Spring 2020 has definitely been one for the books. This year has brought many challenges to everyone including our gardeners in our Grow Appalachia Program. One good thing about this pandemic, we have had an increase in people who are interested in gardening. Some call these panic gardeners. We are just happy to have the opportunity to help and reach out to more people who are interested in the field of gardening. This year we have a total of 42 gardeners, the most we have ever had in this program. This does bring some challenges as this means we have to be more creative in having enough funding and resources for all participants. We feel as though we are doing a good job at this. Most of our seeds were ordered and were prepackaged for the participants instead of having them go and get the seeds at various vendors. Some have still had to do this but most have picked up here at the extension office while practicing social distancing.
While the University of Kentucky has much of the staff working remotely, orders for plants or supplies are still taken by assistants and agents. Each participant then comes to the extension office and picks up their supplies at designated times or items are placed on tables that are at least a minimum of 6 feet apart for them to pick up all while still remembering to practice social distancing.
We have seen a great excitement in those who have never gardened before and with those who haven’t gardened in a few years. Each person is eager to reap the rewards of all their hard work. Our greenhouse here at the extension office has been in full swing and has produced many wonderful plants for our growers. It has definitely been hopping. Roger Mollette, our ANR agent, and Dwayne Sowards, his program assistant, have been working hard to keep up while maintaining social distancing. We hope we can all remain Healthy at Home.
Many fields have been plowed for gardens.
Here in this photo is a one of our new gardeners explaining to his granddaughter about gardening. To us, this is what this program is about, teaching and passing down the art of gardening. We hope that through this program, we can continue to teach more people and get more people involved in gardening. Spring has sprung and we hope it continues to blossom.