Farm Report – June 22, 2015

Farm Report – June 22, 2015

Week of June 22, 2015

Abbreviated Weekly Farm Report

From Friendship Farms & Fare

A Community Service To the Local Farming Community

For the full Farm Report, go to:

Seedings:  none

Garden Starts: Okra, Peanuts, Lima beans, Red Malabar Spinach

Harvest Notes: okra, eggplant, herbs, red malabar spinach


Solstice June 21

Summer arrives on Sunday June 21.  Here at the farms, it seems like it has been with us for months already.  In fact, our spring temperatures and weather condition have been virtually identical to those of mid-summer.  From now until September, temperatures will be in the 90s most days, and in the upper 70s at night.  Of course, we’ve had those temperatures since March.

This week also marks the beginning of the rainy season, when the historical average for daily rainfall is over ¼ inch.  We are also about a month into hurricane season, which begins on June 1.

This year has already been very hot, with our winter temperatures well above normal, and spring so hot it feels like summer.

Of course, this is hard on the plants, and reduces production.  We have good soil and give the plants plenty of attention, so our yields are probably better than most.

Garden Overview

Summer Plantings Continue

(additional details and assessments follow)

The summer garden is now fully planted. This occurred on June 14, when all the beds had seedlings or plants.  So, we won’t be doing any more major plantings, but we’ll fill in for the rest of the summer, and start some seedlings in containers in new locations for testing.

We are also helping Ray finish off his garden, donating okra and lima beans.

For those interested in summer crops: We recommend sweet potatoes, okra, beans, and eggplant. It is still not too late to start a summer garden. We’ve had good luck with all four of these summer staples.  It looks like we’ll be successful with the Red Malabar Spinach.

Our most recent seeding of bell peppers has germinated nicely and is still developing very well.  Eggplant seedlings are doing a little better also. You’ll remember these were concerns earlier, and we are probably not out of the woods yet.

See the Share Report for all items.

For all plantings, we use seeds from our collection or heirloom seeds from Seed Savers Exchange (

Third Sweet Potato Shipment Arrives

446 slips planted

Our third and final order of sweet potatoes (our last of the season) is mostly in the ground.

We planted 14 more slips, the last of the season, bringing our total to 446 in 16 beds.  These last slips went in some open space we still had in the Big East bed (the third new south bed).

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.  We’ll take our first sample diggings in about a month.

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:


12 ½   pounds

We harvested 2½   pounds of okra this week, bringing our total to 12 ½   pounds.

We are finished with the okra plantings, but we’ll still fill in a few open spaces in the north and south gardens, and we’ll plant some in planters.

Okra is producing heavily now. See report later on plantings and harvests.  Some of the plants are now taller than the gardeners.  Okra is a wonderful summer vegetable, and we have been rather successful with it here at the farms.

If you read this far in the newsletter, let us know if you would be interested in attending an Okra Festival.  We are doing some advance planning for an event in mid-June, 2016.

To further inspire you, here is a site with 12 recipes from Southern Living:


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:

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

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

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.

ECFL News Editorial (one food collapse)

Here is an excerpt from a recent Editorial in ECFL News:

In America when it comes to food, like just about everything else, we have enough, and more than enough.  We have enough cell phones, computers, cars, dress shoes, cool homes in climate-change summers, cool playlists on iphones, skirts, running shoes, pets, posters, vacation plans, work pants, house plants, business cards, microwave ovens, logo t-shirts – enough, and more than enough.

We certainly have enough food – at least in America, at least for now.

For the full article, follow this link:

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.


Prices are $6.50 a dozen, and $4.00 a half-dozen ($3.00 for shares). These prices are a bit higher than prices for organic eggs 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.

Farm Tours (Local Urban Gardens)

If you would like to schedule a tour of local urban gardens in New Port Richey, please let us know, and we can make arrangements.  Our tours are experiential, informational, educational, and fun.  Donations are greatly appreciated.

Typically, and depending on the season, participants will spend an hour or so in two or more gardens, learn about organic farming in an urban environment using permaculture philosophies and practices, observe and learn about urban wildlife and helpful plants, and enjoy samples of live produce.  Tours are structured on the basis of participants’ interests and background.

Please note that an appropriate contribution for the tours and learning sessions will be suggested when tours are scheduled.

There are four categories of tours:

* Urban Farming, Permiculture and Soil development

* Urban wildlife and helpful plants

* Seasonal produce, from seed to harvest

* General (including two or more categories)

Please note that an appropriate contribution for the tours and learning sessions will be suggested when tours are scheduled – typically, $100.

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”:

See also, 10 reasons to support local commerce:


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

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

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

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