Build It Up Blog

The Build It Up Blog includes entries from our gardners discussing their gardening journey and guides from our program staff regarding when to start your seeds, when to put transplants in the ground, when to fertilize, and more!

Gardener Story: Christina Broyles

Gardener Story: Christina Broyles

This year marked my third year growing a garden. I start dreaming of gardening on the heals of Christmas and New Years Eve. What will I grow? What shall I do differently this year? What worked for me and what didn't work last year? Its an exciting time in my mind...

Gardener Story: Bethany Gray

Gardener Story: Bethany Gray

“If this is food, what have I been eating?” ~ Peggy Hill I reset my life a couple years ago, reassessed my priorities, mustered all our resources, and moved us back to the mountains. Next up was a safe, sustainable supply of food. I knew that much of what we were...

Gardener Story: The Sowers Family

Gardener Story: The Sowers Family

Our family was absolutely ecstatic and blessed to be a part of the 2023 Build It Up Program. As this was our first year, we have thoroughly enjoyed every facet of this most educational program. Although I am a newly retired teacher, having taught for forty-three...

Gardener Story: Brookman Family

Gardener Story: Brookman Family

Chickens, chickens everywhere! Last year was our first year gardening, and we learned quite a few lessons the hard way. What kind of foods to grow. The amount of foods we should plan on. How much space we actually need to grow the things we will eat. Most importantly...

The Amos Family: Gardening Experience 

The Amos Family: Gardening Experience 

We were so happy to be accepted into the Build It Up program this year. We had heard so many great things about the program and finding a place that promotes organic practices was a blessing. I grew up in SC with parents who gardened and both of them grew up on farms...

Gardener Story: Block Family

Gardener Story: Block Family

We look around at this beautiful home and land we have stewarded and are in awe of this path we have chosen. Last summer we embarked on our journey with Build It Up and learned so much during our first year of becoming more self-sufficient. We even managed to grow...

Gardener Story: Edith Johnson

Gardener Story: Edith Johnson

What a blessing the Build it Up Garden Program has been. I moved to Tennessee last October and by January I knew that I would be hosting a family from Ukraine who were arriving in the United States with just a couple of suitcases. More recently a student from Kenya...

Gardener Story: Carden Family

Gardener Story: Carden Family

This is our first year in the Build It Up program.  Our past gardens have never panned out very well.  The kids loved playing in the wild chaos, but we never managed a useful harvest.  After discovering a food allergy that restricts ALL commercial preservatives, I was...

Gardener Story: Katie Ohlin

Gardener Story: Katie Ohlin

Our family of 4 moved to East TN last summer with the dream of having our own garden to start feeding our family with. Without much gardening experience under my belt, I struggled with where and how to get started, what resources to use for research, and felt stuck at...