Spring is Finally Here!

Greetings from Appalachian Sustainable Development!

Grow Your Own programming is in full swing here in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia. We’re preparing to offer summer plants this week and next week including a plethora of tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants. Summer seed will include white half runners, rattlesnake preacher beans, squash, and much more.

The slow, wet spring delayed tilling service by several weeks, but our tilling contractor has been a rock-star taking advantage of these warm and dry days to get as many gardens tilled as possible. We are equally proud and grateful for our site coordinators that deliver the goodness of gardening to each of our sites.

Everyone is going above and beyond to make this program great and we are so appreciative.

We are trialing several new (to us) varieties this season at the request of a few returning and enthusiastic gardeners.

Galine Eggplant
Odessa Market Sweet Peppers
Hinkelhatz Hot Peppers
Damsel Tomato
Goddess Pepper

We’ll keep you updated on how these plants perform and taste! In other news, we’ve been fortunate to have the expertise of Ben Casteel, Instructor of Horticulture at Virginia Highland’s Community College, take on workshop instruction at Sullivan County Public Library. He even brought in his soil blocking equipment to expose participants to the benefits of starting seed in soil blocks as opposed to plastic inserts. After his plant sale, Mr. Casteel donated all of his extra brassicas and onions to Grow Your Own.

Red Bud Farms continues to support our gardeners with worm castings and compost. Market Gardener, Christy Junge of Bushel and a Peck Farm, shared this testimonial and photo of her lettuce beds planted with worm castings.

“I am passing on a picture of my lettuce bed after using the worm castings when I planted my starts. The lettuce and spinach beds look awesome this year! Feel free to send the picture on to Red Bud Farm that is providing the worm castings with my thanks and praise of how good they are!”

It has been a busy season, but it is just the way we like it. Below are some photos from our last workshop, enjoy!

About the Author:

Michelle has a strong family tradition of growing food, preserving it, and cherishing the outdoors. A native of Maynardville, TN, she relocated to the tri-cities area in 2015 and found ASD, started volunteering and now works to instill the wonders of growing with folks from all walks of life. She resides in Bristol, VA on a leased plot of land where she and her husband hope to turn their farming dreams into a reality. Together, they have three dogs, three cats, and two charming goats.

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