PLANT WITH LOVE, WATCH MIRACLES GROW!
Jeannette Mullins is a former intern and a dedicated volunteer that has blessed the mission with a 90 x 88 garden plot donation. This generous donation will make the third garden plot for the mission to share with the community and sell at The Farmer’s Market. We have all worked as a team getting this garden ready and planted for harvest. Steve Slone, a garden intern at the mission, re-tilled the garden as we sowed seeds and planted starter plants. Steve, Paul and Giovanni–two more interns at the mission–and my dad Robert Taylor has helped volunteer to put up posts to place electric wire around the garden to deter critters from enjoying our harvest before we do. We have planted just about anything you can think of; that’s how blessed we are with having the extra plot to grow in this year.
Preparing to sell at Farmer’s Market
Jeanette Mullins, Owen Lewis, and Greg Wagner have been canning last year’s harvest. They have canned Apple Butter, Apple Sauce, Hot Pepper Jelly, Marinated Bell Peppers, Monkey Butter, Sweet Pepper Jelly, and different varieties of bread. They help out in the gardens, the food pantry, and will be helping sell everything at the Farmer’s Market, too. I’m looking forward to seeing what all new recipes they come up with to sell. I’m so blessed to have dedicated volunteers helping take a load off my plate.
Community garden visits social distancing style!
My first community garden visit was at Warco Housing. Due to the Covid 19 pandemic, we were not allowed to meet in a group setting. Therefore, I went to each apartment to deliver their container pots, soil, seeds, tomatoes & pepper plants for them to grow on their patios. We only had two participants sign up this year. One of my participants was under the weather, so I gave Jerry his pots and plants. Jerry has taught his granddaughter the importance of growing her own food. She enjoys watching it all grow.
My second community garden visit was at Creekside Housing. There was only three that signed up to the program this year. Destinee was excited to receive her container pots with soil, tomatoes & pepper plants, and extra seeds to start growing with her children. Her children enjoy gardening with their mom. Another participant, Jerrica, wasn’t able to be home at the time of my visit. Destinee will be delivering her supplies to her since they are neighbors. The third participant, Barb, was unable to exit her apartment. I planted the tomatoes & peppers in her container pots and left them on her porch.
My third community garden visit was at Ivy Creek Housing. There were only two participates that signed up for the program. Janice mentioned how much gardening is very therapeutic for her. She was excited to receive the tomatoes & peppers and extra seeds to grow on her porch. Margie was not available; she asked me to leave her stuff on her porch, and she will get them when she returns.
My fourth community garden visit was at Grisby Housing. They have a big garden that three families work on together. We tilled their garden, gave them a voucher, seeds, rain barrel, and twine to get them started on their journey. There were four families that signed up for the container program. They all received their container pots, soil, seeds, tomatoes & pepper plants.
I have advised everyone that it’s not too late to start a garden. Therefore, if they hear of anyone interested in our program, to have them contact me. I am hoping to start building raised beds for the ones that are not able to get out and garden anymore. I will be contacting housing and nursing home to see if they would allow above-ground raised beds without destroying the lawn.
On my way to garden hollers, through rollercoaster mountains.
I have been through many challenges as the new Grow Appalachia Coordinator. My worst nightmare as been the insect attacks in the gardens. I have been bitten by deer flies, swelling up both of my arms for a few days. Now a week later, I am still trying to cure whatever bit me during my garden visits that have blistered. I have bandaged them up and continued my garden journey. Many of our participates mentioned that they were really enjoying the stirrup hoe we provided to them. I have enjoyed learning and helping all my participates with their gardens. I believe this is my new calling in life.
(Picture 1) Eric has a beautiful garden up the hill from his home. He raises farm animals that help with fertilization. I saw some white stuff around the base of his plants and asked him what that was for. He replied that he uses cotton stuffing from teddy bears for mulching. He mentioned that he is preparing another garden plot for next years harvest.
(Picture 2) Autumn is a new participant this year. She said that she needed something to keep her and her children busy during the shutdown. They were all working together in the garden as I arrived. They have planted beans, corn, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, and even a few blueberry bushes and peach trees. She mentioned she is having a little trouble keeping birds from eating the berries. I advised her that I will see about getting some netting for her to put over them. The kids said they really enjoy helping their mom and can’t wait to eat everything.
Mary is a retired undercover police officer. Mary was blessed from St. Vincent Mission with a ramp. She was so excited that we came out to till her garden and built her a raised bed where she can stay on her porch and water her harvest. We filled it with soil, planted her starter plants in her garden, and put plants in her new raised bed to get her started. Her care provider will continue to maintain her harvest this growing season. This is my goal for next year too.
Ruth has been on our program for two years now. She said she does not believe in spacing in the garden. She has limited space around her house; therefore, she plants whatever she can that will fit in the spot available. She has just about everything from veggies to fruit trees around her house. She just turned 80 years old and will continue to garden till the Lord sends her home.
Erica is a new participant to our program this year. She has been working in her parents’ garden for years. She decided it was time to grow her own family garden. She lives next to her parents who are on our program. She gave me a tour of her and her parents’ garden and a little of their trail up to the top of the mountain. No, I did not make it to the top of the tour! She did invite me to a later tour on my free time. I advised her that it would be good to take St. Vincent’s out of state volunteers on a tour when they are in town. She said her father has made it into a theme trail throughout the years. They all work together on their gardens. They have a variety of veggies and fruit trees.
In picture 2 you would think by looking at it that it’s just a little house with frogs for decorating. Well it’s really their trash bin to keep animals out. The left side of the roof opens up to place your trash in.
In picture 3 her father made a walnut cracker and the walnut falls out after turning it.
I have enjoyed and learned so much for my garden visits. I have learned that everyone has different ways of gardening. There is no right way. We all experiment. I have many more to share but will continue on next month’s blog. Don’t miss it!