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Text & photos by Brian Vick, Community Kitchen Garden Coordinator, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

Altria volunteer picking cherry tomatoes, sporting a super-sensible and stylish gardening hat.

Altria volunteer picking cherry tomatoes, sporting a super-sensible and stylish gardening hat.

The beginning of the fall planting season in the Lewis Ginter Community Kitchen Garden is almost more challenging than spring. Fall offers a more compressed window of opportunity for success, so it’s important to get the crops started at the right time and all at the same time. We’ve had great participation from our Lewis Ginter and HandsOn RVA volunteers during our Monday and Saturday morning work sessions, and consistent productivity from numerous corporate and special interest groups. However, we needed a surge effort — we needed many hands (and backs) to plant the fall crops during the first two weeks of September.

Luckily, 39 Altria associates rode to the rescue. Led by Helen Miller, these Altria associates represented the Sensory & Analytical Sciences Group. They planted 509 transplants (cauliflower: 232, broccoli: 215, cabbage: 62) in addition to tasks like removing tomato vines and stakes, a ton of weeding, and digging drainage trenches. Thanks to these Altria teams and other recent volunteers we’ve now completed the planting of 837 transplants total —  279 each of cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower. We’ll plant 100 more this weekend.

Altria volunteers planting cauliflower transplants.

Altria volunteers planting cauliflower transplants.

Altria volunteers install the broccoli plot.

Altria volunteers install the broccoli plot.

Altria volunteers put the finishing touches on the broccoli plot by mulching the beds.

Altria volunteers put the finishing touches on the broccoli plot by mulching the beds.

Altria volunteers clear a bed of tomato vines, stakes and morning glory vines - a big job.

Altria volunteers clear a bed of tomato vines, stakes and morning glory vines – a big job.

Altria volunteers, Lewis Ginter Community Kitchen Garden.

Altria volunteers, Lewis Ginter Community Kitchen Garden, day 1.

Altria volunteers, Lewis Ginter Community Kitchen Garden.

Altria volunteers, Lewis Ginter Community Kitchen Garden, day 2.

Altria volunteers, Lewis Ginter Community Kitchen Garden, day 3.

Altria volunteers, Lewis Ginter Community Kitchen Garden, day 3.

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