Spring Brings a Fresh Start to Feed Fannin’s Bountiful Garden

One of the good things about winter is that most foliage and greenery goes dormant or dies, and you get to start with a fresh clean slate for spring. It’s a chance for new beginnings in the garden as you plow under your winter rye cover crop and rotate your stock from the previous year. It’s an opportunity to try a new variety of a plant that you haven’t grown before but have been studying in catalogs or online over the winter months. It’s a chance to add new or improved elements to your garden.

During the past winter at the Ada Street garden, our volunteers built four new raised beds that were placed inside the fence and filled the beds with compost. After waiting out several wet periods, we have now filled our blank garden slate with cabbage and tomato plants courtesy of Quinn’s Nursery.

Future Farmers of America students donated some cucumber and pepper plants to Feed Fannin, and the Fannin County Co-Op provided us with seed potatoes, as well as green beans, zucchini, and corn seed. Flower seeds from last year’s garden were saved and have been sown. A few friends donated some herb plants. Our Forge Mill Garden partners added an electric fence this spring to try to keep the wildlife from devouring the garden, and they have planted red potatoes and corn.

So, thanks to the kindness of friends, partners, and volunteers, our gardens are planted, and the real work now begins. New weeds have started growing with a vengeance and will take over if we don’t stay vigilant. Mid-May was spent mowing and trimming weeds around the fence line and cutting back grass so we can keep the garden space looking beautiful.

We are striving to enhance the garden and farm with pollinators for the bees and provide a good habitat on the property for birds. Our wonderful family of redwing blackbirds has returned, and a barn swallow has built a nest in the lower barn eaves. We attempt to provide all the resources to have a bountiful crop and harvest, as well as have a beautiful garden and farm environment.

Last year, Feed Fannin was able to grow and donate over 7,400 lbs. of produce to the Fannin County Family Connection Food Pantry. Please join us in our efforts; if you plant a garden and have extra space, please consider growing an extra row and donating the produce to the food pantry. You may contact us for more information on how to donate your excess produce.

I am grateful for the returning garden volunteers from last year, as well as several new faces who have recently come to the garden to volunteer. Our usual work days are Monday, Wednesday and Friday beginning at around 9 am and working two to three hours until the chores are complete. The more volunteers we have, the shorter work day we have. We work hard, but have fun, and it is a wonderful group with which to socialize. I hope to see you in the garden soon!

Submitted by Kathy Beck (Feed Fannin Garden & Farm Coordinator)