The gardening season is off to a slow start with very late seed deliveries this year after a cold and icy February. Finally, now in mid-March a little bit of the warmer weather is starting to come our way. Hopefully, the seeds are not that far behind.
While we wait for the soil to warm, we have worked with our gardeners to provide them with guidance about garden planning and garden planting. This year with our ability to do in-person workshops restricted by Covid 19 for the second year in a row, we have had to be creative in providing the program support that the workshops provide. Adding to the issue is the fact that we are a very rural programming site, with satellite internet that doesn’t always work well with Zoom, Skype, Meet Now, or any of half a dozen other virtual meeting options because of bandwidth constraints.
This has led us to work with a couple of options that take into account our constraints, people’s schedules, and the fact that not everyone is comfortable with or has the capacity to use a computer:
1) We have started a Facebook group specifically for our gardeners as a way to reach out to us and to each other to ask questions, share successes as well as challenges, and to share links to gardening videos and other gardening educational tools.2) For those gardeners without internet access, we are in the process of making copies of gardening videos that they can play on their DVD players.
We have been lucky enough to have other Grow Appalachia programs share links to videos that they have developed for their gardeners, and have found written information as well as videos on various websites including Johnny’s Seeds.
Our gardeners seem to be enjoying this new outreach method, and have given us a thumbs-up on posts. Our first posted gardening video had 51 people watch it in the first three days.
Our Grow Appalachia friends in Wayne and Cabell Counties (Lacy Davidson and Lisa Bell) have invited our gardeners to view their first garden planning workshop earlier this week. We had over 30 of our gardeners check it out. We are looking forward to viewing additional workshops with them as the garden season begins in earnest. We are grateful for their invitation to participate.
– Marcelle St. Germain