Upcoming Workshops for 2014

veggie medleyOur new year’s resolution was more educational hands-on workshops and we’re following through! We’re partnering with Florida Organic Growers and Alachua County to bring you several great workshops. Most of them are free! For more details on each of these workshops, please visit Forage Farm’s website. In case you didn’t know…Grow Gainesville is a project of Forage! A local non-profit whose mission to to inspire people to value healthy food, land and community.

Pollinator Class and Native Bee House Building Saturday May 17th 10AM-1PM at Forage Farm, 7204 SE CR 234 Gainesville

Join us at Forage Farm, home to a host of native pollinators and a great place to learn about the best ways to attract them and protect them. We will discuss the basics about our native pollinators in Florida and have a hands-on native bee house building activity. You will be outdoors, so please bring a sun hat, sunscreen, bug repellant if you wish, and wear close-toed shoes. Bring water and snacks. Talks led by UF professionals, house building by Melissa and Anna of Forage Farm. Please RSVP to Melissa, melissa@foragefarm.org. There will be a small fee to cover the costs of materials.

Seed Saving 101Saturday May 24 10-11:30AM at the Downtown Farmers Garden (see address details below)

Saving seed has become a lost art, but one that remains critical to our own success as individual gardeners and as a community of growers and eaters striving for self-reliance. By learning to save seed, we not only break free from our dependence on large seed companies, but we also begin cultivating varieties that perform well in our climate. In this workshop we’ll review the basic concepts of seed saving that will start you down the path to saving your own seeds. Warning: seed saving can be addictive! Led by Melissa DeSa of Forage Farm.

Common Garden Pests May 31 10-11:30AM at the Downtown Farmers Garden (see address details below)

The warm weather and approaching summer rains mean that you are likely to see an increase of pests in your garden. In this workshop we’ll cover how to identify some common vegetable garden pests and organic methods for control. Bring pictures and or specimens from your garden and we will try to identify and help you come up with solutions. Led by Travis Mitchell of Florida Organic Growers.

Composting Saturday August 30 10-11:30AM at the Downtown Farmers Garden (see address details below)

Learn the principles of making black garden gold in under 2 months from kitchen waste. In this workshop, you will learn what tools are needed to properly compost; one secret to kickstart a new compost pile that can save you 3 to 6 months; how to make the most of finished compost in your garden; and how you can use earthworms to assist your composting efforts. Led by Chris Cano of Gainesville Compost, a bike-powered local compost business.

Raised Bed Organic Gardening Saturday Sept. 27 10-11:30AM at the Downtown Farmers Garden (see address details below)

Led by Travis Mitchell of Florida Organic Growers. More info coming soon.

The Downtown Farmers Garden is located on the Alachua County Administration Building lawn, 12 SE 1st St. It is on the SW corner of the lawn. If you were enjoying a gelato or at Emiliano’s for tapas, looking across the street, you’d see the garden tucked up near the building.

 

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2014 Spring and Summer Seeds

Florida Summer herbs n vegOur garden seed list is finally here! Stay tuned for the full document with all the details of each seed. But for now this list gives you an idea of what we have so you can plan your garden. Some seed is limited and will be on a first come, first serve basis. We also have a few fall/winter leftovers not listed so just ask if you’re dying for more kale or lettuce, we probably have it.

 

Seed Distribution Dates and Locations:

Wed Feb. 5th 4-7pm at the downtown farmers market

Sat Feb. 8th 10am-1pm at Highlands Presbyterian Church, 1001 NE 16th Ave.

Tuesday Feb. 11th 5-8pm at Highlands Presbyterian Church, 1001 NE 16th Ave.

How to join the Seed Library community:

Just fill out a simple application and payment, you decide snail mail or electronic. OR just come to a distribution and sign up.

Grow GainesvilleApplication (snail mail paper application and check)

Online application and PayPal payment (fast, easy, safe)

More info on the seed library on our Seed Library page.

Seed Library 2014 Condensed Version of the Seed List

Full Description of all Seeds

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2014 Spring and Summer Plant Orders

Peppers and VerbenaThis spring, in addition to our vast offerings of seeds from the Seed Library, we’re teaming up with our friends at Firefly Farm to offer you discounted, heirloom veggies, herbs and flower starts! These are heirlooms tried and tested for our Florida climate. Firefly Farm is offering a discounted rate from their regular retail pricing, AND a portion of each sale will be donated to Forage!

Plant pick up will be Wednesday March 19th at the downtown Farmers Market. Pre-orders must be in by January 17th, 2014. 

Option 1: Print and mail your completed form and a check.

Option 2: Email your completed form to Kathleen and either mail a check or pay online using PayPal (sent to Kathleen’s email).

