REFLECTIONS from bethel
First I would like to start out with a few thanks to some special people and organizations that made our year so successful:
Walmart - a grant for a greenhouse
Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture and their Community of Gardens - fundraiser supplies for Lettuce Learn
Sow True Seed in Asheville - free seeds for our garden and fundraiser
Local First - a grant to build a new dedicated seed saving bed
Shelton Caldwell - bamboo for our beans to climb on in our new seed saving bed
Blue Ridge Garden Club - a new apple tree
Mr. Justin Eggers - a big pile of compost for our garden beds
ASU Student Interns and Volunteers - helping with the garden and greenhouse
Shannon Carroll - 55-gallon drums to fill with water to warm the new greenhouse
Mr. Richard Tidyman - started the gardens at Bethel--we bid you a fond farewell and happiness in your retirement--you are so missed
THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH!!
During spring 2017 I worked with the Bethel after school students. We made garden plans, picked out seeds, and planted trays of tomatoes, peppers, scallop squash, zucchini,corn, lettuce, peas, beans, luffa, basil, watermelon, radishes, sunflowers, and zinnias. The students painted rocks with their name to mark their bed and plant names for their vegetables. The corn planted was Little Gem from Sow True Seed, which is a popcorn. It was harvested and the students had a popcorn party!
Over the summer I took care of the garden beds and gave our excess produce to Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture's Food Hub located at the Watauga County Agriculture Extension Office to be given to organizations in need of food for the homeless and needy. A arch made from a cattle panel was installed for vining plants and a base was constructed for our new greenhouse to be built spring 2018.
During fall 2017 I worked with Ms. Eldreth's 6th, 7th, and 8th grade CTE classes. We picked the apples at Bethel and the students cored, peeled, and sliced apples and placed half of them in a dehydrator to make snacks. The other half was made into apple butter which all the students sampled. All the while the students were working hard in the garden beds weeding, mulching, and picking vegetables and raspberries. As the season went by, the students and I harvested seeds to use for next year and to share with the Watauga Seed Library. In October Bethel had a fall festival and the students and I made cookies to sell as a fundraiser for the garden. The students voted on the cookies they wanted to make and we made snickerdoodles, white chocolate macadamia nut, peanut butter kisses, and chocolate chip. The bake sale made almost $70.00 for garden supplies. We spent the rest of the season cleaning out beds, adding compost, and planting cover crops. A wonderful growing season!!
Debbie learned about gardening from her grandmother and has had a vegetable garden for most of her adult life. She is the Garden Coordinator and "Grandparent garden mentor" at Bethel Elementary and loves sharing her joy and knowledge of gardening with students, teachers, and Bethel community. She also manages the Appalachian State University Edible Schoolyard.
Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture Office
Lower Level 171 Grand Blvd
PO Box 67
Boone, NC 28608