June and July brought Eastern KY rain and August brought intense heat…we are all about extremes, or so it seems this summer! Who knows how September will go. This week the forecast shows the first signs of rain in weeks- Hallelujah!

School started two weeks ago and we have yet to have a quiet moment. We had an increase in enrollment this year, new staff members and a new Service Learning initiative created. Needless to say, things are busy, but with all good things! We are thankful to have so much positivity and energy floating around.

Our students have jumped right back into taking care of the garden. There are two returning students (one being our summer student intern, Sam) and three new students in our garden elective. I am impressed by the sense of responsibility and leadership they are already showing each morning. Some chores they have participated in so far are: watering, hoeing, weeding, transplanting fall crops, sowing cover crops and cutting up/storing vegetables for hot sauce production. 50 minutes never seems like enough time, but luckily we have been productive with what little time we do have out there.

Projects we have planned for this fall are as follows: 1.) a student designed irrigation system 2.) a 12×24 foot greenhouse and 3.) a closed system chicken coop. We hope that all three of these projects will help expand our garden project and move us one step closer to a sustainable program.

Crops we hope will take us into the fall include: broccoli, kale, turnips, parsnips, rutabagas, winter squash and onions. We have had a harder time keeping our plants healthy this summer, so we hope the fall sets a different pace. This is our first fall with high tunnels and we are excited to experiment with season extension! Another area we have been trying to focus on is soil health. Our garden sight doesn’t have the best soil and bringing nutrients and moisture into it has been a huge challenge. This fall we hope to cover our outside field with horse manure, cover crops and other nutrients that will hopefully breakdown into our soil for our spring crops!