Hi all! Maggie from the Alderson Community Food Hub here. We have had a very busy end of the growing season here in Alderson, WV. One of my favorite events was a recent Grow Appalachia workshop. Two local producers, Charlie and Sheila, hosted a season extension workshop at their property in Caldwell, WV. They are both natural teachers, having spent many years working in the WV school system. Charlie retired recently and has begun to focus on scaling up his garden. His tomatoes, peppers, and greens have become staples at our Community Market and in our Green Grocer Co-Op.
All of our Grow Appalachia participants were invited to tour the raised beds on the property and talk about smaller scale winterizing efforts, like cold frames and row cover. Walking amid the beds and guessing at some of the different things we saw growing kept us all engaged. We were all stumped when Charlie asked us to identify a patch of billowing, feathery stalks. Surprisingly, these funky specimens were actually asparagus! Even the most seasoned gardeners among us were learning things from Charlie!
Last, we spent some time in the high tunnel.Two years ago, after several winters of raised bed gardening, Charlie and Sheila decided to install a high tunnel on their property, and they have had some great success with it. This year, for example, several varieties of tomatoes have continued to produce in abundance and are predicted to be available through November. As the tomatoes slow in their production, they will be replaced with kale, spinach, and other winter crops. The first plantings of kale and snow peas were just peeking up out of the soil upon our visit.
The workshop left us all feeling inspired and ready to winterize our spaces. Charlie offered us insight on building materials, crops, and planning timelines for winterizing. We are so grateful to the Sheila and Charlie for remaining involved in our Food Hub and for supporting our efforts through Grow Appalachia!