We’re now into June, and the gardens at Bullskin Creek Grow Appalachia are really beginning to come into their own! Folks have already begun harvesting some of their early crops, and the main season crops are progressing well.
Of course, as we get further into the season the challenges faced by Kentucky gardeners are also beginning to pop up. That said, managing insect pests, uncooperative weather, and weeds is as much a part of gardening as harvesting home-grown veggies.
While new tools and techniques don’t make these challenges disappear, the Bullskin Creek growers are finding these options to be very helpful. For instance, several folks have noted that crop scouting and managing for improved air flow have decreased their disease problems. Similarly, many growers have mentioned that access to tools such as stirrup hoes and trellis netting have helped them be more efficient in maintaining their crops.
While any one of these new growing techniques or tools will provide a relatively small improvement, the benefits build up over time. Over the course of a growing season this can lead to substantially more food being produced from a garden patch, and often with less work than you might have done otherwise.
One of the Bullskin Creek Grow Appalachia participants recently said “I’ve been growing a garden my whole life, but these trainings have showed me better ways of doing some things. I reckon you never get to old to learn. ” Our communities hold a tremendous amount of local farming knowledge that has been passed down from one generation to the next, and I believe it’s incredibly important for us to maintain this traditional wisdom. However, when we combine these time-tested traditions with new methods we often get the best of both worlds. At least that’s the view from Bullskin!