Monday, December 17, 2012

Is this corn for me or you? :Tina

We planted some corn for chicken feed but it seems that the wild turkey like it as well. So we decided to leave some for them to eat this winter. It is so pleasurable to watch them walk in a straight line headed for the corn field once or twice a day.

 They fly up into the stalks and bend the ear of corn down and eat. At last count we have 21 turkeys. We have decided to grow some extra every year both for them to eat and for our entertainment. Due to the freeze that we had early this year, there are no acorns in the woods for the deer to eat so they to have been eating the corn.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

high tunnel

 Last Thursday and Friday our member's Iris, Jay and their children got their high tunnel.  Several of us came to help.  We lucked out with the weather.  It was really great to work with Mark and Mike to put it up.  We were able to feed them several things for lunch both days from our garden too.  We can't wait to see what Iris will plant this winter and how it does.  Thanks Grow Appalachia!!!!  Sue Granger   ps We are still growing greens like no bodies business and they are fabulous!!!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Henderson Settlement/White Oak News ~ Jackie

Charles from White Oak planted Fall Cabbage,
October was an extremely busy month, we were busy visiting gardens, planting cover crops, going to classes and making plans for our Harvest Celebration.

Aaron invited Carol Brandon from the U.T extension office to speak about drying foods and using a food dehydrator. The participants had a lot of questions for Carol about canning and drying foods.
One of the questions was, " What is the best way to can green beans? " Carol told them , "the best way to can green beans is with a pressure cooker!" This started a discussion on, Grandma's way of canning verses the safest way to can. Carol shared a story of what could happen if green beans or any other food wasn't canned properly. She said one of her colleagues uses a film which shows what happened to an entire family after they ate green beans which had been canned (Grandma's way) over an open fire outside.  The film opens with a picture of a grave yard showing eight tombstones all with the same family name and date of death. The caption reads, "Botulism kills an entire family!"
This example emphasized the point she was trying to make about the importance of being able to regulate temperatures when canning.
Carol showed the class how to use a food dehydrator and provided examples of different foods which she had dehydrated, bananas , apples, grapes, squash, orange peels etc..  The class enjoyed sampling the examples and recipes she shared with them. She recommended the book "So easy to Preserve" published by the Cooperative Extension of the University of Georgia. She said this was one of the best books she had seen about canning and drying foods.

Carol Brandon from the U.T. Extension Office conducts a class on Food Dehydrating at White Oak

It was such a beautiful day we decided to move outside for the class!

Pat studies

Pictures from Tim's garden at Fonde
At Tim's garden in Fonde KY

Green Pepper plants

Aaron tilling the garden, getting it ready for Tim to plant his cover crop

Pictures from our Harvest Celebration

All week the weather was wonderful and then came Saturday, rain, rain, rain and COLD!
These conditions forced us to move the celebration inside

Jesse and Polly coloring with the kids

Someone brought canned pickles! Yum Yum!

Shonda and Aaron showing off their cooking skills

 Jane , Jennette and Lois

Shonda cooking hamburgers

Maggie ,Amy enjoying the celebration

Looking at the picture slide show


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Go Greens!

Hello from the LMU Organic Community Garden! It's been a fantastically busy October for us. We've been harvesting our fall crops and having parties! We held our annual fall festival here at the garden on October 13th. It was the most lovely autumn day you could imagine. Our gorgeous setting here at the base of the Cumberland Mountains, beautiful blue skies, and mild weather set the perfect scene for great food, goofy fun and games, and wonderful fellowship amongst our dedicated gardeners. Our food theme this year was "Soup from the Garden". And trust me, it was good eating! We had vegetable soups, kale/potato based soups, beefy stews, bean soup, and more. It was truly a showcase of what you can do with your harvests. The younger members (and the older ones, too!) enjoyed a hayride, scavenger hunt, pumpkin carving, a bonfire complete with marshmallows, and more. It was a truly awesome way to relax and enjoy all that we have accomplished this past year.
As the rest of the garden winds down, our field of cold weather crops is overflowing with green goodness. We planted a variety of these crops and they are thriving. We have three types of turnips, two types of collards, three types of kale, two types of mustard greens, tat soi (an Asian mustard green), spinach, two types of arugula, multiple varieties of radish, lettuce, parsley, two types of broccoli, cauliflower,  two types of brussel sprouts, and cabbage. We've been harvesting greens for over a month and the rest of the crops will soon be ready for harvest.  We have harvested 200 lbs sweet potatoes.  Harvested on Monday the last of our green tomatoes about 20 lbs. Also harvested all our pumpkins and winter squash.  Sue came up with a new pumpkin bread recipe substituting shredded green pumpkin for zuchinni from  a "zuchinni bread recipe"


