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Farm Report – April 14, 2015

Farm Report – April 14, 2015

Week of April 13, 2015

Abbreviated Weekly Farm Report

From Friendship Farms & Fare

http://www.fffsite.org/

A Community Service To the Local Farming Community

For the full Farm Report, go to:

http://media.wix.com/ugd/643592_839a5d0915cf477b878028887ecaf98e.pdf

Seedings: Peppers none this week

Garden Starts: Okra: Star of David, Hill Country Red, Red Burgundy, Silver Queen.

Harvest Notes:  herbs, arugula, collards, kale, swiss chard, loquats, broccoli

Loquat Festival Draws Large Crowd

Education, Economic, and Cultural Impact Significant

The annual Florida Loquat Festival was a big success.  Estimates are that 400 persons attended, and judging from sales, that number seems accurate.  Over 150 jars of preserves were sold, and over 300 pounds of fresh fruit.  Green Plan Tree Farm sold over 200 trees.  The educational program was very well attended and the poetry festival stole the show.  Look for more details in the next issue of Loquat News.  Go to the Ecology Florida website to sign up for Loquat News.

East Madison Growers and Friendship Farms & Fare Team Up:

New Community Garden Planned in East Madison Neighborhood

3F has teamed up with friends and supporters to develop a new community garden in the East Madison neighborhood of New Port Richey.

The property owner has committed to having East Madison Growers and 3F use a vacant lot for a community garden.  There is still some paper work that needs to be reviewed and signed, but the project looks to be solid.  We’ll have more about this exciting new development in the future Farm Reports.

Pecan Tree Begins Leafing

Our massive pecan tree has begun leafing.  It will have a full canopy in a couple of weeks.   It is leafing a bit early this, but that is to be expected with the exceptionally high temperatures.  We’ll try to get some pecan again this year, but the squirrels are better than us at securing these nuts.

Sweet Potato Slips On Their way

Sweet Potato slips will be shipped this week.  If you would like to acquire some from Friendship Farms and Fare, please let us know.  We’ll hold them for you.

Garden Overview

Spring Plantings Begin

(additional details and assessments follows)

The winter growing season is over now – accelerated by excessive heat and lack of rain or cloud cover.  We are composting winter plants quickly, and trying to accelerate our seeding project. Even the summer seedlings do not like the high 80s (and now, 90s) we are getting.

We’ve cleared and remulched four of the south beds – getting ready for sweet potatoes.

We’ve planted cucumbers and okra, both are doing well.  We should receive our sweet potato slips next week.  If anyone who is reading this, would like to help with the SP plantings, just let us know.

If you would like SP slips, let us know.  We’ll share for .50 per slip.

We still have large quantities of collards, and kale.

Swiss chard, arugula, and broccoli are spent.

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/).

Loquats in the 3F Grove

Harvest Continues

109 lbs total

The loquat season is almost over – and what a season it has been!  This past week, we harvested 10 more pounds, and included small quantities in most shares.  Be sure to order if you’d like some this week.  Quantities will be small, but we may have enough for shares.

Total harvest this season: 109 lbs  (LY 75 lbs)

The season is passing, and some trees no longer have fruit. Others will have fruit for at least another month.

One of the many benefits of the loquat is its long fruiting season, with fruit maturing over a four-month period.  We’ll harvest our first fruits in January and keep harvesting through April.  We still have free fruit on one of our trees.

If you would like to order a tree for your own yard, garden, or food forest, just let us know.  We have all sizes from small (1 gallon pots, 1-2 feet $10-20) to very large (5 gallon pots, 5 feet+ $50 and up). 

Broccoli: Past Peak

317 heads harvested, so far

Composting begins

Prized plants flagged for seed saving

We topped out at 228 broccoli planted this season.

We are now past peak on the broccoli. We’ll still have enough for shares for several weeks, but he height of the season has passed.

We harvested 8 heads last week, for a total of 317 heads so far this season.  Last year, our harvest totaled 164.  As the season continues, readers will notice that the total number of heads will far exceed the number of plants planted.  This is because Calabrese (our famous heirloom!) produces secondary and sometimes tertiary heads.

There are very few good-sized heads left, but a fair number of florets, mostly secondary and tertiary heads – some quite large.   The above normal heat stressed the plants, and most are now flowering.  The little cool spell will likely preserve some heads.

We’ve begun composting the spent plants and flagged several for seed saving.

