Sowing Seeds of Hope

Volunteer in garden

Meals 4 Health and Healing Giving Garden

The Giving Garden is critical to our mission and not only serves as a vital source for fresh herbs and vegetables, but we use it to educate teens and adults about whole foods and the importance of organic vegetables. The Teen Summer Camp program involves garden time for nutrition education and enrichment. During the school year, adult and teen volunteers help the gardener maintain the space and tend the garden.

The Giving Garden is supported through generous grants from The Herb Society of Nashville and Slow Food of Middle Tennessee.

Garden Zones, Seedlings, Frost

Herbs and kids

Garden Manager, Missy, and our group of volunteers are itching to get back into the Giving Garden but in the meantime, they are busy prepping seeds and getting ready to plant cool-weather vegetables in February.

When can you start seeds? Generally, seeds need to be started four to six weeks before the date of the last frost. But before planting and prepping seeds, it is important to know hardiness zone and frost date. The USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map is the standard by which gardeners and growers can determine which plants are most likely to thrive at a location. Living in Nashville metro area, we have a relatively cool spring and fall and hot, (albeit humid) long summer. Though some may not be thrilled about another southern summer, it’s ideal for virtually all vegetables, if you know when to plant them.

Hardiness zones were developed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to determine the plants that grow best in your climate. It divides North America into eleven zones by minimum average annual temperatures. Each zone is then divided into “a” and “b” segments. For Nashville, we are in “Zone 7a” which means our average annual extreme minimum temperature is somewhere between 0° and 5° Fahrenheit. Translation - We don’t get too cold. This is important when you are choosing perennials that need to withstand winter temperatures to survive.

A frost date is the average date of the last frost in Spring or the first frost in fall or winter. “Frost” occurs when the air temperature reaches 32°. Beware, many frosts can occur JUST above freezing. To be safe, at the Giving Garden, though our last frost date is around April 15th, experience has led to waiting until early May to get tender plants in the ground.

Be sure to check back in February for some tips on how to get your seeds started and find out what we are direct sowing!

Garden Chat with Garden Manager, Missy and Nutrition Educator, Lexy

The first video in our garden video series, Garden Chat! Join Garden Manager Missy and Nutrition Educator Lexy as they introduce you to the Giving Garden and discuss the benefits of the versatile and ubiquitous Southern delight - tomatoes.

Thanks to Slow Food of Middle Tennessee for their support in funding this series!

Pruning Tomatoes

Did you know you needed to prune tomatoes? Garden Manager, Missy shows us how and why it is important.

Thanks to Slow Food of Middle Tennessee for their support in funding this series!

Growing Basil

Lets talk about growing basil in the garden!

Thanks to Slow Food of Middle Tennessee for their support in funding this series!

Butternut Squash

Join Garden Manager Missy and Lexy as they talk about the benefits of growing butternut squash.

Thanks to Slow Food of Middle Tennessee for their support in funding this series!

We are so grateful for support from our Farm Partners

Turtle Island Farms in Ashland City, Tenn