Williamson Community Garden & Dudley Farm
The first day we were in Williamson, West Virginia we went to the Williamson Community Gardens. There we learned new skills such as taking care of the raised bed gardens by tilling the dirt and adding manure to make the soil richer. We also learned how to repair the high tunnels that were damaged due to the rough winter weather. The high tunnels are a very important aspect for the community because it allows the community members to grow crops all year long. The high tunnels are constructed out of PVC pipe and then covered with plastic. That plastic allows heat to stay inside in order for the crops to grow. The original structure wasn’t strong enough to sustain the rough winter this season so we had to make it stronger. In order to strengthen the high tunnel we had to add more PVC support beams. This was probably the most enlightening experience I’ve had thus far being in West Virginia. The high tunnels are a big part of the Williams Community Garden again because it does allow the members to grow all year long. The work on the high tunnels is also very fun to do because you’re high up on a ladder overlooking the garden and my fellow workers to observe all the work we have done so far. It’s a rewarding experience to be able to help people in need who can’t necessarily help themselves.
The third day in West Virginia we hopped over the state line to Kentucky to Doug Dudley Farms to help him for the day. This experience was probably the most eye opening because we had the first chance to actually step into the shoes of a real farmer. While we were there Doug taught us how to properly plant crops. I never realized how much hard work goes into planting just a few seeds. There is a step by step process you have to follow to the T and if not, you could potentially lose all your crops for the season. The first step is to draw a line in the dirt where the seeds are going to be planted. Second we had to make a small hill over that line; this process is called hilling. Third we had to go down that hill and make a little pocket where the seeds were going to be placed. Fourth and final step we had to place the seeds in the pocket and cover it up with more dirt. This process was a long and hard working process and not to mention the blazing sun didn’t help either. This farming experience has been the most eye opening one yet because it took so much work, effort, and people to be able to plant these crops and it really does make me appreciate how hard farmers all across the United States work in order for the population to eat.
By Savannah Scarlett