PRESTONSBURG – Big Sandy Community and Technical College’s Community Garden received a grant from the Kitchen Gardeners International’s Sow It Forward Garden Grant Program. The grant has enabled the college to construct a new greenhouse in the community garden.
The grant also included seeds from Ark Institute and Renee’s Garden Seeds and a one-year subscription to Kitchen Gardeners International’s Garden Planner.
The garden was started by a grant in 2012 from Grow Appalachia, a program of Berea College that seeks to solve pervasive food insecurity issues by restoring the relationship between the people and the land. Grow Appalachia provides seeds, plants, dirt and tools. They also provide organic fertilizer to use in the spring and lime to use in the fall. No chemicals are used in the garden. Everything is grown organically
“We are very blessed and excited to be able to come and enjoy nature and do something positive for the community,” said Tammy Ball, of BSCTC. “All vegetables and produce grown at the BSCTC is donated to Saint James Mission in Prestonsburg.”
The BSCTC Community Garden was started in 2012 by a group of faculty and staff. Volunteers weed, plant, hoe and water the garden.
“We are extremely excited about the greenhouse,” said Dr. Tom Viernheller, a professor of Biology at BSCTC. “This will allow us to extend our growing season and possibly grow some things during the winter months.”
Carpentry instructors Randal Haney and Adam McGinnis joined students on Monday, February 29 to build the greenhouse.
“The welding department built the sculpture ‘The Three Sister’ – it is a Native American tale,” Ball added. “The tale is you plant corn, and then you plant beans that raise up the corn, then plant squash which is a covering.”
The community garden started small with only five raised garden beds. The Carl Perkins Job Corp Center students participated and built the first five raised garden beds. The dirt was donated by the Prestonsburg High School football team. When the school got turf for the field, they donated the dirt to the community garden. The project was truly a community effort.
Why use raised garden beds? Raised garden beds is easier to control the ph. balance of the soil. Raised beds also hinders bugs, and weeds from attacking the fruits or vegetables.
The Growing Warriors out of Berea discovered that gardening was therapeutic for veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. They volunteered to come to Prestonsburg and build more raised garden beds. The local community garden now has 21 raised garden beds.
Andrea Saddler is a reporter for the Floyd County Times. She can be reached at 606-794-0290.