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Agriculture News – July 20, 2015

Agriculture News – July 20, 2015

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Week of July 20, 2015

Abbreviated Weekly Farm Report

From Friendship Farms & Fare

http://www.fffsite.org/

A Community Service To West Pasco’s Urban Agriculture Community

July 20 Farm Report now available.  Go to:

http://media.wix.com/ugd/643592_78e0c4203ae54db48d179caa18507b48.pdf

Seedings:  none

Garden Starts: Red Malabar Spinach, sweet bell peppers

Harvest Notes:  okra, eggplant, herbs, red malabar spinach, sweet potato leaves

photo 4_2

Sweet Potato Harvest Begins

We’ll begin the sweet potato harvest this week – probably doing some sample diggings on Saturday and Sunday (July 18 and 19).  If samples are promising, we’ll increase the effort. Several beds should be ready now, but conditions vary from year to year and this year we had a mini-drought of about a month, followed by (now) a full week of persistent daily rain, and some soaking downpours.

Stay tuned.  If  you are interested in sweet potatoes this week, add them to your share. If we have them, you will too.

Red Malabar and Okinawa Spinach

Our two summer spinaches are beginning to produce a few more leaves.  They are still not heavy producers, and may never be, but we are able to get small quantities every week.  Up until now it has been only the Red Malabar, but now the Okinawa is starting to produce.

Bell Peppers Maturing

Those young bell pepper plants, noted last week, now have some harvestable fruit. We’d like to see them get a bit bigger, but feel free to include in your share request, and we’ll accommodate if they are of sufficient size.

These are Carolina Wonders and Charleston Belles, from Southern Exposure Seed Company. They are not listed on the Share List, so you’ll have to have read this far in the report to know that you can order this week and probably get some.

More Loquat Trees Flowering

We now have four loquat trees flowering.  Three are the young trees we were so excited about last year, which produced fruit for the first time.  The other is the old tree in the South Grove. We can already taste those delicious fruit in our minds, but we’ll have to wait until January for the real thing.

3F & Urban Agriculture in New Port Richey

Friendship Farms & Fare is working with several local property owners and some local not-for-profit organizations to develop community gardens (and hopefully, urban farms) at least three sites in New Port Richey.

We’ve been a leader in urban agriculture in New Port Richey and we look forward to again pioneering new opportunities.

If you’d like to know more about urban agriculture in New Port Richey, drop us a line at: http://www.fffsite.org/#!contact/cl4l

Garden Overview

Summer Plantings Complete: June 14

Fall Seeding Starts in one month (August 15)

(additional details and assessments follow)

So far, we can title this summer: The Irrigation Summer. We have used more water this year than we ever have before.  Even with the recent heavy rains, we have already used more water than we do for an entire summer (May through September).

Usually, summer is a low irrigation period because of frequent rains.  This summer is the exception with baking heat and above normal temperatures.  By 11:00 AM the ground is dry and leaves on all the plants are drooping.

Hart’s garden is now also completed, with the last plantings being okra, tomatoes, and bell peppers.

The end of summer is approaching, signaled by the beginning of the sweet potato harvest.

We do not recommend planting summer crops (okra, sweet potatoes, peanuts, eggplant), but you can give them a try. Definitely don’t plant them in August.

For now, try peppers and tomato.  We are. Eggplant might still make it.

In mid-August, we’ll start fall crops (broccoli, kale, collards, swiss chard).

See the Share Report for all items.

For all plantings, we use seeds from our collection or heirloom seeds from Seed Savers Exchange (http://www.seedsavers.org/).

Agriculture

Okra

33½  pounds   

We harvested nearly 6  pounds of okra this week, bringing our total to 33½ pounds..

If you read this far in the newsletter, and like Okra, come join the New Port Richey urban agriculture community for an okra mini-fest on August 24.

We are doing some advance planning for a lager event in mid-June, 2016. Let us know if you are interested.

Tomatoes and Peppers

Volunteer tomato plants are thriving and we are still hoping for a few tomatoes in the coming weeks.  An infestation of leaf-footed bugs decimated fruit on vines in the south garden, but there have been none on the Mesoamerican Grapes Tomatoes.  If you do not want tomatoes let us know. If you do, we’ll include some of our MesoAmerican Grapes as they are available.

Despite our previous challenges, our seedlings are doing pretty good.  We are cautiously monitoring Arkansas Traveler Tomatoes.  Our Carolina Wonder peppers are doing quite well, with dozens of healthy seedlings and several good-sized plants in the gardens.

3F and other gardeners in the East Madison community have observed Leaf Footed Bugs on tomatoes.  Here is a nice little story that ran in NewsPortRihchey:

http://newsportrichey.org/2015/07/02/special-agricultural-report-leaf-footed-bug-invasion/

Eggplant – 108

Eggplants are flourishing.  We harvested twelve more this week, bringing our total to 108 so far.  The size and appearance is not consistent, and some would not be acceptable at a commercial market. All appear to have good texture and favor.

You may order eggplant this week, but we may not have enough for all shares.

