By: Irma Gall

This article originally appeared in the July 17th, 2014 Barbourville Mountain Advocate.

The Lend-a-Hand Center Grow Appalachia Garden program under Kathryn Engle’s leadership has really taken off and is in full swing on Stinking Creek and in Barbourville. We had a working at the Dewitt School community garden last Tuesday to put up more bean poles, sucker sweet corn, pick green beans, pull weeds and tie up tomato plants. She has put up several different types of trellis work arrangements for bean poles for your inspection and information. I am still wondering how to reach the beans growing out the top of the twelve foot cane poles but the way things are growing, I will soon find out. Years ago I learned to cut my poles down to my reach when I made my pole tepees. Even then I often had to make room for a stepladder.


Donnie putting up cane


Hannah, Donnie, and Conrad putting up Conrad’s configuration


Conrad picking the first bean crop

The weather has treated us so well and the plants are basking in their good fortune. The tomato plants are green and promising much fruit if they will just hang in there. We have zucchini and yellow squash galore and the broccoli and cauliflower have tried to outrun the cucumbers. The pea crop was abundant and all kinds of beans-white half runners, red kidney, rattlesnake, pintos, lima and several more types are growing and blooming. It is even time to find some brand new potatoes to go with that mess of beans. The sweet corn is tasseled and silked almost ready for some eager hands to hold dripping with butter.

Kathryn has also worked hard on getting the local farmers market in full swing with several local gardeners ready to sell their home grown produce every Thursday evening on old 25E. There is and will be a variety of home grown food for Knox County this year. The Knox County jail and the Union College gardens are doing well also.

We have first time gardeners exclaiming over their very first produce and learning fast the importance of harvesting often and thoroughly. Cucumbers and zucchini have been good teachers of that fact. Even before the garden is “laid by”, there is much to pick and eat right out of the garden. Kathryn says the people in the Dewitt community are welcome to stop by and pick a “mess of beans” for their family dinner table. Before that is finished there should be sweet corn ready for the taking.


Our three different bean running configurations


Irma, Karen, and Berk working on the tomato “cage” at the Dewitt Community Garden

There are classes scheduled to preserve food such as canning, freezing and drying. Many of you remember the sight of green beans drying in the sun on top of old cars. Ah, shucky beans, they have a taste all of their own. There should be opportunity for you to try your hand at this.


So do stop by the three community gardens and the farmers market. See and taste what Grow Appalachia is all about.