A Work In The Garden
CULLMAN Co., Ala. (WBRC) - Kelly Hayes teaches second grade in Cullman and her husband Jonathan is a teacher and coach. They also have a son and daughter and if that sounds like a full life, it’s only the beginning. To say they are gardeners would be a bit of an understatement, and now their backyard organic garden has garnered national recognition.
“So, I usually come out in the garden first thing in the morning. It’s usually pretty early because I’m a schoolteacher, but before school I’ll start my day by coming in the garden, and checking to see what needs to be harvested, what needs to be watered, explains Kelly. “And this is where I start all my seedlings that go into the garden, and I’ll get my egg basket for heading out to the hen house, and I’ll get my milk pail for when I’m ready to milk the goats.”
According to Kelly’s husband Jonathan, “We’ve been married this May will be 25 years and so it’s just been a process in our marriage that we both enjoy.”
There are backyard gardens and then there are big backyard gardens. This would be one of the latter.
“I started with one little raised garden bed, and my husband is very handy. He can do anything with a YouTube Video,” laughs Kelly. “He’s just always been very supportive of all my crazy ideas. We have eight raise beds now, two strawberry towers. We have a little mini-apple orchard behind the hen house.”
Jonathan is, indeed, very involved in the gardening, “People ask me all the time, what is your job here? To do what I’m told. ‘Yes, dear’ is my favorite answer.”
Kelly shows us around the hen house creating which has, naturally, garnered quite a bit of attention, “This was my homestead hack for the Johnny Appleseed Invitational Contest. This is my catchment system. I call it my poop hammock. At night the chickens sleep. They roost up on these bars. They eliminate most at night when they’re sleeping. so, in the night all their waste gets collected in the hammock and then I take it outside the next morning, and it goes straight to our compost bin where we make all our compost for the gardens.”
“It’s always been a passion and a calling for her to do this for her family and, man I just get to reap the benefits of it,” says Jonathan.
Now Kelly’s calling may win her a national organic gardening championship from Mother Earth News and The Johnny Appleseed Project, “Now we’re in the Final Three and it consists of six different challenges. The prize is 50-thousand dollars so we’re really hoping Alabama will vote for us.”
You can vote on Instagram at Kelly Hayes 53098, but contests aside, Jonathan knows the proof is on the plate, “Every meal it’s like, this was literally in the ground a few minutes ago. So, that’s really neat, too.”
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