After some rescheduling due to snow, we had our inaugural Grow Wise meeting this Monday.  We have 17 families enrolled so far, 9 of which are returning from 2017.

Wise County Master Gardener and local committee member Erica Dell spoke with the participants Monday evening about soil testing, variety selection, site layout and soil temperature.  We covered the particulars of Grow Appalachia, as well as the expectations we have of participants.  There was a lot of excitement in the room, and it’s another good mix of folks, from those attempting to supplement their income with vegetable production to those who just want a small plot for their own use.

At the Gathering in 2017, someone had suggested always including an odd vegetable or two to allow people to explore and learn about new crops.  What I settled on this year — as per an enthusiastic endorsement from Joyce, one of our other Master Gardeners — was Malabar spinach, a vining, sometimes-perennial, heat-loving green that isn’t closely related to conventional spinach.

So I’ll report back later this summer on how well our participants like that one.