by Lydia George
Fall is the time of year when you transition your garden from summer vegetables to more cold hardy varieties like kale, spinach, mustard, root vegetables and so on. But sometimes winter can also be a good time to restore the nutrients to your bed that were lost during the growing season to prepare for the coming year! This is where the idea of cover cropping your beds can really come in handy.
Cover crops are hardy plant varieties that can cover your beds during the winter, and that will benefit the health of your soil during the time of year when it is hard to grow most vegetable varieties. There are many different kinds of cover crops to choose from, and many of them serve nutritional or medicinal purposes as well.
One of my favorite cover crops is clover. Red clover and white clover are both in the legume family, meaning that they will restore nitrogen to the soil due to a symbiotic relationship with nitrogen producing bacteria that live in their root systems. Red clover is also a highly medicinal plant used for combating menstrual inflammation. Clovers are also native pollinators that bees love. There are other cover crops in the legume family that will restore the health to your garden beds, including hairy vetch and snow peas (winter hardy, delicious for you and wonderful for soil health.)
You can also use turnips as a cover crop. Turnips will keep the soil covered during winter, and if you leave them to decompose then they will add rich nutrients to the soil for the future seasons, while also providing a winter food source. Mustard greens are also a vegetable that is often used for broad leaf cover cropping, and so is buckwheat. The benefit to broad leaf cover cropping is that the leaves will protect the soil and also take up space to keep less desirable weeds from growing in the garden bed. You can also turn broadleaf cover crops into the soil in early spring and let them decompose to add nutrients back into the bed.
If you have soil in your garden that is very compact, planting grass cover crop varieties can help to break up the soil and make it more porous. Cover crops like oats and rye have deep root systems that are great for this purpose. But you have to make sure to take out or turn in the grassy cover crops before they go to seed, or you will find yourself with a lot of extra weeding to do over the next growing season.
While there are many vegetable varieties you can grow over winter, planting your garden constantly with vegetables can exhaust the soil. Just like we need rest during the winter time, your garden does as well. Think of cover cropping as selfcare facemask you can give your garden to restore its health while it hibernates during the winter time. You can buy cover crop seeds in bulk at many garden and hardware stores including, SowTrue Seed, Fifth Season, Southern States, Lowes and Ace Hardware.
Over the last month, Bountiful Cities has had so much support from our collaborators - and it's so nice to know we are all in this together! The East Fork Pottery Raffle was a huge success - raising over $2500 for our programs. The Hop Ice Cream is raising awareness about our programs and raising funds through it's new Bountiful Cities Series Ice Creams. Look out for ice cream with our figs and our sweet potatoes this fall (and read on if you want to make your own Paw Paw ice cream)! The West Asheville Garden Stroll invited us to participate this year and the flower puppet show raised all kinds of spirits! Finally Hood Huggers and Appalachian Institute for Renewable Energy are supporting our solar project at the Pearson Garden.
Partnership and collaboration are the only path towards long term food security for us all, and we look forward to much more if it! If you have an idea for collaboration or a business that may want to partner with Bountiful Cities please contact Cathy@BountifulCities.org
Free Veggies and Garden Updates!
Our Pearson Garden is well on the way to getting solar power after a series of recent workdays and lots of volunteer hours. We also were able to remove a huge old dead tree in collaboration with arborist Tim Hinebaugh. We also had help from Chloe Cuturic from Asheville GreenWorks. Thank you Tim and Chloe! There is lots more work to be done, and fun to be had in the Pearson Garden. Our Wednesday garden workdays include veggie snacks in the pavilion. See below, and stay tuned for more info on that!
Pearson Garden and Nursery Garden workdays Wednesdays from 3-5pm. Located at 408 Pearson Dr. in Montford. Please click this link to sign up. Contact Alex@BountifulCities.org for more information.
Free Veggie Mondays
We give away produce donated by Mother Earth Food every Monday after 3pm at two of our partner schools:
- Lucy S Herring Elementary Peace Garden: On the Sharing Table to the right of the Cob Shed
- Hall Fletcher Elementary: Under the awning by the front entrance to the school
Students have returned to school and we are so glad to have them return to our school gardens for FEAST Classes! We are finding creative ways to explore the gardens and engage our students amidst the ongoing challenges that COVID has dealt us. Above is a photo of Lucy Herring Elementary FEAST students harvesting potatoes!
Lucy Herring Elementary School Peace Garden (formerly Vance Elementary School) in West Asheville. Workdays Thursdays 2:45 pm- 3:45 pm. Beginning August 23, the garden will again be closed to the public from 8 AM- 2:30 pm so that classes can use the garden for outdoor learning. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for questions and to RSVP.
Hall Fletcher Elementary School FEAST Garden Wednesdays 2:30-3:30pm, 60 Ridgelawn Rd. Please click this link to sign up. Contact Jacob@BountifulCities.org for more information.