Dear blog readers,

We are happy to announce that Grow Appalachia now has its own website, and a beautiful one at that! From now on blogs will be posted under the blog tab on the main website, so head on over to check it out and don't think we have abandoned the blog, new posts will keep coming, just in a different location!

The new Grow Appalachia website, give it a look:

Beautiful Beans

Post by Jessica | Photos by Corissa
Bluegrass Domestic Violence Program

This year we planted another round of heirloom dry beans.  While dry bean production on our site isn't necessarily economically efficient, it's a good practice for several reasons.  Beans, peas, and other legumes fix nitrogen in our soil, but this is just one of the reasons we include a variety of legumes in our cover crop schedule.

We also love dry beans for their extended shelf life. These beans, once dried correctly, are storable for one or even several seasons. Leftover beans can even be planted the following June to produce again and save on seed costs. Beans can be prepared in many different ways, they provide a nutritious protein, and also serve as a great locally grown meal in the dead of winter!

One more reason that we are crazy about these heirloom beans is that they are simply beautiful and maybe even a little magical!  I love nothing more than walking past the bean patch as pods are drying on the plants and plucking one off. Shelling them is such a treat! Each bean, while still its own specific variety, is completely different and special in its own way. Their colors and spots develop as they mature, and it's so fun to compare beans from the same pod, noting the differences and similarities. I must admit that I can't help but wonder if one of these beans could contain the same magic as the beans that Jack planted in the old fable. I guess we will keep on growing them, just in case.:)

Varieties grown this year included Vermont Cranberry, Jacob's Cattle, Calypso, Black Turtle, and Hidatsa Shield Beans. We have been working with these varieties for several years and are very pleased with them for flavor and productivity. One of the best varieties I have grown (though I didn't this year) is Arikara Yellow. The flavor is amazing, and we plan to get those in the ground next year.  Cow Peas and Cream Peas are also lovely dry beans to think about planting.

Shelling dry beans is quite time consuming but can be a really nice group activity.  Last year we utilized a mechanical sheller from the University of Kentucky, but this year we got a group of ladies and kiddos together and shelled beans for a few hours on several chilly fall mornings. Good times!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

No GMO's for These Floyd County Farmers

I just had an interesting conversation with Todd Howard, my friend and mentor. He said he understands why farmers would be drawn to planting GMO’s. Let me put his comment in context.
Gary and Todd at the Farmer's Market

Todd and his business partner, Gary Hicks, farm on two plots of land which consist of about six acres total. For the last two weeks they have been clearing, tilling and putting in manure and cover crop all to replenish the soil. This week alone they have added four tons of manure to their soil. That’s a lot of manure. (I’m just saying what you all are thinking) and Todd said it sure didn't go very far.

The process went like this. Drive your truck to the stable. Get out and start shoveling cuz there is no backhoe or farm hand to load your truck, which by the way is your farm truck not a dump truck so when you get back to the garden you have to do the whole thing again in reverse. Todd and Gary decided to fix the manure spreader to make the spreading a bit easier. Five hours later it was fixed and loaded and hooked up to the tractor and ten minutes later it was broke again. So then it was unload the spreader and spread it all by hand. Then you till it in which is easy cuz you have a tiller on your tractor except the yolk on the tiller breaks so you spend another three hours fixing that and start tilling again and then fixing it again and finally you can spread your cover crop. And you are doing all this to feed the soil. Of course, it would be easier to use chemicals than go through all this labor intensive nurturing of the earth.

