We’re in our second year here as Grow Morristown. The decision has been made to cap the program at two years participation. With a two year cycle we can reach more gardeners over time. But with that, half of our twenty members will become alumni next year. The thought of “graduating” these second year families is palpably bittersweet for me. They have become our core volunteer base and have even helped mentor some first year gardeners. They are the foundation for the community that has spring up here. We’re all friends. What will we ever do without them?!

We’ll get along ok. They’re ready and our upcoming group is pretty amazing as well! They’ve gotten all they can and it’s time. Most just need to “rinse & repeat” and others have even proudly outgrown the scope of the program. Here’s one example. This family is second year and have an amazing homestead in the making.

Here’s Bill Hunt in his own words and a little video at the end.

Our 2021 growing season was our 2nd year in Grow Morristown, and It has been a great adventure all the way. We did things a little different this year from our planning to our harvesting and preserving.  Our planning had to be thought out and planned for a couple weeks prior due to our ground cover and the step up in size, We used a 6 mil woven ground cover to cover completely 2 garden areas 30v60. Each hole had to be burned into the ground cover which amounted to over 800 holes.

One garden was for corn and sunflowers for chicken feed and the other garden was our garden for our many varieties of tomatoes and peppers, we also planted cucumber, spaghetti squash, snow peas, bush beans, loofa and okra, along with our blackberry patch and 18 Jersey Giants chickens for eggs, and 25 Cornish cross for meat we planned everything to fill our pantry and freezers for the year. We have already started to plan for next year to include new crops, drip irrigation system, and a third garden area just for corn.

Although we planted everything as we should, we still had some educational setbacks. Our corn and sunflower garden didn’t germinate except for maybe 5 stalks of corn, we suspect birds was the unplanned culprit so we will address this issue next year when we plant, with that said, we had some awesome success. Our 70 tomatoes plants exploded and so did our peppers, as to the day of writing this blog we have grown 560 lbs. of food on our little homestead. And folks I have to say I will never ever plant a garden without this ground cover, I can’t express how much time it has saved me in weeding alone, the longest it took me to weed the garden was 20 minutes, it works wonders!

Our chickens also produce eggs very well on average a dozen a day, but they have kind of slowed down here the last week or so because of the heat. Our meat birds grew very fast and are ready for harvesting, in just 8 weeks they are ready for the freezer. We did have a raccoon and a possum try to get into our coop, but I was able to capture them before any damage was done. Our little homestead is really paying off, its a lot of work, but well worth the effort! We will be forever thankful of Grow Morristown and Grow Appalachia for sharing their knowledge and support.

Happy Gardening!

Bill Hunt

We also made the news together!