The time to plant our summer gardens is finally here! Truth be told, many of us already had tomato transplants in the ground before that frost snuck up on us the other night, but I truly believe we’re out of the woods for this year. And that means all the fun and work and reward of raising a successful summer harvest are before us.
Whether you’re an experienced gardener or just someone starting out, I want to mention Alabama Extension’s Grow More Give More project. This puts all of the research and advice that Extension agents have to offer home vegetable gardeners in one place.
Maybe you have questions about managing insect pests, how and when to fertilize your tomatoes, or what cucumber varieties do best in your neck of the woods; all that information and more can be found at our project website, www.aces.edu/go/growmore. You can access that information by viewing videos, reading articles, or downloading PDFs to read on paper.
Grow More Give More provides expert advice on producing fruits, vegetables, and herbs in every type of space – from 5-gallon buckets to a tilled backyard plot and raised beds in between. In addition to the nuts and bolts of building a garden (soil, irrigation, fertilization) you can also learn about heirloom vegetable types, integrated pest management, and how to attract pollinators.
We also hope that as you Grow More, you will consider Giving More. Food insecurity in our towns and communities has always existed; however, the COVID-19 pandemic really brought this need to the forefront. If your garden thrives this summer, perhaps you’ll be able to share produce with a neighbor or friend in need, a local food pantry, or a regional food bank.
If you aren’t sure where to donate, please contact the Blount County Extension office for more information. They can put you in touch with the home gardener that is coordinating Grow More, Give More donations in our county.
No matter if you donate on your own or through the Extension office, please record your donation by completing this brief online survey at www.aces.edu/go/1755. You can also share photos to the Alabama Smart Yards – Alabama Extension Facebook page with the hashtag #growmoregivemore.
By keeping track of donations, Alabama Extension can capture the strength and generosity of Alabama gardeners. It helps us garner more resources and support for efforts like this which help reduce hunger in Alabama. And, if you grow a healthy garden this summer, even if there’s not quite enough to share, that is still success by any measure.
This column includes research-based information from land-grant universities around the country, including Alabama A&M and Auburn Universities. Email questions to Bethany at Bethany@aces.edu or call 205-612-9524. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter. The Alabama Cooperative Extension System (Alabama A&M University and Auburn University) is an equal opportunity educator and employer. Everyone is welcome!