We are now part way through our second year of the Build It Up Backyard Gardeners Program. What does the second year mean for us?  Confidence.  Confidence that we can grow food for our family. Confidence that we can tend a garden. Confidence that we can cook and eat what we grow. And confidence that we can preserve our excess.

Prior to being accepted into the Build It Up Backyard Gardeners Program, we had grown some food on our own. However, we didn’t know anything about garden pests and diseases or how to stop them and lost much of our harvest. Thanks to this program, we now know how to prevent and treat for a variety of these pests and diseases. This knowledge has given us the confidence to increase our garden size and try growing a larger variety of produce. 

Along with this confidence that we can indeed grow our own food, also comes the realization that there’s still so much to learn about gardening.  While planting, we were still constantly checking our notes for how to plant each item. As the pest and disease pressure increases, the classes refresh our memory about the major issues we have to watch out for and best practices on how to approach each one.  Although we know we will still kill plants and lose potential harvests to pests and disease, we also know that this will be outweighed by much more success.

Build It Up has provided us with knowledge that would have taken us years to acquire on our own.  This jump-started our success and has inspired us to try so much more. Thank you so much Lexy, Rosie, and all of the staff at the ARCD and Grow Appalachia that have made this program possible!