BRING IT ON 2021!  We are ready for a challenging but successful garden workout after the wintery blues. We worked throughout the winter in the high tunnel and brainstormed new creative ideas for 2021. At the end of fall, we were blessed with many starter plants of cabbage, broccoli, collards, cauliflower and started rows of beets, carrots, variety of lettuces, we planted them all in the high tunnel.  We researched winter crops and decided to go for it. It was a slow process but now that it is warming up everything is growing. In February we planted peas in the high tunnel that are now starting to grow too.


St. Vincent Mission Garden Program was blessed with a greenhouse through a grant. Mother nature had caused a blow from the wind, but no storm we can not fix. We will have it up and start planting starters to provide for our participates. I was blessed with a part-time job for two months in the fall with the Census. My husband built me a 10 by 48 heated greenhouse on the side of our garage with my earnings.


St. Vincent Mission’s intern Jeriaka Stapp is a resident from Job Corps. She has been working with us as a team player until Job Corps opens back up next week. We went to a local neighbors home to haul manure, it was muddy and we got stuck. Therefore, Jeriaka entertained herself with their chicken. Their pony got lose and we were chasing it everywhere, it sure was exciting. We hauled manure while help was on it’s way.


This is Chuck Castle, one of our team players husband. We received a last minute call from David Crisp that works for the City of Prestonsburg stating that they had the back hole up where we get the manure on top of Stone Crest mountain.  Chuck volunteered to go with me with his truck and load up all we can to place at the garden that Jeanette (another team player) donated to the mission to help provide more food to the community in the pantry. When we arrived at the garden we walked on it to see if it was solid enough to drive on. Well little did we know our bodies weight isn’t the same as two trucks. Yes, we ended up getting stuck in the middle of the garden. Jennett’s boyfriend came to our rescue and pulled us both out. What a mission we have been experiencing, never a dull moment with the preparation for gardening. The following week Steve Slone (my hubby) volunteered to help me spread out the manure and the lime in the donated garden.

This is Lawana Dowda (my mom), she moved to Kentucky 3 years ago.  She has been enjoying gardening with all of us.  Mother nature decided to blow the wind our way, my mom has come to our rescue. She has helped start seeds for the mission’s gardens in our heated greenhouse. We were blessed with a big donation of seeds from Mountain Comps Greenhouse. She helped bag up loose seeds in zip lock bags that needed to be separated to hand out to our participates. Serenity Cole (my granddaughter) is learning early about gardening and loving every minute of it too.


Christopher Johnson is an intern at the mission. God has sent me a hard working angel that works as hard as me and my husband did last year. Chris is eager to learn about gardening. He enjoys the out doors and hard work. He has helped me move a pallet of 50 LB bag fertilizer, tilled three gardens,  loaded 30 sheets of concert boards to fix a driveway to be able to unload stuff in our gardens. The City of Prestonsburg (David Crisp) blesses our low income housing participates with soil. Chris helped me load and St. Vincent Mission’s Director (Erin Bottomlee) and intern Jeriaka helped up unload it when we returned to the mission. He has been a really great team player at the mission in all areas needed. I’m praying he don’t run away with all the hard work that consists with gardening. If our garden’s get bumpy, we will till it down.


Grow Appalachia Coordinator greeted former and new participates to the program. She scheduled pick up following CDC guidelines. She provided materials & a long handle tool to get their 2021 garden party rolling.  We weren’t able to meet in February for our in person class at The Floyd County Extension Office. We posted a video from the Eventbrite videos on “How to Plan a garden” & “How to Plant a garden” on our Grow Appalachia face book page. We are in the process of downloading videos on DVD’s for the participates that are unable to attend the meetings. We are working on seeking donations from the local lumber companies to help us provide raised beds for our participates that are unable to maintain a field garden.

On March 15, 2021 we had our first in person meeting at the Floyd County Extension Office. Keith Hackworth went over “How to Plan & Plant a garden for the new participates that attended. He went ahead and

Last year we had tried something new to help eliminate weeds. We placed woodchips in the walkways, that was a success, but we still fought the weeds around our plants. This year we are trying the black row cover over all three gardens. The coordinator was blessed with 4 interns to help mount up rows and place the row cover on it. Never a dull moment working in a garden. Stay tune for next months episode.