Hoes it going y’all? (<— see what I did there) Lori here from sweltering McDowell County, West Virginia.

Remember my last blog where I said my participants were doing great? Well, have I got a story for you. One of our new participants this year sent me a message on Facebook a few days or so back, It went a little something like this:

“Lori, I am having some gardening problems, and I need help,” to which I replied, “what can I do for you?”  I never know what to expect, I could have heard that the bugs ate all of her plants, or the neighbors pig rooted up her taters, or possibly that aliens beamed up her whole garden, which are all perfectly acceptable things in our world down here. What I was not prepared for was this. She said that they had gone out of town for a couple days and the weeds had sort of taken over her garden, and her to do list was to do some heavy duty weeding and figure out what was what. I’m thinking to myself, no big deal if she needs help, I will send one of my crew to lend a hand, then she hits me with the real problem. Her helpful neighbor mowed her yard for her, and mowed down her whole garden except for the lettuce and pumpkins. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, I don’t think she did either. She asked what she should do? My first piece of advice was to politely kill the neighbor which she chose not to do. That was probably a good decision on her part. We decided instead to just plant it all again and put a sign on the fence so that doesn’t happen again. I have to give her credit, she didn’t just throw up her hands an say I quit. When she stopped by to get some more seeds, she told me that she loves the program and is very excited to be learning all this stuff!

We have done a lot more planting at the center. We put in over 120 cayenne pepper plants, 50 habanero pepper plants, 6 rows of beets, 96 various tomato plants, countless rows of cucumber, acorn squash, zucchini, yellow squash, pumpkin, corn, potatoes, more onions, and some egg plant. We harvested a bushel of onions, 2 1/2 pecks of spinach, and a gallon of strawberries. Our purple beans are just about ready to harvest, and we have at least 1 tiny cucumber.

The bees for the participants arrived on June 2nd. I was the one to go to the post office to get them. I just knew that I would be rear ended on the way back to the center with them and would be stung a time or two. Six 3 lb. packs of bees make a lot more noise than I was expecting and I was freaking out thinking they were going to escape the boxes and kill me in the truck. It didn’t happen, obviously. I have many talents, but posthumous typing is not one of them, I don’t think.

Apparently we got some friendly bees, as I was watching and recording them being transferred into their new hives, one flew over and landed right between my eyebrows! I had to remind myself not to panic and swat at it. It just hung out there for a minute or two and flew back to the hive. I am not afraid of bees, but I do respect the fact that they could make my life a little more painful.

Our summer work groups started arriving this week, and our first crew from Youth Works came today. A few of the younger kids from Youth Works wanted to learn how to plant things. We showed them how to do squash and cucumbers. They also helped do some weeding and asked tons of questions. We love when that happens. They want to do some more tomorrow so we will oblige them. We may be teaching them the joy of trellising while we’re at it.

One piece of advice I would like to share. If you are going to be bent over in the hot, burning sun for many hours during the day, I would suggest making sure your shirt goes well past your waist line, or pour sun screen down the back of your britches. Lets just say being sunburnt to the moon and beyond is not pleasant.

As always, until next time Happy Growing.