Even though it still feels like summer here in Williamson, WV- our gardens are finally starting to transition into fall weather. Yesterday, we had an end of the season garden clean up, featuring a celebratory bonfire with smores. Last year, we were left with a clean up of our own, as many of our gardeners simply abandoned their plots once they finished producing and did not prep for fall or winter.

This year, we spelled out very nicely in our garden registration that in order for each gardener  to get a plot next year, they were required to clean out their bed or have a cover crop by October 1. Since soil building has definitely been one of our larger challenges, we are focusing greatly only cover crops this fall. We purchased several that will be used at a couple of our sites. This includes mustard, clover and we are going to experiment with winter rye.

Some of our gardeners though were interested in fall crops, and we helped transplanted a bunch of cabbage, Brussels sprouts and broccoli. We had purchased row cover and wire hoops from Martin’s in the spring, and soon enough our gardeners will finally be able to use them. It made me so happy to see people picking turnips and turnip greens last night to take them home to try for the FIRST TIME.

garden clean up 1 garden clean up 2 garden clean up 3

Additionally, I wanted to mention one other thing that we did at the beginning of September that made me proud. In my last blog I mentioned that we were experimenting with SNAP tours: where we invite snap recipients to participate in a cooking demo and then match their SNAP purchase up to $10 to be spent on fresh fruits and vegetables.  This was one of the most rewarding things I had participated in in a while. We ended up making a couscous salad, with lots of fresh tomatoes, cucumbers and onions. It also had feta cheese, fresh herbs and a light olive oil and vinegar dressing. After we fed the individuals that had registered for the SNAP tour (12 people!) we handed out samples at the farmers market. I cannot count how many people said that they had never even heard of couscous and how much they enjoyed it. Three people came back saying they had went out and bought all the ingredients for the recipe.
faremrs market SNAP chip

and finally, check out the article that was published in the statewide newspaper the Charleston Gazette 🙂