Firefly Farm 2014 Plant List

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Fall & Winter Seed Library Distributions

kale-harvest-Nov-2012Fall and winter gardening is so awesome and we’re excited to see you all again (or for the first time!) to share seeds and gardening stories. Click below to download a checklist and full seed variety description.

Fall Winter 2013 Seed Descriptions and Checklist

After our second distribution, we still have plenty of seeds! The only things we have run out are: Savoy Cabbage, Chinese Cabbage, Purple Haze Carrot and Wild Onion.

You may print off the first page checklist for when you come to a distribution, and use it to indicate your choices if you wish. The list is only for you if you want to make sure you get what you came for. Just keeps you organized, that’s all!

We ordered from the following seed companies: Johnny’s, Sustainable Seed Company and Southern Exposure Seed Exchange.

See our Seed Library page to learn more about how it all works.

Our distribution dates are:

Saturday Sept. 7  Seed Distribution 11am-1pm at Seed Library

Wednesday Sept. 11 Seed Distribution 4-7pm downtown farmers market

Saturday Sept. 21st, 10am-12pm Seed Starting Workshop! Porters Community Farm. Click flyer link for more info! Seed Starting Workshop Flyer

Tuesday Sept. 24 Seed Distribution 5:30-8:00pm at Seed Library

The Seed Library is located in Highlands Presbyterian Church, 1001 NE 16th Ave.

Please note that we are trying to raise funds for a greenhouse to help us eventually provide low cost starts as part of the seed library program. We also have our “Seeds for Everybody” program, which ensures that everyone who wants seeds but can’t afford them can still grow. Any extra donations you can spare will help us fund both. Click here to donate online, or mail a check to Forage PO Box 358256 Gainesville, FL 32635. Your donation is tax deductible.

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Summer Gardening

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There are a few options for your summer garden. Most of us are worn out from working in the heat, and the plants are too. Some plants however thrive in this humid, hot weather. The Edible Plant Project can help you select perennial plants that will thrive in our climate. Best part is that perennials generally require less maintenance, and can take a bit of summer neglect.

If you have annual beds that are fading out, the best thing is to remove struggling plants before they become a problem. The last thing you need is disease and pests building up in stressed out plants. Yank them now and consider the following summer options.

1. Cover crops are a great way to add biomass and nutrition back to the soil. Read here for more info on cover crops for Florida. You can go to the feed store and ask for black-eyed peas in bulk, they’re inexpensive and great at fixing nitrogen. They grow readily with little care. Be sure to cut them down BEFORE they produce peas and you’re tempted to harvest, otherwise all the nitrogen goes to the pea rather than the plant material you’ll be incorporating back into the soil. If you’ve never grown legumes in your garden, or have had trouble growing them in the past, consider using inoculant. It helps the roots establish the microbial community needed to fix nitrogen. Yields will be much better with inoculant. Hancock Seeds in south Florida sells the stuff, as does Johnny’s, just make sure you are getting the right strain for the type of seed you’re using.

2. Solarizing is a good option if you’ve had serious weed and pest issues and want to get ahead of them without chemicals or labor. The trick is taking advantage of the hottest months (June-August), using clear plastic that is well sealed to the ground. Read here for instructions on how to solarize properly. Don’t do this if you have no weed/pest/disease problems as it cooks everything in the soil. You will have to replenish your cooked soil with fresh compost to re-introduce microbes and biomass.

3. If you don’t want to do either of these things, be sure to pull out all plant matter to prevent it from becoming weakened and attracting pests and disease. Be aggressive; there is no need to nurse along a sickly looking tomato plant giving minimal yields. Cover the soil with cardboard or mulch to prevent weeds from taking hold this summer. You may also add fresh manure, giving it ample time to rot and be safe for planting by fall.

Fall gardening starts around August-October. Some gardeners like to get a late tomato and pepper crop by planting in August. However the true cool season crops (i.e. leafy greens and root crops) need cool weather to thrive, so late September and October are ideal times to plant. If you haven’t already, consider joining the seed library for unlimited access to garden seeds all year.

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2013 Spring and Summer Garden Seeds

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Mark your calendars, seed distribution dates:

Saturday Feb. 2nd 

11am-2pm at Highlands Presbyterian Church

Tuesday Feb. 5th

6-8pm at Highlands Presbyterian Church

Wednesday Feb. 13th

4-7pm at Union Street Farmers Market

Click here for the complete Spring/Summer 2013 Seed List

Those new and want to know how to participate please visit the Seed Library Page

Email: melissa@foragefarm.org
Phone: 352-284-4053

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Forage: Healthy Food, Land and Community

Forage is a new non-profit, encompassing many locally-based food initiatives including Grow Gainesville. Forage is a small, working farm providing educational opportunities for everyone kids through adults! Check out the website for more information, or how to get involved.

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