for soil samples to tell us what type of goodies and treats the soil needs to make their vegetables happy.
We are hoping for many pictures and stories to post as we go all over Kingdom Come buying and setting up gardens!