Sunflowers and Gratitude!

This has been the year for sunflowers!  They’re growing over 14 feet tall and hardy!  We handed out seeds at the beginning of the season and people pushed them into the warm soil and waited…….


………. and they were certainly rewarded!!  God delivered a power packed display full of seeds!! The bees were rewarded, our eyes have been rewarded, and the birds will be rewarded soon!  Past, Present, and Future!

Bonnie Hale, and her husband, Durward, especially loved their sunflowers this year.  Bonnie sent me a note of thanks saying, “Thanks to Grow Appalachia for sunflower seeds that we planted in honor of Duward’s brother, Clifford, who died in February.  Clifford and I had an on-going competition/mutual admiration for growing sunflowers for about 20 years.  Since he was a veteran and avid volunteer at his local AmVets organization, this American Giant variety seemed appropriate to honor him as one of our favorite veterans!   I believe he is enjoying this sunflower season!
He was appreciated  in his community for taking his excess garden harvest to Vermilion, Ohio AmVets Post for give away.  At his funeral, one of the neighbors sent a veggie basket complete with sunflower and packets of sunflowers seeds, instead of flowers.”

It’s been a good year for our gardens.  We’ve canned, frozen, and dehydrated our bounty.  We’ve sold, shared, and bartered our bounty.  It’s a joy to see gardeners grow in their confidence with gardening! It’s like the old adage goes: ” You can give a person some veggies and they’ll eat for a day, but if you teach them to garden, they’ll eat for life!!”  (Little different twist on the old fishing adage.).


Our gardens have brought back cherished memories of our grand and great grandparents gardens. The giddy smiles as some of our older gardeners hold up their canned goods, so proud of what they’ve “put up” for the winter months ahead. Hearts swell at the memories and the stories begin to be told of days gone by.  A garden is always surrounded by good memories, even on years when the weeds grew as tall as the ‘young’uns’.


Grow Appalachia has afforded us the luxury of having this bounty and we shout a loud “THANK YOU!!”  Without this program, so many Eastern Kentuckians wouldn’t have been able to start a garden in their backyards, communities, and neighborhoods this year. Our harvests are beginning to pile in now and it’s drawn us closer to our neighbors and it’s made sitting at the table so much more enjoyable.

St. Vincent Mission celebrated its 50th year in the community this year and Grow Appalachia has helped make it a more deeply rooted partnership.

Berea College’s Grow Appalachia program has been an incredible blessing to so many and we are truly thankful. Now, as we tuck our fall seeds into the ground, we look forward to a continued harvest in the months to come. Greens!