Greetings All! Hope everyone has been enjoying the last few days of sunny, dry weather. I know we have! The last month has been full of ups and downs for our project. We harvested our first bit of produce just over a month ago, then the rains came, continued, and was followed by still more rain. Just over a week ago, we got 4 inches of rain in 2 days! Needless to say, we have not had to worry about irrigation, as most folks in the Mid-Atlantic and Mid-West. I guess you could say we are all in the “same boat”.
It would seem that this was a great time to have a high tunnel, since our high tunnel has done amazingly well. With good ventilation and protection from the elements, it has out produced our open field by leaps and bounds.
One bit of sunshine is this rainy month was the training weekend we held in Ripley, WV. Leveraging our Grow Appalachia Funds with a generous grant from Farm Credit of the Virginians, we were able to create a wonderful weekend of training for 10 Veterans and their families. We conducted training on Soil sampling, Soil preparation and maintenance, crop and site selections,Beekeeping, Food Safety, and Marketing and Branding. So much good information was shared and learned plus we got to spend time with the Veterans in a relaxed, family setting. The kids were able to swim, play outside, and color for hours. There was no TV or internet- so it was truly a retreat.
So, what’s next? Planning for the rest of the year, in a do-over kind of plan for the fields. It looks like we have lost just about everything either from the water coming off the hills, standing water, or disease. The field is a mess with plastic everywhere, not to mention what was the driveway above the field. We are assessing the best place to start the preparation of the fall garden and will be planting it in August after it is ready.
We are also planning our next training day, which is likely to be focused on beekeeping, since there was a request from just about everyone for more information. Our beekeeper extraordinaire, Ed Forney, did a wonderful job helping folks understand the basics and took the time, several hours in fact, to answer questions. He was both inspirational and a great teacher. We look forward to our next class with him.
We will be holding our canning and cooking classes in the near future as well, since there will be much fresh, local foods available. If not ours, then our neighbors, right? We like to promote local foods since it helps our communities and we can get to know the farmers.