Happy Groundhogs Day from Abingdon VA!

“If Candlemas Day be fair and bright
Winter will have another fight.
If Candlemas Day brings cloud and rain,
Winter won’t come again.”

Here in Abingdon, bright blue skies and sunshine fill the day.  Guess we’re in for  several more weeks of winter.

Winter laughs

But that didn’t stop us from seeding flats of onions!  5 students with special needs from Abingdon High School gathered at the Treadwell-Jones Greenhouse at Virginia Highlands Community College to sift soil, add amendments, fill flats and seed 9,900 New York Early White Onions for our 50 participants this year.  The 33 flats of white onions will soon be joined by 15 flats of red onions (to be seeded next week).  The brassicas will be seeded next, then onto peppers and tomatoes and the race is on.  It’s only Mid-Winter but our thoughts are totally on spring and summer production.

Dirty Hands Preparing flats for soil


White Onion Seeding Group

Thanks to Braydon, Brooke, Billy, Andrew and Gavin for a productive and dirty morning!

We have a new scale for measuring seed. The small scale worked great, giving students the ability to weigh seed rather than guess at the 300 seed amount needed for each community flat.  Seeds were weighed and placed into small cups for the seeder to sprinkle onto each flat of soil.  It was challenging to get the right measurement of seeds at times, testing patience and a steady hand to scoop seeds.

Using the scale to weigh onion seed             Onion Flat at Seeding








The scale will come in handy next week as we break down the bulk seed that we purchased into small, medium and market sized seed packets.  Our volunteer support at Emory & Henry College is busy creating labels for each of our seed packets.  Students are learning first hand thru research about the diverse array of seeds that are out there and getting a feeling for what it takes to grow each of them, such as spacing requirements, ideal soil temperatures, and days till germination.


We hosted our first Growers Meeting last week; introducing 7 new Market growers to the program.  These folks are part of our Virginia Beginner Farmer Rancher program thru Virginia Tech. Each of the growers is building a Business Plan thru the program to specifically market produce at local farmer’s markets, restaurants, kitchens, and CSA’s.

Exciting time of year.  Hope you all survive the next few weeks of winter!

Deni Peterson, ASD Grow Your Own Manager