Happy July everyone! Lori here from sunny and or soggy West Virginia. I hope everyone in the Grow Appalachia family has made it through these awful stormy weather patterns we have been having lately. After being here for a few devastating floods, my heart goes out to those who have been similarly effected, and thankful that we seemed to miss the brunt of it.

I will give Mother Nature her due this time, she has made our gardens here flourish. It has been hot during the day and the rains and storms have come in the evenings making great growing conditions for us and our participants.

We got to harvest some yard long beans over the past week or so. We planted them because we were skeptical that they really got that big. The longest so far was right at 24 inches. They could have grown some more but they were touching the ground and we didn’t want them to get rotten, or become a tasty treat for our demon pig. We still have been unable to keep his porkiness contained.  Of course the next thing to do was try them. I have never tasted another green bean quite like them. It was delicious! Most of us like eating them raw so that’s what we tried first. Next step was to cook them. Oh my, they were even better cooked. If you have never tried yard long beans, we highly recommend doing so. It doesn’t take many to feed several people which makes them even more attractive. The only down side I can see to them is that when one is smaller and falls from the plant, is that they kind of resemble a snake. Oh yes I was frightened by a bean.

Our participants are so excited about the things that they have grown and harvested so far. I am hoping to have stories from them for next time. They are also sending pictures from their little slices of veggie heaven which can be seen on our Facebook page under the Garden Program album. I have more to upload to it. Several are looking forward to next year and have friends that want to participate as well. One participant even wants to start a canning co-op that can be used by anyone that wants to do it. We have offered her the use of our kitchen and equipment because there is a lot of folks that want to do it.

There has been no crazy calamities this time, which is great but sort of sad too. I love sharing the ridiculousness that is us.

Only one problem has surfaced on our part. We were given use of a large area at the entrance to our little community by the WV Housing Fund. We found out after we plowed it up that we couldn’t plant in it yet because Appalachian Power needs a place to land their helicopter that they are using to cut trees. That’s not too much of a problem because there is still plenty of time to plant and grow things. The bad part is that some people with no home training had gone down there with ATV’s and tore it all up and made huge mud holes in it. We have a policy that says no ATV’s, but never really enforced it unless someone was doing wrong. Thanks to these couple of idiotic individuals, no one is allowed to have an ATV on the property. I’m just glad that we hadn’t planted anything down there yet. We would have had 3 brand new very life-like scarecrows!

We decided to plant in everything we could get our hands on. There are tires full of beans, squashes, and cucumbers, and old refrigerators and dryer drums full of lettuce, cabbage, and more squash and cucumbers. If it held dirt it is growing something!

Our volunteers from the Youth Works program have done a great job weeding, planting and trellising. They even did a mystery garden box. They took a bunch of seeds and the compatibility chart and went crazy. I can’t wait to see what we end up with.  We are so blessed to have them coming in each week.

Here’s to a great season so far. Thanks for reading.