The weather is finally starting to calm down, let the growing begin. We have used black plastic for the whole garden this year to eliminate weeds. This year we have 13 rows for the sunny side and 8 rows for the shady side garden, plus, fence for our peas for longer harvest. We have planted a variety of tomatoes 4 rows, 3 rows of beans in between the tomatoes rows to help with nitrogen for tomatoes. We will be companion planting for the tomatoes with basil, a row of cucumbers with Dill, a row of squash & zucchini with Oregano, 2 rows of variety peppers, planted hot peppers in between to eliminate pests too.
We will be planting beets, carrots, turnips, and variety of leafy greens on the shady side of the garden with companion planting to help eliminate pests. We have horseradish, 5blackberries, 30 blueberries, 8 beds of strawberries, 9 grapes, 3 pear, 4 figs, 4 hazel nut, and 2 graft apple trees that were given to us from Keith Hackworth at the Floyd County Extension office after our last class meeting. 
Last year we were blessed with a donated garden plot from one of our co-workers. We will be planting tomatoes, peppers, corn, beans, and a variety of melons and squash vines. We learned from our mistake last year with all the vines going wild at the mission. We had to make arches to contain them all.
Chris Johnson (Intern) geared up and we were ready to hit the road and till away. We tilled 5 plots in a few hours and we were blessed by a co-worker’s brother that donated his time and tractor to till 8 big plots for us that took a few hours too. What a blessing, keeping us from having to do it with our small tillers. After all the tilling was done, Chris was blessed with a full time job. It’s sad to see him go he was a great worker, but happy for him on his new journey in life. The internship program at the mission is temp and a stepping stone for them.
The Home Health Care Program partnered up with Grow Appalachia this year. We went out and tilled up their little garden plot for them. They advised us that we will not be able to interact with the residence due to Covid 19. She will be sending me pictures of the residences planting and harvesting out of their garden this season. We are so happy they are able to garden again.
Riverview nursing home partnered with Grow Appalachia this year too. She was so excited to start a garden for the residences this year. She said they have been asking about having one and now they do. She will be sending pictures of the residences planting and harvesting too.
Here are a few before and after pictures of other tilling jobs we did for our participates home gardens.
Lenora is one of our new Grow Appalachia Participates this year. She is legally blind therefore, she wanted her garden to be right next to her back door porch steps. She said it would give her easier guidance to her garden. We worked as a team, he cut while I tilled listening to my music.
We have neighborhood kids out of school that have been looking for something to do. They came to help in the garden at the perfect time. I believe God sent them to me while I was in need after Chris had left on his new life journey. They did the little things on our list that drive me crazy to get done. They weeded, transplanted strawberries into the strawberry beds. They didn’t realize how much hard work it took to raise a garden. We worked together as a team and repay them with store credits. Two boys got a bike for working 2 hours helping us shovel woodchips. Two of the other boys worked two hours and got a pair of Jordan sneakers. They were really happy and said they learned a lot about raising a garden. They will be coming back weekly to help us harvest and probably enjoy eating all our hard work together. They sure were a blessing to get things done.
Robert Taylor (my dad) moved here from Florida 3 years ago. When he has time he will come volunteer and help in the garden or whatever is needed at the time to get done.
Now that Chris has moved on, Linsey (Pantry Intern) has been volunteering to help out in the garden. Linsey was granted extra hours at the mission, therefore, she is the pantry and garden intern until they find another garden intern. She is a great worker and leader. She is studying to become a teacher. She will be guiding the neighborhood kids next time they come to work in the garden. She is getting the taste of how much hard work raising a garden is too. Hopefully she can teach her students when she becomes a teacher in the near future.
While out in the garden we discovered that the asparagus was growing fast and ready to harvest. We harvest them and Jeanette fried them up for our lunch that day. They are delicious too.
Our last class meeting Keith Hackworth blessed us with two graft apple trees to plant at the mission. We were trying to decide where we were going to plant them. Well one day that week we arrived at work and the fence was down and the two dogwood trees were uprooted from the ground. There was a speeding truck that lost control and came through our fence and the two dogwood trees that were uprooted helped stop the truck from crashing into out warehouse. Guess where we will be planting our two apple trees now. We don’t even have to dig the hole, it was done for us. By the way the driver was not hurt but I do believe he got arrested.
A lady in the neighborhood donated a few flowers to the mission. We cleaned up a section entering the mission and planted them all there before they died on us. We started herbs in pots to transplant in garden soon.
Our last class meeting Keith taught on using black plastic, tarps, drip irrigation and seed saving. Afterwards, we provided black plastic and a few tarps to some of the participates. While we were on our journey tilling gardens we ran into one of our new participates. She wanted us to come see her garden while in the neighborhood. She has a scarecrow named Betsy, she dresses her up in the clothes that she buys from the mission’s store. She uses her outhouse for her tool shed and a plastic barrel for her mother’s strawberries so her mother can harvest them easier. She canned Redbud & Dandelion jams. She gave us a jar each to try it out. It was delicious too.