Training families for noble independence in service to Jesus Christ
Wednesday, September 16, 2015
News from a grower growing growers
My favorite month of the year is here and
the fall garden is growing beautifully. From now until long after
Christmas we can grow beautiful crops without pressure from diseases or
pests and most of the weeds seem to take a vacation. We are all planted
up with beets, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots,
cauliflower, chard, kale, lettuce, turnips and spinach. All of these
crops can tolerate the cold weather that is coming and many of them are
even grown outdoors right through the winter. Good soil nutrition is
one of the keys to healthy winter crops. If you would like to learn
more about how to have fresh winter veggies (and a whole lot more) you
might consider registering for our October Training Session.
We still have October openings but the November session is not
available. The schedule for next year has not been finalized, but it is
likely that we will only offer our week long sessions 4 times in 2016.
Now is a great (and beautiful) time of year to get the training you need
for food security and great gardening success. Check out our program here.
I took this photo of a spider web suspended
from a phone line 20 feet above some broccoli. It is an amazing example
of engineering, but it is also an example of the benefit of toxin-free
growing. Using strategies of plant selection, plant nutrition, crop
timing, trap-cropping and avoiding toxic sprays so that we don't harm
beneficial insects we have had great success growing our food and have
not had to spray anything (not even organically certified sprays) for
the past four years.
Last month we had the pleasure of hosting
ten students and five faculty from the West Virginia University School
of Medicine for a week while they were participating in a "Rural
Immersion" program to acquaint them with the unique problems and
resources of practicing medicine in rural areas. We shared our
perspective that healthy people require healthy food from healthy soil.
Lynnita prepared plant-based meals from our farm for them and when they
left the consensus was that the highlight of their very active week was
the vegan dinner she served them. We really enjoyed housing this group
and are already making plans to have a group again next year.
I like to experiment with new crop varieties
every year and this open-pollinated organic flint popcorn caught my
eye. It is called Glass Gem and is as beautiful as the name implies. I
grew a small abount to increase as seed for next year. I am waiting for
it to fully dry so we can pop some and see how it tastes. I'll report to
you later, but if nothing else it is a treat for the eyes.
Our two new high tunnels are completed and
will give us more capacity for season extension, but we even have
success with growing outdoors. The planting to the left of the
greenhouse is brussels sprouts that will be harvested in January.
An answer to prayer arrived in our community
a couple of months ago and we have a new friend, Michael Maslanka.
Part of the challenge maintaining a big, old, school building is that
when problems arise they can be big too. Such was the case with our
main electrical service panel. It is located in a small room off the
main building that also houses the well for the water supply. For thirty
years a chlorine injection system was used to make the water "safe" for
the kids, but the chlorine tank was in the same room with the
electrical panel. (We use a different well with pure, un-chlorinated
water now.) Chlorine is terribly corrosive, and the main panel suffered.
Replacement and upgrade estimates were over $13,000. We prayed for
months over this and then Michael, a master electrician and lineman came to us.
He was moving to the area and needed our parking lot for a large moving
truck for a few days. He asked if there was anything he could help us
with in return. We said yes, and he dove right in. His moving truck even
contained the parts we needed to secure the system. A few days later we
had a new friend, a repaired system and a bill for a couple of bags of
The view of our farm right now is peaceful
and beautiful. The view of the world is not. We are ever grateful for
the blessings of country living and the opportunities to serve that come
our way. We want to be of help to you as well and share the knowledge
and satisfaction of food security and health.
Bob Gregory is the Executive Director of Berea Gardens Agriculture Centerwhere he teaches classes in sustainable agriculture and manages a diversified vegan organic farm. He has more than 35 years of agricultural background in farm management and has worked as a certified crop consultant with extensive experience from coast to coast throughout North and South America. Berea Gardens Agriculture Centerprovides information and educational resources for Christian agricultural efforts around the world.