Blog posts are written by Cadets involved in the Journalism Club at the Appalachian ChalleNGe Academy
The work in our garden is quickly becoming a staple in our Appalachian Challenge Academy Newsletter and our latest installment deals with the opportunity to garden year round. Our newest ventures in the Academy garden are tunnels or “hoop houses”. The purpose of these structures is to protect plants during the winter months and once again we are receiving guidance from Grow Appalachia from Berea College. Members of Grow Appalachia gave a lesson on the tunnels and the purpose they serve. Their main purpose is to keep winter dew off plants so they will not freeze and it also helps to hold heat inside near the plants. The heat will help the plants because plants use chemicals and chemical reactions to grow and reproduce, most of those chemical reactions are temperature dependent. If a plant is too cold or too warm, some chemical processes do not work and the plant cannot grow.
Cadets then began to build the tunnels by bending poles to make the frames, connecting the frames to our raised beds and then covering them. The covers can be slid back to gain access to the plants for watering and harvesting, although the covers will allow rain to through if it rains hard enough.
With every class members of Grow Appalachia take time to teach ACA cadets the skills of gardening. They teach cadets the best methods to grow plants to perfection, ways to protect them, and how and when to harvest crops.
Written by Cadet Kodi Centers