As to be expected, the spring and summer months have absolutely flown by. To date, the 2015 PMSS Grow Appalachia program includes 45 families with a direct impact of over 200 individuals. At this point we have plowed numerous gardens, distributed seed, transplants, fertilizer, organic pesticide and fungicide as well as canning supplies to participants. We have also offered six educational workshops on topics such as garden planning/planting, GAP training/market readiness, small farm marketing principles, rain barrel making, organic garden maintenance and food preservation/healthy cooking. The turnout for all workshops has been great with a high of 50 attendees for the garden planning workshop and an average of 38 for all workshops. Our most recent workshop was two weeks ago. We discussed healthy options for food preservation and demonstrated how to pressure can low acid yellow tomatoes. Participants got a firsthand view of water bath canning, pressure canning and dehydration methods.
Looking forward into late summer and early fall, end of season garden preparation will soon begin as well as fall garden planting. Cover crop and fall vegetable seed will be supplied and additional workshops will be held pertaining to advanced food preservation, mushroom production, beginner bee keeping, season extension and high tunnel construction.