Maria here in Williamson, WV. It has been quite some time since I blogged (About a month) and I am so so excited to share some updates with you. It has been an extremely productive year so far, and I am very proud and impressed with our gardeners. We have expanded to new sites, and our older gardeners have really become independent and are growing beautiful gardens.

Two partnerships that we formed this year that have already made our site ten times more successful include WV Extension Service and Growing Warriors. We began working with the extension service to start a Master Gardener program last year and had an astonishing 29 people sign up. For vets and gardeners that wanted to participate in the program but were unable to afford the $90 class fee we gave stipends so that they could join the class.  We are now six weeks into the class.  With Growing Warriors, a vets to Ag program that started in Kentucky, we are the first West Virginia Site. Our site coordinator, Jason Linkenhoker, has done an awesome job of recruiting FOUR young veteran growers to be a part of the Sustainable Williamson Grow Appalachia site.

For this blog post, I wanted to both share some pictures from the work of our vets (becuase I am so proud) and also share some lessons from this weeks master garden lesson, led by the one and only Lewis Jett.

Lessons of a  master gardeners

  1. As Grow Appalachia headquarters has stressed over and over: copper fungicide and spinonsad can be an organic gardeners best friend. Since many of our master gardeners are also involved in our community garden- it was nice for Lewis Jett to emphasize the importance of many of the organic sprays (some of the extension agents tend to remain pretty neutral still as you may know.)
  2. He stressed the importance of curing vegetables for storage, which many of our gardeners do
  3. Lewis Jett told us that we should now start our fall crops indoor, and shared an INVALUABLE resource, of vegetable varieties recommend for West Virginia (sorry for those of you in other states) and I wanted to share the ones that we just purchased to start for our fall crop:
  • Brussels Sprouts: Jade Cross, Prince Marvel
  • Cabbage: Bronco, Brace, Charmant, Cheers, Savoy Ace
  • Cauliflower: Snow Crown, Cheddar (orange), Graffiti (purple)
  • Pumpkins: Magic Lantern, Aladdin, Gladiator, Super Herc, Field Trip
  • Broccoli: Gypsy, Arcadia, Lieutenant, Imperial, Major, Captain, Del Rico (side shoots), Everest, Green Magic (side shoots), sessantina Grossa (broccoli raab)

*If anyone would like to see the complete list, which includes more than 30 different vegetables, PLEASE feel free to e-mail me!

Work done by vets:

vets work 2

One of our new garden sites, led by vets, in Matewan WV

growing warriors 1

One high tunnel at the community gardens that is maintained by Growing Warriors

growing warriors 2 growing warriors 5 verts works