Sweet Potato Leaves

Some of you are familiar with the secret summer green — Sweet Potato Leaves. They are delicious and have many culinary uses. Every year about this time, we begin listing these nutritious summer greens, which are very popular in Asia, but little known in the USA.  There are numerous ways to prepare these greens, and we encourage you to try a few samples, and see if you like them.  Some folks prefer the flavor and texture of SP leaves to more well-known greens, like spinach or kale.  Here is a site with nutritional information on SP leaves and links to recipes: http://www.epicurious.com/archive/blogs/editor/2012/08/cooking-with-sweet-potato-greens.html

3F, Ecology Florida, and Market Off Main Offer Seed Savers Exchange Seeds in New Port Richey

Good gardens require good seeds, and Tampa Bay now has access to the highest quality seeds. These are Seed Savers Exchange heirloom, organic seeds.  Your CSA has joined other groups committed to sustainability in sponsoring a Seed Savers Exchange seed kiosk in New Port Richey.

Through a cooperative arrangement with Friendship Farms & Fare and Ecology Florida, the Market Off Main, in New Port Richey, now offers a wide range of organic, heirloom, non-GMO seeds exclusively from Seed Savers Exchange.
This is a trend-setting achievement for the Market Off Main, and another verification of New Port Richey’s leadership in ecological stewardship, sustainability, and resiliency.   Market Off Main in New Port Richey will be the only location on the West Coast of Florida offering these high quality packaged seeds.

Ecology Florida News carried a feature article on the kiosk by your 3F Farmer, which you can read at this link:

http://www.ecologyflorida.org/2014/12/on-the-lighter-side-the-story-of-the-seed-kiosk-in-new-port-richey/

Ecology Florida advances the harmonious integration of healthy natural, cultural, and economic ecologies to regenerate a sustainable world

http://www.ecologyflorida.org/

The Market Off Main is a meeting place, a community hub, and an entertainment center.  It features local produce, a delicatessen, and a cafe.

http://www.marketoffmain.com/

Seed Savers Exchange is a non-profit organization dedicated to saving and sharing heirloom seeds. Since 1975, our members have been passing on our garden heritage by collecting and distributing thousands of samples of rare garden seeds to other gardeners.

http://www.seedsavers.org/

3F Produce for General Public

Non-Members may order items for $5.00 each, shares for $20 per week, or $50 per month. For this amount, contributors may request any and all items they desire from the weekly Share. Although we will assist with transmissions, it is the responsibility of the contributor to make arrangements for pick up of the share.

As always, non-CSA Members may request single items from the share list for $5 per item.  A full share for one week (any/all items) is $20, and $50 for one month.  Annual shares are recommended, at $300 per year.  Five-month shares are $200.

Just reply using the website contact link if you desire anything on the list.  We suggest non-shareholders start an account to cover costs of items.

EGGS

Prices are $6.50 a dozen, and $4.00 a half-dozen. These prices are a bit higher than prices at commercial grocers. Acquiring eggs from local farms keeps resources in our community, supports local farming, and directly benefits a local farm family.

As required by our policies, our suppliers are local, follow organic principles, practice compassionate husbandry, and allow chickens free range.

2015-2016 Renewal

Seed Dealer License & Registration

Friendship Farms & Fare

S009451

We just received our Seed Dealer License for 2015-2016.

3 F is a licensed Seed Dealer, through the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, which issues these licenses that are required to sell seeds to the public.

We renew in July every year. Through our friendship with Ecology Florida, we apply for the license as a subsidiary of Ecology Florida – a federally sanctioned Not For Profit organization.  Want to buy some seeds?

To explore the Ecology Florida project, see: http://www.ecologyflorida.org/

Community Garden Projects

Folks interested in acquiring a plot can contact us through the 3F site.

Together with East Madison Growers, we are developing another community garden plot on Montana Ave. in New Port Richey.

Shareholders interested in acquiring a plot may participate for reduced rates.

We have installed sample community garden beds.  Each is about 100 square feet.

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Visit the Friendship Farms & Fare website for the Weekly Farm Report:

http://www.fffsite.org/#!report/c1tuh

 

Friendship Farms & Fare is a branch of Ecology Florida, a not-for-profit corporation.  Contributions to Friendship Farms & Fare and Ecology Florida are tax deductible.  To learn more about Ecology Florida, please visit the website:

http://www.ecologyflorida.org/

If you would like to support our mission and individual projects, you may share donations through our website (above) or at our mailing address:

Ecology Florida

PO Box 596

New Port Richey, FL 34656-0596

Friendship Farms & Fare reaffirms, restores, and advances agrarian ideals to reestablish a sustainable culture

http://www.fffsite.org/

Natural, Economic, Cultural…bringing three ecologies together to regenerate a resilient future for all.

PO Box 596 ● New Port Richey, Florida 34656-0596

www.EcologyFlorida.org

Ecology Florida advances the harmonious integration of healthy natural, cultural, and economic ecologies to regenerate a sustainable world

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