Introducing Jacob gillis
We are so happy to be able to introduce one of our newest Bountiful Cities staff members. Jacob has been growing food for 7 years now and teaching gardening for 4 of those years. He loves working with kids and is excited to be helping with food sovereignty and getting back in the dirt. He is working with the FEAST program at Hall Fletcher Elementary School and Francine Delany New School for Children. He is also working with our Grass to Greens program. Welcome Jacob!!
Newest Food Pantry Installed in Deaverview!
The Asheville Buncombe Food Policy Council working in collaboration with Keenan Phillips and residents of the Deaverview Community has installed the third in a series of free food pantries in the Deaverview Neighborhood. The other two pantries are located in the East End Neighborhood and Shiloh Neighborhood. For more information on donating shelf stable food or household goods for these pantries please contact Cathy@BountifulCities.org or to get involved with the food council contact Coordinator@abfoodpolicy.org
Get Your Fall Plants from Bountiful Cities Windfall Collective Nursery
Windfall Collective has a wide selection of plant starts and perennials for the fall growing season! Here's a list of what we have available, feel free to reach out to email@example.com with any orders/questions!
Several varieties of winter squash, basil, amaranth, kale, sunflowers, and mixed greens, as well as bee balm, ashwaghanda, tulsi, tumeric, yarrow, chamomile, ajuga, lettuce, rainbow chard, snapdragons, calendula, nasturtium, spinach, strawflower, blanket flower, new zealand spinach, japanese indigo, sorrel, and hyssop. We also have trees and shrubs available, including elderberry, willow, goumi berry, fig, serviceberry and paw paw.
Grass to Greens is Available!
Do you need a late summer clean up of your yard or a fresh garden plan for fall?
Call for a free consultation (828) 775-0614
September Harvest Recipe...
Would you like to contribute a seasonal recipe for our monthly newsletter? See below for details!
Paw Paw Ice Cream – makes about one quart
This recipe contributed by Cathy Cleary from The Southern Harvest Cookbook
1 cup pureed paw paw
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup half and half
1 cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Stir well. Freeze in your ice cream freezer according to its instructions. Serve alongside pound cake, sugar cookies, or all by it’s lonesome.
Do you have delicious seasonal recipes you would like to share in our newsletter? Please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org along with a photo if you have one, and information on where the recipe originated. We would especially love to feature treasured family recipes!
Come to the West Asheville Garden Stroll this Saturday for a taste and purchase online between 9/13-9/19
Bountiful Cities is partnering with The Hop Handcrafted Ice Cream and the West Asheville Garden Stroll to raise funds for our important outdoor learning environment at the Hall Fletcher Elementary School FEAST Garden. The FEAST program of Bountiful Cities teaches hands-on gardening and cooking education to kids, providing practical skills that can support life-long food security.
On Saturday September 11th, The Hop will launch a new ice cream flavor Blueberry Purple Basil using produce from Bountiful Cities gardens. This new flavor will be rolled out at the West Asheville Garden Stroll. The Hop will donate a portion of proceeds from on-line sales to Bountiful Cities the following week, September 13-19th. To order online and support Bountiful Cities Sept. 13-19th go to: https://hopicecreamnc.com/online-store/
Bountiful Cities is partnering with East Fork Pottery for a Raffle Fundraiser!Today, Sunday August 15th we are launching a raffle for three collectible pieces of East Fork pottery. The raffle will last for three weeks with sales closing on Friday September 3rd. Winners will be chosen on Sunday September 5th 2021. Pottery can be viewed and tickets can be purchased on-line at BountifulCities.Org. Raffle tickets can also be purchased by emailing Cathy@BountifulCities.Org.
Buy Your Raffle Tickets HERE
Since 2000 Bountiful Cities has promoted social justice and food sovereignty through hands-on educational programming, policy work, coalition building, urban agriculture installation, and community gardens. Working primarily in Asheville and Buncombe County, Bountiful Cities envisions abundant urban environments and food sovereign communities.
Raffle proceeds will support Bountiful Cities programs...
FEAST - School-based cooking and gardening education.
Asheville Buncombe Community Garden Network - Over 30 community gardens with access to our tool library, seed library, and free hands-on educational workshops.
Grass to Greens - Edible Landscaping and School Garden Maintenance.
Windfall Collective Plant Nursery - Growing out seedlings to support community gardens and local urban agriculture.
Asheville Buncombe Food Policy Council (ABFPC) - Coordinating across multiple organizations to support local sustainable agriculture policies. Bountiful Cities serves as the fiscal agent for the ABFPC.
East Fork Pottery has been a values-centered business since day one. Paying our employees a living wage so that they build a foundation of financial stability, partnering with nonprofit and grassroots organizations to help raise awareness and funds for their liberation and equity work, along with measuring, reducing and offsetting our operations’ carbon footprint are some of the commitments we’ve made to be more than just a business that makes pottery and money.
