My wife Cathy and I are in the middle of our second year with the Build it Up garden program. The program was highly recommended to us by some friends who had participated in the past. We were not disappointed. We had been wanting to have a productive vegetable
garden for a number of years, but with little experience, we didn’t know where or how to begin! The Build it Up garden program more than got us over the hump of getting started. It is laid out well with sessions in late winter and early spring on planning and planting. They even came over to our house and tilled up our garden plot and supplied seeds, plants, tools, fertilizer, T posts, and more! Thanks to the help, we were off and running.
      I have been an educator for the past 22 years and appreciate the combination of classroom book learning along with good hands-on experience for effective learning. After some success in our first year, we are excited about making some improvements for the second year that seem to be making a difference. We tried the “Lower and Lean” trellis system for the tomatoes and cucumbers. I have included some pictures of this with the wire hooks that
can be unwound to lower the plants and then hooked back onto the support. I used the small plastic supports that click closed around the plant while clamping onto the twine for support. Last year, we had a good crop of potatoes, but unfortunately shared the harvest with voles. To potentially remedy this problem, this year we planted the potatoes in “grow tubs.” The plants look good and hopefully the voles didn’t get into the bottoms of the tubs.
      The Build it Up garden program has been a very positive experience for us. Rosie and Lexy have done a wonderful job organizing and implementing the program and the learning sessions are very well done. I am thankful that these are taped so we can go back and re-watch them (which we have). We really appreciate Lexy sharing all of her knowledge and experience. The guest speakers have been excellent as well. Rosie does so well keeping everyone informed and bringing all the details together to make things happen and always helps with a smile. We have enjoyed and benefitted from doing this together with other folks who are in the same boat and participating in the program.
      Furthermore, it has been personally rewarding for Cathy and me. Every day we go out the garden to see what progress has taken place from the day before. It is so gratifying as we are starting to harvest some of our very own produce The vegetables are not only beautiful to see but even better on our dining room table! I am also a second-year beekeeper which has been a whole other journey, but it is fun to see my bees pollinating the tomatoes, cucumbers, melons, and zucchini plants. We look forward to the ideas and plans we have for next year!