Okra Seedlings

We’ve planted more okra seedlings in the south garden – several of each variety: Silver Queen, Hill Country Red, Star of David, Red Burgundy.  All are doing well. Okra seeded last week germinated right on time – again, at just about 100%.

Cucumbers

The cucumbers are thriving. We enjoyed our first one on Saturday.  The most successful are the Japanese Climbing. We have planted Double Yields, Armenians, and Japanese Climbing. They are growing in the front garden, and the New South garden, next to the blackberries.

Tomatoes and Peppers

We started tomato and pepper seeds.  The tomatoes have sprouted but not the peppers.  Not sure why the peppers are dormant. Tomatoes that are up are Arkansas Traveler (one of our favorites) and Mexico Midgets.  Tropics have sprouted. None are particularly robust. We’ll plant other varieties soon.

Kale

Kale continues to thrive, but it is past peak. We have ample shares of kale for all shareholders. Our weekly kale harvests are about twice the size as last year – e.g. last year we used one gallon packing bags and this year we are using two gallon bags, and packing them rather densely.

Swiss Chard

Swiss chard is well past peak. There may not be enough for shares this week, but feel free to give it a try in your share request.

Arugula

Arugula is passed peak.  Nearly all plants are flowering vigorously. There is enough for very small samples for all shares. 

Collards

The collards continue to amaze!  They appear as hardy now as they did in the middle of winter. Please stop by for extra large shares of our three varieties, Georgia Southern, Georgia, and Vates, are large, lush, and ready for harvest.

Blackberries

Ouachita Family

All blackberry vines are healthy, producing new leaves, and abundant blossoms. These are Ouachita Blackberries shared lovingly by Christine Grovenstein of Seeds of Love Organic Farm.

Habanero Peppers

Habaneros are coming back very nicely now, and now blossoming.

Eggplant

After the freeze, we cut back all eggplant to new growth areas, which are now flourishing – and producing flowers!  Exciting times for the eggplant colony.

East Madison Growers and Friendship Farms & Fare Team Up:

New Community Garden Planned in East Madison Neighborhood

3F has teamed up with friends and supporters to develop a new community garden in the East Madison neighborhood of New Port Richey.

The property owner has committed to having East Madison Growers and 3F use a vacant lot for a community garden.  There is still some paper work that needs to be reviewed and signed, but the project looks to be solid.  We’ll have more about this exciting new development in the future Farm Reports.

Nursery Certification and Registration Renewed

2015-2016 Nursery Certification and Registration

Friendship Farms & Fare

48015239

We just received the good news that our nursery registration has been renewed for 2015-2016.

Friendship Farms & Fare is a registered nursery in the state of Florida.  Our registration number is 48015239.

Our successful re-certification and registration renewal is another step in the development of the Friendship Farms and Fare sustainable urban agriculture project.  As most of you know, we are also a registered seed seller.  The nursery certification is an important expression of our farm’s mission and our commitment to responsible community development.

If you would like to support the work of Friendship Farms and Fare and help us cover expenses related to the project, please feel free to share a contribution.  Friendship Farms and Fare operates under the umbrella of Ecology Florida, a not for profit corporation, so your contributions are tax deductable.

Seed Savers Seeds Available Through Friendship Farms & Fare

Please buy your seeds and seedlings from local growers or suppliers committed to organic, heirloom seeds.

3F is pleased to offer the highest quality organic, heirloom seeds to the community.  You may order several locally-acclimated seeds from our own collection as well as Seed Savers seeds from us.  Seed Savers seeds are the only ones we use at Friendship Farms, unless we use our own 3F seeds saved from previous years.  This year 3F is offering these locally-acclimated seeds:  okra (4 varieties), broccoli, and arugula.

If you’d like to order Seed Savers seeds from us, find the seeds you desire online, let us know the type(s) and quantities, and we’ll order them for you.  http://www.seedsavers.org/onlinestore/

Cost: $4.00 per packet ($3.00 for shares).  We’ll include them in your share or mail them to you, if you give us your address.

Please buy your seeds and seedlings from local growers or suppliers committed to organic, heirloom seeds.

See this story on the damage caused by “big box stores”:

http://www.goodjobsfirst.org/smart-growth-working-families/harms-big-box-retail

See also, 10 reasons to support local commerce:

http://ilsr.org/why-support-locally-owned-businesses/

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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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