For more information about this fundraising effort or getting involved with Bountiful Cities please email Cathy@BountifulCities.Org.
By Lydia George
So many people love to see and hear birds around their homes and will put out bird feeders filled with seeds to attract more of this wildlife to their yards. While this is a good strategy, there are also many beautiful perennial plants and flowers that you can add to your landscape which will feed the birds every year, they will replenish as a natural resource rather than having to continually buy seeds from the store, and this method of feeding native birds is also less disruptive to their natural feeding habits. You can also put out nesting boxes, shrubs and tall grasses that will act as a natural habitat for bird species to make homes in!
There are many beautiful flowering plants that birds love to eat! Black eyed susans, echinacea, daisies, cornflower, sunflowers, asters, joe pye, zinnias, yarrow, goldenrod and daisies are all great natural food that will make your yard beautiful while attracting native pollinators and song birds to your yard!
There are also many shrubs and trees that can feed birds as well. Evergreens like Holly, Rhododendron, redcedar and hemlock all have berries that birds love to eat. Also trees like sumac, elderberries, dogwood and redbuds are beneficial to birds, insects and humans (for food or medicine), just make sure you are prepared to share the bounty of your harvest.
Vining plants like native honeysuckle varieties and virginia creeper can create great habitat as well as food for many different bird species, including hummingbirds.
For nesting sites, many birds like dense clustering bushes that create protection from predators. Aronia, viburnum, and winter berries are all great shrubs that create this kind of environment while also providing food with their fruiting bodies! Also if you have room in your yard, taller trees like willows, oaks and sycamores have lots of nooks and crannies that are perfect homes for all sorts of different wildlife.
Having native grass varieties can also be great for providing seeds and nesting materials for many birds, Indian rice grass, northern sea oats, switchgrass, prairie dropseed, bluestem grasses and so many more varieties are beautiful ornamental grasses that have these benefits for wildlife.
Not only will these plants beautify your yard, lots of them will provide you with edible food and medicine. Most importantly you will be providing much needed habitat to native song birds, amphibians, reptiles and mammals which are exciting to see, and so important to the health of our native ecosystems! This is just a few of the many hundreds of plants that will serve important roles for all sorts of wildlife.
Would you like to learn more about Solar?
SPICES AND POTS!
What do beautiful pottery and delicious spices have in common? Both support Bountiful Ciites work! We are so pleased to welcome our newest sponsors and co-creators. Spicewalla is donating their amazing spices for our FEAST cooking and gardening education classes, and East Fork Pottery is donating pottery for an upcoming raffle! Stay tuned!
Volunteer in a Community Garden...
Lucy Herring Elementary School Peace Garden (formerly Vance Elementary School) in West Asheville. Tuesdays 11-12:30 Thursdays 9:30am-11am Please contact email@example.com for questions and to RSVP
Pearson Garden and Nursery Garden workdays on August 5th, and August 19th 2-5pm(1st and 3rd Thursdays). Located at 408 Pearson Dr. in Montford. Please click this link to sign up. Contact Alex@BountifulCities.org for more information.
Pearson Garden Solar Installation! Volunteers needed Saturday Aug. 28th, and Sunday August 29th. Please sign up to receive more information HERE.
Hall Fletcher Elementary School FEAST Garden Sundays 10am-2pm. 60 Ridgelawn Rd. Please click this link to sign up. Contact Jacob@BountifulCities.org for more information.
Shiloh Community Garden - Saturdays 10am - 2pm Please contact Lydia George firstname.lastname@example.org for more info
Peace Gardens and Market 10-noon on Saturdays
Fairview Road Resilience Garden - 5-7:30pm Wednesday evenings, 10am-noon Saturday mornings. If you would like to attend please RSVP using this link
Root Cause Farm hosts volunteer opportunities on Wednesdays 6-8pm, Thursdays 8:00am-12:00pm, Sundays 3:00-5:00pm. Sign up here!
Verner Center for Early Learning Wednesdays from 3:30-5:30pm 2586 Riceville Rd. Asheville, NC behind Outward Bound. Sign up or just show up! Contact Whitney Rea Smith (828)450-7503 or Wrea@verneremail.org
Soul and Soil Project Tuesdays and Thursdays 9-12. Fairview. Please contact email@example.com for more info and to join
Dr. John Wilson Community Garden Mondays and Thursday mornings from 8-12. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Haw Creek Commons Garden - workdays are every Tuesday and Thursday morning 10:00am-11:30am
World Soil day in Buncombe County
On Sunday December 5th there will be a mix of local events around Buncombe County to honor soil by promoting awareness of healthy soil and celebrating its many benefits.
There will be events to help educate our communities on the importance of soil biodiversity and sustainable soil management.
In the evening there will be a potluck and film viewing to celebrate the wonders of soil. Learn more and register for events HERE.