Gardener Story: Samantha Bellavance
Our family was thrilled when we found out we were accepted to the Build It Up East TN Program. We spent three years living in an Airstream traveling the country while working. The thing we craved the most during our travels was a garden. We’d often find ourselves roaming the aisles of local nurseries looking at all of the plants, taking in the colors and scents, imaging our dream garden that would happen “one day.” At one point, the urge got so extreme that we utilized our RV wet box (intended for hose storage) and attempted to plant herbs. After spending hundreds of dollars on soil, fertilizer, and plants, we were heartbroken when it quickly failed.
Fast forward to 2019. We chose East Tennessee as a place to lay down roots (pun intended), knowing that we intended to plant a garden as quickly as possible. Spring rolled around, and I diligently moved my seedlings from one window to the next each day, trying to catch the sunlight. A month later, after having acclimated to the weather, they were deep in the ground and we anxiously waited for our magical garden!
You know how this story ends. What little survived, wilted, yellowed, or became infested with bugs. I frantically tried to revive it, consulting books, the internet, and eventually begging my neighbor for help. She recommended BIU East TN and I am so happy that she did.
Within the first workshop, I developed an understanding of the complexity of gardening and was shocked I had actually been able to grow anything the previous year. Creating an actual map and determining the exact quantity of seeds needed revealed that I had likely done 5x the seeds the previous year, crowding everyone out. I look forward to our continued learning and hope to one day have our dream garden!