From Yvonne Scott, Program Coordinator, in Wolfe County, I can say how pleased I am that we’ve had a couple of days without rain. For all our families, this will surely be the most challenging garden they’ve ever had to manage. At the same time, after this summer, I intend to give them all “Accomplished Gardener” status just for hanging there and not pulling it up after the first or second flood overtook their hard work. Some are seeing blossom end rot and a few have blight on their tomatoes. Most are asking for and researching for organic ways to deal with everything. This is so rewarding to me as it shows they have a desire to forgo chemicals even under the harsh realities of too much water, high humidity and battling weeds (for those who didn’t mulch.)For the few who did mulch, they are quite relieved. Without cardboard paths and mulch, there was no going into the garden for days or maybe a week to check on produce or disease or tighten up the tomatoes. More grateful are they that made raised rows and mulched and laid down cardboard paths. Even those systems weren’t enough for one gardener whose flooded garden required a drainage ditch between raised beds, a 20 foot section of 3″ PVC running parallel to the garden to a ditch, a funnel and a coffee can to help her pull off over 500 gallons of standing water. Where there is a will, there IS a way!
And regardless of the weather, the harvest numbers are coming in and building. I’m excited to meet again on July 23rd and pick up their harvest tallies for the past 30 days. From what I’ve seen and heard, there have been some successes that overshadowed the heartache of seeing all that work underwater or blown over. Our program that night is Canning and Preserving the Harvest, making salsa and dried apples to inspire them.
Fall is coming on sooner than we could have imagined just a few weeks ago so we’re going to buckle down and get ready for putting in some cool weather crops. I do believe I will have a lot more takers this time around when I ask how many want to use Agribon and make some raised rows. I have also heard from a few that they would like more raised beds for fall. Hopefully we can make one up at least for a few more families. All in a day’s work at Grow Appalachia in Wolfe County, KY.