Real Food!!
So why do Todd & Gary and the Grow Appalachia family do all this hard work? So that when they sink their teeth into the sweetest corn they every tasted or make a pot of hot soup this winter from vegetables they canned themselves they know they are eating real food. No chemical additives, no genetic alterations, no hormones. Just food and for Todd, Gary and lots of folks reading this blog post, that’s worth the effort.

So here's to the hard working farmer. Thanks!! Sr. KC

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Baby Leek! ~ More fall planting and tilling in Abingdon, VA

Heather here.

Our focus right now is recruiting participants for next year.

I've been handing out flyers at the food pantry and the food pantry staff distributes them as well.

The flyer, and a lovely sunflower full of seed for next year (!)

I tilled up more of the garden and we seeded Austrian Winter Peas, and planted leeks, shallots, and lettuce. We will put bales of straw around the lettuce and prop a window on top for a makeshift coldframe. 

We shoveled all the tilled-up soil from the pathway and made a large mound, hoed 2 furrows and planted the little baby leeks 6'' apart. As they grow, we will rake soil into the furrows. We will also mulch the crap out of the leeks and shallots to aid in their over-wintering experience. 

Little lettuce squares

Before, and during, the tilling I was hemming and hawing and getting a bit worried and out of sorts as I always do when I think about soil compaction, all the different schools of thought on tilling...questioning my relationship to the soil and how much I really understand, but one of our volunteers, Debbie, actually took a photo of the soil to send to her friend as she said this was some of the best soil she's seen and she wanted to "gloat about how lucky [she] is to get to garden in it". 

Our garlic arrived...all 8 varieties. So excited. Need to do some onion research...

And our oats keep on keepin on.  

That's it that's all! 

Monday, October 22, 2012

We Beat the Deer ---- Chad Brock ----- Red Bird Mission

Earlier in the growing season I posted a blog on how our beautiful garden became a food plot for deer. Well turns out with a few cane poles some bailing string and a little hard work we still had some success with our garden.

I took some cane poles and some bailing string and raised my fence to around 7-8 feet high. I just ran a string all the way around the garden every foot apart until I got it high enough that deer wouldn't be so eager to jump over it. Then I took some old shopping bags and tied to the string and let them wave around in the wind. This was nothing pretty to look at but it confused the deer, the motion of the bags kept them backed off . No more deer.

After I seen that the deer had quit coming in the garden, I wanted to replant some sweet corn seed, I wondered if it would have time to make it seeing as it was already July 20th, but I chose a variety with an early maturity date (serendipity) and took a chance on it.
It done pretty good, last week we harvested, a couple bushel of six inch ears that seemed sweeter than any summer corn I can remember. This is something I plan on trying every year, a second run of sweet corn.

Sweet Corn harvested 10/10/2012

I also planted some Blue Lake 274 bush beans that produced really well,we planted four 25 ft. rows that produced about 4 bushel.
Our tomatoes also recovered from being mowed down , they became real bushy with lots of suckers but produced real well, we are still getting a few ripe tomatoes off of them. Our peppers done great, produced more than we could ever get rid of so we plan on drying them and crushing them and using them for spray next year to keep back the deer and rabbits.
 So as  the old saying goes "If at first you don't succeed try, try again".

Tomatoes harvested 10/10/2012

Friday, October 19, 2012

Sweet Sorghum of Pine Mountain~ Kathleen Powers

Maggie presses the cane with
 the help of GA participants
   This year, with the supervision of one of our very knowledgeable Grow Appalachia participants, we grew a crop of sweet sorghum at the Settlement School. Given that, (1) we were a bit late planting our sorghum, (2)we planted it in the wettest part of the garden, and (3)we neglected to keep it well weeded and thinned out, we were a bit worried that it wouldn't fully mature and that our efforts (or lack thereof) would be for naught. Luckily, we let the sorghum do its thing and by early October we had cane that was ready to be harvested and processed into syrup! At our fall harvest festival we pressed the cane and started the process of boiling down the juice, in the end we came out with one delicious quart of sorghum!

