May was a very busy month with LAHC GA! We had several meetings, workshops, and home visits.
On May 6th we had a planting meeting and potluck/cookout for participants at Dewitt School. We all brought food and planted the raised beds.
On May 10th was the regional GA meeting at ASPI. The tiller, Alice, has made several rounds to different people’s garden spots although she is still giving me trouble.
The week of May 14th was particularly busy. Monday we had the Girls Scouts planting at the Barbourville Community Garden, Thursday we had all the classes from Dewitt Elementary School helping out in the Dewitt Community Garden, and Friday we had a group of kids at Knox Central have a work day at their gardens at Knox Central.
There was more planting the next week. The gardens at Lend-A-Hand are doing well. The Knox County Farmers’ Market opened on May 26th. Our website is now live at http://www.knoxcountymarket.com/ I spent a good part of the week working on posters, fliers, and a brochure. This year we are participating in the CFA Double Dollars Program and will be doubling SNAP, WIC vouchers, and Seniors vouchers.
Now that the gardens are finally growing we look forward to even warmer weather and hopefully less rain. I should also note that on the 4th I passed my qualifying exams for my PhD! May was a very eventful month indeed!
Also, as an added bonus, here are some of Irma’s recent newspaper articles about poke and corn. Enjoy!
By Irma Gall
When is a weed a weed and when is a flower a flower or can they be both? Webster says the definition of a flower is an herb or plant cultivated for its blossom and use. Meanwhile the same dictionary defines the noun weed as a herb or plant of little value or no value which usually chokes out more desirable plants. A gardener should become an expert on knowing the difference for sure. One of my friends whose wife spent a lot of time in her garden avoided garden work by declaring, “Who can tell the difference between a weed and a flower; I just pull them all out and if it grows back, it is a weed.”
So for an example to make matters simple let us take the pokeweed. That is easy; it has the word weed right in its name. The easy to grow pokeweed is a tall, branching perennial herb that tends to be invasive and seems to choke out more desirable plants. However it does have white flowers and deep-purple berries often growing up to ten feet in height. It is a beautiful plant in the fall with its red leaves and brightly colored berries.
The berries make a red dye. How many times have people inadvertently sat on a berry in the fall and discovered it does indeed make a stain. The dried berries along with the poisonous roots are put in medicines for skin problems. Some people harvest the young shoots, boil them and eat them like asparagus.
However pokeweed has a bad reputation for being poisonous so some people go to all kinds of ways to get the poison out. The truth is the young shoots are a wholesome green and can be eaten as such. However the seeds and roots can be toxic and the old leaves are considered unwholesome. But many families consider a mess of poke in the spring a delicacy.
So I ask is the pokeweed a weed, a flower or a sought after delicacy?
By Irma Gall
Not too many years ago most of the corn fields on Stinking Creek were small areas in the best soil on the farm. Since corn was the mainstay for feed for the animals and food for the family, it was indeed an important part of life. The work was done by mule and people without the help of machinery other than the various plows pulled by the mule and guided by the farmer. A turning plow broke up the soil to be cut up by a disc. Some farmers did not have a disc so a log or even a tree top was pulled by the mule to rake the ground. Then the mule and farmer laid off the field in rows.
Now it was time for the whole family to be involved dropping the corn seed in the shallow furrows. Many times three or four seeds were dropped to assure enough corn would grow. A person young or old followed to cover the seed. Usually the whole family started quite early before the sun got hot. If the planting was successful it meant following up to pull out the extra corn down to two stalks to a hill. Even the cook often joined this group. Usually before the corn all got planted, it was time to start the tilling process. The mule and person went down through the rows of corn seedlings to plow with a tilling plow. Then once again the family followed with hoes to “hoe the corn.” It was even more important to get an early start as the sun got warmer.
At the same time this was important to be done, the garden had been planted and needed the same attention as the corn field. Since it was the source of food for the family for the winter months, it was important to get its share of attention also. A hoe was an important tool especially during the months of May and June. It was also a time the family worked together. I am sure there was some complaining by the kids but a good family worked together during this time. Morning glories and cockleburs were just some of the hateful weeds that took multiple hoeing. Even in spite of numerous cleanings those two weeds had a tendency to take over the field. In spite of the hard work many older people recall those days fondly as a family time.
The saying goes, “a family that prays together also stays together” could be said, “the family that works together stays together.” Are we missing something in today’s world?