Big Ugly, Step by Step
Our Grow Appalachia gardening season is well underway at Big Ugly Community Center and in Logan County, West Virginia. Bias Sias leads the way in Logan County and has a tall order in trying to match last year’s harvest (over 100,000 pounds of produce harvested). Marcelle St Germain is on board at Big Ugly Community Center and on two sturdy legs – which is a big improvement from the winter of 2017.
We have already had our Garden Planning and Garden Planting Workshops – fortunately the snow and ice disappeared in the morning so we were able to hold our planned events in the afternoon. Jenny Totten joined us from the Planting Workshop and her wide range of garden knowledge and common sense know how was welcomed by all.
We have about one third of our gardeners new to the program this year. All of them are from either the Harts area or the Ranger area of Lincoln County. We are sorry that we have only one returning gardener from our Boone County excursion last year. Many of those gardeners have close to an hour’s ride to make it to workshops here on Big Ugly. We certainly miss them and appreciate their participation last year as it propelled us to a record harvest season.
As always we appreciate the tremendous help from our volunteers. We had the pleasure of having a NCCC group with us on March 10, 2018. They helped sort out over 120 pounds of onion sets enabling us to give those out at our garden planting workshop. We are looking forward to having a group from Shady Springs, Maryland, who will help us sort our beans next week.
Earlham College Bonner volunteers were on hand when our potatoes arrived on Wednesday, March 14, 2018, courtesy of the Food Initiatives Project in Athens, Ohio. Participating in the potato giveaway at CFI allows us to provide our gardeners with all the potatoes they would like to grow. Our budget could not cover the cost of these potatoes if we had to pay for them all. We estimate that purchasing these potatoes would cost us in the neighborhood of at least $2,000. Bonner volunteers offloaded 3 pallets of potatoes (6,000 pounds) in less than 30 minutes. A group effort like that is a pleasure to watch.
We are trying to be patient with our March weather as the ground is too saturated to try and plant as this time. Hopefully within the month we will be able to start putting our seeds in the ground.