GARDEN

Growing a diversity of vegetables for the health of people and the earth.

Dig In! grows a diversity of vegetables that are nutritious, delicious and good for the earth. We use a wide variety of practices passed down by generations of Yancey County gardeners. These practices promote healthy soil, control for pests and diseases without using synthetic chemicals, and ensure that the vegetables taste delicious. You’ll see SIX different types and sizes of beds at Dig In! and more than FORTY kinds of vegetables!

Garden With Us

The garden is maintained thanks to volunteer labor (and play) with staff support. We’d love to see you at a Work Together day – our volunteer day at Dig In!. Get directions to our garden.

Our Growing Tradition

Our approach to growing food combines current agricultural best practices with traditional methods of farming in Yancey County. We emphasize the importance of diversity in the garden, and we favor and use organic methods for raising vegetables, though we have not sought organic certification. We employ farmscaping as a means of controlling insect pests, which involves the planting of an assortment of mostly flowering plants which attract beneficial insects, birds, etc. Those birds and beneficial insects pollinate plants that become food and prey on the insects that might damage our crops. These methods are similar to the traditional ways people have grown crops here for centuries.

Kitchen gardens have always been an important part of life in Yancey County.  Families and neighbors are fed healthy food through these home gardens that give.  We aim to support the people who carry on this tradition and also those who would like to learn to grow food to feed themselves and neighbors.

Crops for the Mountains

The mountains of Western North Carolina are suitable for a variety of crops cultivated largely between April and October.rainbow chardFamilies in Yancey County have always grown a diversity of food that fed families in the mountains long before the Civil War. More recently, the economy in our county was heavily dependent on tobacco production. With the demise of the tobacco subsidies, local farmers sought jobs in factories and industry. Gardeners and farmers who continue to farm typically grow crops, such as cabbage, corn, beans and tomatoes.

At Dig In!, we choose our crops based on: 1) Feedback from people on what they like to eat 2) Does it pack a nutritional punch? 3) How well will it grow in the mountain climate? You will see a lot of green beans, leafy greens like mustard, chard, collards and kale, winter squash, sweet potatoes and beets at Dig In!. We use different techniques that encourage plants to grow in the mountain climate including many types of mulches to maintain soil moisture, suppress weeds and in some cases, warm the soil. Light cloth suspended over small hoops helps keep crops protected from cold temperatures and pests. Many distinct varieties of the same crop planted in the garden perform differently when pressured by pests, diseases, temperature fluctuations and rainfall.

Growing Soil

Without healthy soil it is impossible to grow healthy food. There are several organic techniques that improve the soil for growing food. We plant cover crops in the fall and winter to protect against soil erosion. Cover crops also reduce soil compaction and when cut down, add organic matter that increases the nutrients available to future seeds and plants. Cover crops also help to suppress weeds, making our job easier in the growing season. There is always an active compost pile at Dig In! where plant material, manure, water and air breakdown. By adding compost to the places where we grow plants, we add organic matter and nutrients. We use compost to increase the health of the plants and therefore, reduce the need for pesticides and fertilizers. We use a tractor and walk-behind tractor to till soil to prepare long beds, but we are careful not to till too often and only when the soil conditions are best for soil tilth and microbe health. Lasagna beds, raised beds and double dug beds are also ways we build healthy soil to grow food at Dig In!.

Explore the Garden – coming soon!

Garden map, crops and links to gardening and farming information.


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