One of the many things that we love about the Grow Appalachia Program is its emphasis on organic practices! 

Organic gardening is earth-friendly gardening in which plants are grown in a natural ecosystem without the benefit of harmful chemicals.  Organic gardening relies on plant and soil health and natural pest control to keep insect pests in check.  Organic gardeners “feed the soil to feed the plants,” by adding organic matter to the soil and allowing the soil food web to release nutrients to fruits and vegetables.

We offered an organic class to our Scott County, TN and McCreary County, Ky participants, and we were thrilled to have a very special instructor!  Mark Walden, Grow Appalachia Associate Director of Production Programming, was kind enough to travel to our site, and teach a comprehensive class on organic practices.  Our participants really enjoyed the class!

Some of the topics covered in the class included:

• Cultural Control – Cultural controls are ways of modifying the garden environment to hamper pests’ breeding, feeding, and shelter     habits.  These techniques may include crop rotation, sanitation, tillage, improving crop growth conditions, timing of planting and harvesting, cover crops, fertilizer or irrigation practices, sanitation, and selection of resistant cultivar.
• Mechanical Control – Mechanical controls utilize the use of physical objects or devices to control pests. Examples of these controls would be screens or fences to keep animals and insects out.
• Chemical Control – Natural chemicals, which exist in the environment, are used to control pests in organic gardening. Unlike Synthetic chemicals, Organic chemicals, which contain carbon atoms, can be broken down by micro-organisms or by light. One of the organic chemicals that our program has always used for pest control is Spinosad.
• Companion Planting – Planting plants together that are mutually beneficial to each other.
• Pruning – Pruning allows air and sunlight to get to the roots of the plants, creating an environment less friendly to diseases.

Fertilizer and warm season seeds were distributed to participants after the meeting.

Garden Photos:
The Miller’s Garden