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So far philmeeks has created 29 blog entries.

Apple grafting

By |March 21st, 2019|Wise County Extension|

Once upon a time, Wise County was the third largest apple producer in Virginia. Today, we're down to one commercial orchard (or two if you count the 14 acres managed by the prison for their own use). Even though we no longer have this industry, home orchards can thrive, and our annual apple grafting workshops


By |October 22nd, 2018|Uncategorized|

Three of our Wise County Grow Appalachia families who are interested in commercial production were able to join us for a misty, end-of-the-season tour of a pumpkin farm in a neighboring county last week.  We toured the farm of Amy Fannon, Extension Agent for Agriculture & Natural Resources in Lee County, Virginia. A few of

Beans that won’t stop

By |September 7th, 2018|Uncategorized|

Two of our Grow Appalachia family were in the office this morning to pick up fall cover crop seeds, and both made comments along the lines of "I was going to pull up my bean vines for the year, but they won't stop producing!"  It's been a good bean year here in Wise County.  Here

July in Wise County

By |July 20th, 2018|Uncategorized|

Here are a few scenes from our July Grow Appalachia activities and growers in Wise County, VA: Sue, a second-year participant and her tomatoes.  We made the tomato cages last year from concrete reinforcement wire. One grower made good use of a small unplanted area in her garden with an impressive bed of borage.  It's

New tools and old challenges

By |June 21st, 2018|Uncategorized|

I  journeyed to Bledsoe, Kentucky this week to pick up some trapezoid hoes from blacksmith J.D. Napier.  I gave our new participants the choice of a scuffle hoe or a trapezoid hoe and ended up requesting eight from Mr. Napier.  While I was there, I was able to snap his picture with the 6500 anvil

Forest farming

By |May 29th, 2018|Uncategorized|

At this point, our Grow Appalachia families in Wise County, Virginia have completed three of their mandatory classes, and they're planting away.  There have been some challenges so far in the growing season, as I'm sure other sites have experienced as well.  The weather has been a big one.  One of our most involved families

Aliens in trees

By |April 26th, 2018|Uncategorized|

Fruit trees are an investment in both time and money, so it's understandable when folks get troubled by unknown growths in those.  I'll often get questions about scaley, greenish-blue things attached to the trunk.  This usually turns out to be a lichen.  A lichen is a fungus and an algae living symbiotically, where the fungus

Starting up

By |March 28th, 2018|Uncategorized|

After some rescheduling due to snow, we had our inaugural Grow Wise meeting this Monday.  We have 17 families enrolled so far, 9 of which are returning from 2017. Wise County Master Gardener and local committee member Erica Dell spoke with the participants Monday evening about soil testing, variety selection, site layout and soil temperature. 

Syrup-making as a winter activity

By |October 25th, 2017|Uncategorized|

Back in December 2015, we offered a workshop on beginning maple-syrup production.  There were two families in our county already making maple syrup on a small scale, and there had been folks across the border in Letcher County doing that for years.  We had 30 people at the workshop, and several went home afterwards, ordered

The miracle of winter squash

By |September 26th, 2017|Uncategorized|

I can't remember winter squash being a staple where I grew up in Grundy County, Tennessee.  We had a three-acre garden, and we normally filled the cellar with sweetpotatoes, Irish potatoes and all the food that my grandmother canned, but I can't recall us ever growing winter squash -- or even pumpkins.  Were we just