New tools and old challenges

I  journeyed to Bledsoe, Kentucky this week to pick up some trapezoid hoes from blacksmith J.D. Napier.  I gave our new participants the choice of a scuffle hoe or a trapezoid hoe and ended up requesting eight from Mr. Napier.  While I was there, I was able to snap his picture with the 6500 anvil he created.  I think it’s fair to call it the heaviest anvil in the world.

   He also showed me a trapezoid hoe that his father had made over 60 years ago.  So not only are our participants getting a well-built garden implement, they’re getting something handcrafted and of heirloom quality.

Our folks had nothing but nice things to say about the hoes when they picked them up.

One of our participants has been dealing with bean anthracnose, a common fungal disease that looks like bug bites and can be carried from one season to the next via saved seeds.  She was able to use some of the Nordox as a preventative, and I also found a hot water treatment for future saved seeds from Virginia Cooperative Extension.  According to “Anthracnose on Snap Beans” (Publication 450-719), you can soak your heirloom seeds for 15 hours in water that’s between 64 and 72 degrees F, then follow that with a 25-minute soaking in water that’s 117 degrees F.  This will reportedly kill the anthracnose fungus without impacting seed germination.

We have a lot coming up in July, with the mandatory Heart-Healthy Cooking workshop, as well as two optional events.  One of these is Entry-Level Vegetable Marketing, comprised of information collected by Virginia State University.  We’ll also be doing the first of several scheduled “Garden Walks,” in which myself and some of our local Master Gardeners and Master Naturalists will visit a garden with our group to discuss whatever may catch our eyes:  edible weeds, beneficial insects, troubleshooting of disease and pest issues, trellising ideas, etc.

 

 

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