BIU Backyard Gardeners: The Linkous Family

The Linkous Family

                First let me introduce our family and then I will tell you a little bit about us. My name is Stephanie and my husband is Jason. We have 4 wonderful children Madison 14, Dakota 10 , Brooklyn 5, and Jaxson 3. We also have 48 chickens which provide us with eggs, two great danes that keep our flock and garden safe from predators, and rabbits.


A little over 5 years ago we were blessed with the opportunity to be first time home owners. We had hoped for this opportunity for quite some time. During the years of renting we had many conversations about the things we wanted to do if we ever had our own place and at the top of that list was starting a garden.


So 5 summers ago , with little to no knowledge we set out to grow our own garden. That summer we spent countless hours just staring out into our garden hoping something would grow. Much to our surprise things started to grow and in a short amount of time we realized our passion for gardening. In that time we also started to realize that although things were growing we had made our fair share of mistakes. We had a descent crop that year, but we knew we had a lot to learn.


After two summers we decided we would double our garden and move it to another part of the land. We were off to a great start when our family suffered the loss of my father in law. During that time we lost a lot of our crop due to dealing with such an unexpected loss. So we spent most of the fall and winter planning for what we hoped would be a much better year. During this time my husband fell very sick and was hospitalized December 2015. We learned that his heart was failing and that he needed to be transferred to Vanderbilt university hospital asap for open heart.


While sitting in the hospital I came across an article about the Build it up program so I starting reading it. As I was reading I also realized that after my husbands heart surgery we were actually not going to be able to have a garden summer 2016 due to I would not have any help to do the major work because he would still be healing. As I continued to read I learned that the program would actually greatly help us as they would come till and help with the larger things that I was not going to be able to do on my own. At that point I decided to turn in the application and just pray that we would get accepted into the program. In March 2016 we found out that we were accepted and at that time I started talking with the children letting them know that they were really going to have to step up and help due to Jason was still healing and I could not do it on my own. The kids were actually very excited and have been a huge part of our gardening ever since. 


In just a few short months of being a part of this wonderful program we came to realize we still had A LOT to learn about gardening and things that we were doing wrong, also stuff we could do to make our family healthier as in growing organically. That year with so much help from the program we had an awesome crop and an over abundance of produce. So we put to use what we learned and joined the market gardening side of things. We started selling our extra produce and it has really helped with being able to support our family and their medical needs as we also have a special needs son.  We hope to continue to learn and to be able to pass our knowledge on to the next generations of gardeners. 


After learning so much from the build it up program this year we decided that we would have spring , summer, and fall crops. It has been a work in progress but we are getting the hang of the cool weather crops and very much still learning. A few weeks ago we were given once again heart sinking news that my husbands heart once again is failing and that we will be making another trip to Vanderbilt to have another open heart surgery , but thanks very much to this program I now know and have the needs and information that I need to be able to support my family with the food they need and the needs that they need through gardening. 


Many thanks to the build it up program!!!

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