Here are a few scenes from our July Grow Appalachia activities and growers in Wise County, VA:

Sue, a second-year participant and her tomatoes.  We made the tomato cages last year from concrete reinforcement wire.

One grower made good use of a small unplanted area in her garden with an impressive bed of borage.  It’s an herb that pollinators appreciate.  And it can be added to salad for a cucumber-ish flavor.

Some of our growers want to grow potatoes, and others avoid them like the plague, due largely to a hatred of Colorado potato beetles.  However, our potato-growers have reported success with the spinosad we have available, so maybe more will take on the challenge in 2019.

A melon takes shape.

We scheduled four Garden Walks this year.  This was our first, where we visited the garden of Roger and Belinda.  Some of our local Master Gardeners and Master Naturalists joined us to help identify insects and weeds.


A huge hit this year has been the hundreds of broccoli plants donated by Virginia Department of Corrections Camp 18 in Coeburn.  Many of the growers reported never having grown broccoli before.  Most did a good job of keeping the imported cabbageworms at bay via either Bt or floating row cover.

June has a small spot in town but has made the most of it, including planting her tomatoes in last year’s compost pile.


Robert and Bonita are second-year participants, who’ve made a nice mix of conventional plots and raised beds.  Four hens, three geese, a duck and some beehives are on the site, too.

In our Garden Planning workshop, we talked quite a bit about biodiversity in the garden and how things that bloom bring in beneficials.  Here’s a nice patch of bee balm that one of the participants has going.

Iva is well-known in her neighborhood for her green thumb.  She broke her hip this winter, and many were afraid she’d have to forgo gardening in 2018, but it hasn’t slowed her down much.

Iva got two varieties of garlic from the Grow Appalachia Program last fall.  Here’s her harvest.

This was from our tomato cage building day on July 5.

The Concords look promising.


Roger and Belinda live and grow on a site that was surface-mined in the 1950s.  They grow about a half-acre of beans and have a shady spot under a weeping willow to string them.


Grace has done a lot of work to keep pests out, including a clever PVC dome to keep the birds off her blueberries and blackberries.