Raised beds and tons of fall fun ahead!

Wow, fall is here, our temperatures are falling, high of 70’s this week, makes for one very happy Debbie over here in Greeneville, TN!  Our summer was not very warm at Rural Resources, but our September has been extremely hot for our Septembers.  Enough heat and humidity, I am excited about 70’s and 50’s at night.  Bring it on!

I spent last week putting in two more home gardens with our teens.  I first visited with James and his family, as we decided to place 2 – 5′ X 8′ beds to feed their family of 5 plus two grandparents.  They are excited to put in fall crops and really want to add plastic and row cover to extend the season into the winter.  They are planning to plant lettuces, kale, radishes, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, beets, and turnips.  We spent the afternoon, at first, trying to back the trailer of heavy heavy dirt and compost up a hill.  HMMMMM….., yep it didn’t work very well, well not at all.  I ended up pulling around and pulled up to the beds, then through the back yard to leave, but they were all good with whatever made it possible to get the gardens in.  Of course, I spent 10 minutes trying to figure this out, I never claimed I was good at backing and pulling trailers, but I am learning!  James helped to shovel the dirt out of the trailer, and when mom arrived, she grabbed another shovel and lent a hand.

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Trinity, James’ sister, took the pictures.  Trinity is involved in another one of my teen groups.  Her group is learning how to cook the food we grow, preserve, and gain catering skills.  There is a second sister, Veronica, who is yet in another level of the program, learning business planning and will be implementing a food related business with her group next year.  A household of teens who are excited about growing their own food!  This is an extraordinary family.  Mom has done a wonderful job raising her children, encouraging them, and taking an interest in this program with them.  Mom has been brought up growing food and preserving, and wants to see her children learn that much-needed sustainability factor that is being lost.  I hope we can teach these and others the lost skills and help them sustain themselves for the future.

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After finishing at James’ house, I traveled across the county to Addi and Jimmy.  By the time I got there, the dirt mysteriously vanished out of the trailer.  No, not really!  The trailer will only hold so much dirt, and much to my dismay, it did not even fill the two beds at James’ house.  I went ahead to Addi and Jimmy’s where we at least put the frame together.  I was going to try to sell the story that the dirt fell out on the way through a quarter size hole in the trailer, but I didn’t think they would buy that.  I will be heading out to their home tomorrow evening with a trailer load just for them.  Hopefully one load will be enough for their 4′ X 12′ bed, I think so, but that’s what I thought at James’ house, so we shall see.  More pics and I am sure an interesting story to tell next week.  Tune in to the same channel and see!

About the Author:

I am from a farming community in Indiana where my family farmed over 200 acres. As a teen, my family moved to Florida where I became heavily involved in 4-H and developed a love for service and passing knowledge onto others. I graduated and began working at the local girls club while attending college for a Business/Administration degree. I realized that teaching youth was my passion and stayed at the girls club for 12 years before moving to East Tennessee. In East Tennessee I was able to reconnect with my farming roots and began a home garden. In growing, I tapped further into my roots and began canning and freezing food for my family. Really enjoying putting to use all the long hours working on the farm in my youth and realizing how important that was for me to learn, I wanted to get back into teaching youth again! Skimming help wanted adds, led me to Rural Resources who was looking for a coordinator to run their Farm and Food Teen Training Program. All my loves in one - youth at-risk, farming, gardening, cooking, and business planning! What a wonderful life to share my passions with others, play on the farm, enjoy local home cooked food, and advance these youth to a better future! Here I have been for 6 beautiful, happy, and productive years!

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