Week of August 3, 2015
Abbreviated Weekly Farm Report
From Friendship Farms & Fare
A Community Service To West Pasco’s Urban Agriculture Community
August 3 Farm Report now available. Go to:
Seedings: Vates Collards (126)
Garden Starts: Okra (last seedlings, not previously planted)
Harvest Notes: okra, eggplant, herbs, red malabar spinach, sweet potato leaves, sweet potatoes
That’s how much rain we had last week at our garden measuring gauges. There was very little damage to the crops, although it is likely that the extremely wet conditions will damage the sweet potatoes.
Heavy & Prolonged Rain Slows Projects
All projects were slowed by the heavy and sustained rain of the past week. We did a little early season planting and some very late summer planting, but most of our plans were rained out.
First Fall Seedings
We seeded Vates Collards last week, and they have already sprouted – about 60% germination (and counting!). This is our first seeding of fall crops. We are early, especially with the new climate realities, but collards have done well in warmer temperatures, and Vates appear especially tolerant of heat.
We’ll try to seed Lacinato kale this week.
(less than a festival but more than an ordinary day)
New Port Richey Library
August 24, 6:00
All are welcome to join the New Port Richey Environmental Committee for an “Okra Occasion” (less than a festival but more than an ordinary day!) on August 24. Friendship Farms & Fare is joining with other growers and citizens to share the magic of okra – one of Florida’s forgotten vegetable treasures. There will be samples of okra dishes, a film, a brief lecture, an okra recipe book, and some fresh okra for sale by local growers.
Sweet Potato Update
16 ½ pounds harvested
We harvested 8 pounds this past week (one more bed). This is again light for the size of the bed harvested. Our total is now 16 ½ pounds. This latest batch of SP are in good shape, with little insect damage and no splitting. Most were small, although there were several mediums. None were AA, but most were A quality.
We will try to harvest more this week – with Sunday looking like the best day.
We did discover some fruit that was mushy – rotten, due to saturated soil (alas!)
We’ve staggered the planting to stagger the harvest. Using this method, we’ll be harvesting from July to late August and early September.
In 2013 we harvested 150 lbs. Last year (2014) our harvest was 250 lbs. This year we are aiming at 400 lbs., although the first rounds are not particularly encouraging.
We harvested 6 pounds of okra last week, bringing our total to 46 pounds..
This is our second best week. In previous years, our best weeks have been 10-11 pounds. We’ll probably reach that in an upcoming week, and would have come close last week, were it not for rain and the primary garden volunteer being away from the garden.
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 larger event in mid-June, 2016. Let us know if you are interested.
If you did not get our okra slide show, and would like to step-by-step sequence of images of okra preparation, let us know and we’ll send the images. As the slid show shows, even large/long okra can be tender.
Some folks want only small and thin okra, and we are sharing accordingly. Everyone else will occasionally receive larger pods. Some may be woody, but we have found many (even up to 12 inches) that are quite tender.
Eggplants are flourishing. We harvested eight more this week, bringing our total to 122 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.
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
Projects Slowed By Rain
The persistent and sometimes heavy rains have been generally beneficial for the gardens, but they have slowed work on projects.
Harvests of okra and eggplant were good. Large quantities of sweet potato leaves were harvested, and shared with neighbors. One, Adam, prepared a large quantity with onions and garlic. He shared some with us – delicious!
We did start seeds for the first fall crop: collards in 126 cells. This is early, but starting seeds was about the best work we could do with the rain.
We harvested one more sweet potato bed. See later information in the report this.
Even with the recent heavy rains, we have already used more water than we do for an entire summer (May through September).
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. We might try some okra seedlings left over from our last seeding project. Definitely don’t plant them in August.
For now, try peppers and tomatoes. We are. Eggplant might still make it.
In mid-August, we’ll start fall crops (broccoli, kale, collards, swiss chard).
We have received reports of folks planting pumpkins and squash, and we’ve had reports in previous years of locals being successful with squashes. As for us, we’ve never been successful, despite repeated efforts. We do not intend to try again, but we encourage others to give it a try, since some report success.
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/).
Seed Dealer License & Registration
Friendship Farms & Fare
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.
Visit the Friendship Farms & Fare website for the Weekly Farm Report:
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:
If you would like to support our mission and individual projects, you may share donations through our website (above) or at our mailing address:
PO Box 596
New Port Richey, FL 34656-0596
Friendship Farms & Fare reaffirms, restores, and advances agrarian ideals to reestablish a sustainable culture
Natural, Economic, Cultural…bringing three ecologies together to regenerate a resilient future for all.
PO Box 596 ● New Port Richey, Florida 34656-0596
Ecology Florida advances the harmonious integration of healthy natural, cultural, and economic ecologies to regenerate a sustainable world