Greetings from Abingdon and ASD’s Grow Your Own Program.  Deni here, celebrating her last official blog as an ASD employee.

 Hard to believe that it’s November, and the season has come to a close.  Michelle and I have been busy running around, helping kids and adults reap the last benefits of their gardens and tucking them in for winter


img_20161025_153051490  img_20161025_153048434


img_20161027_121421748  img_20161027_121417839


We’ve been met with smiles and excitement as we cooked up Broccoli Morsels by the pan fulls and tossed up simple salads; enjoying the fall crop of broccoli and kale, garlic and lettuce. 


We’ve said goodbye to groups of kids we’ve been working with for years, along with new comers who are already excited to get dirty next spring.  Our high school and middle school students with special needs enjoyed a great day last week working together, and learning from each other to harvest cabbage and kale, sort bags of garlic for our GYO participants, pull out the last of the pepper plants, and sow the last seeds of cover crop before all got tilled in. 

img_20161024_165540116YWCA Tech GYRLS

   img_20161018_133439539Peer Teaching – Flower Cutting and Arrangement  Techniques  with students with special needs from local middle and high school


Peer teaching – high school and middle school students with special needs; dividing garlic for GYO participants while others work to remove fall debris

 And now, it’s time for me to turn away from helping others with their gardens and focus on my own.  Today marks the beginning of my full time flower farming operation at Blue Door Garden at 7 Maples Farm in Abingdon, VA.  A business I started with my husband 14 years ago.   I’ll think of my agricultural education experiences over the past 15 years with great fondness; (2 with the Coalition for Jobs and the Environment (ASD’s mother organization) and 13 with ASD).  The past 5 have been involved with Grow Appalachia, a program that demanded organization and data collection, tools that will last my lifetime!  I’ve met some amazing people thru my GA and GYO experience and I thank you all for your incredible support over the years. 


Wedding Bouquet, Floral Crown and Boutonniere and by Blue Door Garden


I now turn the program over to Michelle, who came out to ASD’s demonstration garden a little over a year ago as a volunteer.  She quickly became by side step and is now ready to spread her wings and fly on her own.  I’m so proud of her accomplishments and look forward to seeing how she learns in the years to come. 


Michelle, doing her cooking thing


With warm memories and gratitude,