Blackberry winter has come and gone in the mountains. Baby birds are hatching and taking flight around the edges of the fields. Bees are beginning to swarm. Bluegill are moving into the shallow waters in preparation for spawning. All of nature is preparing for new growth for the coming year. All signs that tell us we can begin to plan for the bounty of the warm summer months ahead. With the end of blackberry winter, it is generally considered safe to start planting a garden here in Zone 6b in Owsley County after Mother’s Day.

The Owsley County Farm to School program and the Owsley County Extension Office held another meeting in a series of the Basic Gardening Classes for planting seeds and managing pest control for garden brimming with information for the crops that are popular in this area. The house was full of both young and old discussing garden crop topics that include germination, plating time, crops and pest management. Project participants went home with enough seeds for a staple garden that included: watermelon, beans, pinto, beans, corn, and cucumbers. Pictures from our group are beginning to roll in of rows of Straight Eight Cucumbers, white half runner beans and potatoes raising their heads to sun.

Along with the satisfaction brought of hard work for our group comes a feeling of pride and independence, along with a belief in tomorrow, that raising the food that will feed your family for the coming seasons brings to our families. At the same time, mountain Traditions, self-reliance and a belief in the future is being taught to adults and children. Finally, family memories are being made and a sense of community camaraderie, support and connections are being developed all while we enjoy the hard work and the feel of the Earth beneath our feet and in our hands as we raise our heads to the coming of the summer sun.