April was a busy month for our program. The warmer weather had us feeling like we were all behind in our gardening chores. May is now here, but the April showers are still with us and the temperatures are plunging into the low 40s tonight. Now I’m feeling that it’s ok that our gardens aren’t all planted yet.
Our experiment growing our own plants in our makeshift greenhouse at the Christian Care Center has been a productive and learning experience. We were able to grow eggplant for all of our Grow Appalachia participants. We also grew some heirloom tomatoes and herbs to sell at the farmer’s market to raise money for our programs. We are growing various other plants for our demonstration and food bank gardens.
We’ve had some fun and very interesting Grow Appalachia programs in April in addition to our seed and plant distribution meetings. Bill Best from Berea, KY spoke to a packed room of our participants about old variety pole beans seeds that he has collected, grown and saved over the years. He was fascinating to listen to and shared so many stories. He encouraged us to grow heirloom varieties and had several books, bean seeds, and heirloom Vinson Watts tomato plants available to purchase at the meeting.
Our participants also had an opportunity to inoculate oak and maple logs with mushroom spawn. Doug Stephens provided a whole trailer of logs for the event. Pam Gibson, from Cumberland Falls state park, taught us how to grow our own mushrooms. Participants were able to take home 3 logs that they had inoculated with shiitake, oyster, and wine cap mushroom spawn. A super group of volunteers tirelessly drilled holes in the logs so the rest of the participants could plug them with spawn. I think everyone had a great time learning and fellowshipping at this event.
This early May rain is slowing down everyone’s ability to get our warm season seeds and plants in the ground. However, I’m savoring these cooler days of spring and enjoying the first strawberries, greens and radishes of the season. So far, this spring has provided good growing conditions for our early spring gardens. Hopefully the soil will dry out soon so we can get our next round of seeds and plants in the ground.