Our quart of sorghum!
   Sorghum is a crop that has been traditionally grown in Kentucky as far back as the mid 1800’s, Kentucky is now one of 8 states in the southeast and Midwest producing 90% of the United States total sorghum output. Sorghum is a great crop for many Kentucky farmers because it does well in the loam and sandy loam soils that are common in the state. Another ease of growing benefit is that sweet sorghum does NOT require high amounts of organic matter to produce a good crop for syrup. One of the greatest benefits of growing sweet sorghum is its value of about $2000 per acre. Sweet Sorghum as a cash crop is a great example of how keeping it local can really work; most sorghum growers tend to be small producers who see their crop from seed to syrup, and then to a local market; the work and profit of growing sorghum stays within the community and directly benefits those who put the work into producing it. Sorghum is definitely not something that you see filling grocery store shelves identified by the labels of numerous large commercial companies, I for one had never tasted (or heard of) sorghum in my life before coming to KY. 

Seed heads from the sorghum cane
   Sweet sorghum is just one of many varieties of sorghum grown in Kentucky. Sorghum crops can also be used as grain and forage feed for animals, as an ethanol/biofuel source, the grain can be ground into a gluten free flour for cooking and baking, and even popped like popcorn, who knew sorghum was such a versatile crop!

And a couple pictures from the fall harvest festival!
Pumpkin carving
mmm pumpkin guts

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Special Guest Speaker on High Tunnel: Tina

Wayne Riley whom is the Laurel County Grow App. coordinator invited a special guest speaker to come to our meeting on Tuesday night. His name is Doug McIntosh, he is a soil sample specialist with the USDA. He spoke to the group about high tunnel benefits, having fresh vegetables throughout the winter months, less bugs, more disease resistance to the plants.  He discussed having a high tunnel that is movable to rotate sites. Very informative and useful information. Handouts were passed out with even more information. He ended the meeting with a statement "Know your farmer...know your food". 

                                       Wayne Riley and guest Doug McIntosh

Doug and his wife Betty.
We were all very interested in this topic and learned alot about it.

Also I wanted to add the last of the community garden's summer harvest.  Many different types of peppers. These will be donated to Laurel Heights and shelters.

These are some grafted tomatoes that Wayne grew at the LCAAHC.

Mini pumpkins that are mainly used for Fall decorating. One of our Grow App. participants grew these and brought them in to share. Hopefully many of them will save the seeds and plant some in their gardens next year.

Harvest Party Recap!

Post by Corissa | Photos by Ralph
Bluegrass Domestic Violence Program

Last month we invited the community to a Harvest Party to discover and explore the farm and healing gardens. Staff and residents worked all week to make the shelter and grounds sparkle for our visitors. About a hundred people attended the event on that breezy end-of-summer day. Some party guests were familiar with the farm and stopped by to show their support. For others, the party was their first introduction to the amazing work we're doing on the farm.
Harvest Party guests begin to arrive.
Everyone enjoyed farm-to-table treats featuring our tomatoes, basil, and honey. One shelter resident made a big dish of her soon-to-be famous spicy salsa to share with party-goers. Tours highlighted how the farm and shelter work together to provide meaningful avenues of healing for survivors of intimate partner abuse.

We even had a special guest - Congressman Ben Chandler - stop by to show his support.

Business Lexington wrote a great article about the event and farm. One line reads: "Those who participate in the garden — and kids love it too — say they feel as if they are part of something bigger than themselves, a part of a community..." You can read the complete article here.

The community interest and support of our farm is really growing. Thanks to everyone who helped make our first Harvest Party a big success!