August has been a hot month, last year we were all fighting with the flood waters taking part of our gardens out. This year several growers are struggling with the heat, humidity, and bugs. One of our participant has had very good luck with their tomatoes. I asked what they did to make them so tall and healthy. She said, this year nothing that last year they had over fertilized  with nitrogen and it killed all their plants. After leaving the soil alone all winter they decided to just turn the soil and plant tomatoes. The only thing she has done is water the plants every day, she has not had any problems luckily with diseases or bugs. She has 5 red and 3 yellow tomato plants. The plants currently are standing at 13 feet tall.

Sara is one of our new participants this year, she has been enjoying the program and the educational classes. The one things she found out that she enjoys the most was learning about planting flowers as a companion with her garden vegetables. She was not only able to grow food for her family  but she was also able to make fresh bouquets for neighbors and friends. Her plans next year is to try and grow a bigger garden and variety to be able to sale.

I made a visit out to Jesse’s farm to get starters from his triple crown blackberries. These plants are thorn less, which I have never seen. Growing up I have always assumed if you wanted berries from the hills you had to pay the price of getting stuck and scratched up. while visiting his wife shared their favorite sheet pan Herb and Parmesan veggies.  You can use a variety of whatever fresh veggies are available. Toss them with a mixture of olive oil, salt, pepper, and fresh herbs like garlic, basil, and oregano. Then spread on the sheet pan in a single layer. (can use parchment paper for easy cleanup). Cover generously with grated Parmesan cheese. Bake for 20-25 min on 400 degrees then broil for 5-10 minutes on 400 also. I have tried this and my family just loved it. We have found a new way of eating without being so plain. The one thing I have noticed a lot about Southern Eastern Kentucky cooking, very few do measurements. It’s usually  a dash of this, pinch of that, and flavor to taste.