Hello fellow gardeners!

We are entering July with a bounty of new things going on. June brought more rain and a newfound appreciation for disease prevention. Our gardeners are starting to see their first harvests come to fruition. I am excited to our harvest totals at the end of July.

Another exciting thing that is happening in July is garden visits! This year we will be visiting 50 families in the East Tennessee region. Last year we had 35 families so this is a bit of an increase. We will be making 30 min-1 hour visits with each of our families to see their gardens, answer questions, and spend some time with the people that make this program a success! July is the perfect month for garden visits because it’s in the epicenter of summer and also when weeds are the most pesky. If going out to visit inspires some weeding, then so be it.

Gardener Spotlight: 

This month we are focusing our gardener spotlight on an exuberant first year gardener named Carolyn Andrews. Carolyn has been very engaged from the get go. From volunteering to divide pest control to turning in assignments early to asking lots of questions. Not to mention, she’s also been experimenting with different forms of trellising this year. Her garden looks awesome!

Here’s an excerpt from Carolyn’s blog post:

“Participation in Build It Up (BIU) has taught me a great deal to date. I’ve learned about the importance of a garden plan and crop rotation and about the wisdom of trying to prevent (as opposed to waiting to react to) diseases and pest infestation. I’ve also learned aspects of the science of fertilizing.

I love tomatoes. And this year, BIU has convinced me of the value of pruning my tomato plants. I’ve enjoyed using the Florida weave method of trellising some of them. I’ve also experimented with various ways of trellising other veggies, including using T-stakes with Hortanova netting, a tepee, and a repurposed jungle gym.

The Build It Up handouts have also been extremely helpful and interesting. For example, a planting suggestion that stood out to me when I first read it was to plant two pepper plants together to help protect the peppers against sunscald. I followed this suggestion, and it is working well. The handouts contain many tips like this one that I look forward to sharing.

My biggest garden surprise so far has been broccoli. This year was my first year of growing broccoli and seeing what it looks like in the garden rather than in a store’s produce section. Upon the recommendation of our Build It Up leaders, I have eaten the broccoli leaves and find them oh-so-yummy. How did I get to be a senior citizen and not know about this delicacy?…” Continue reading here.



If you’re interested in reading more blogs from our gardeners, visit our blog page.