Despite the August heat, our first eggplant and pepper seedlings are sprouting in the nursery (they love the heat!) together with broccoli and mini-broccoli, cauliflower–including the new varieties that everyone liked so much last year–kales, tatsoi, cabbages, and many of the others that will start off our 2021/2022 produce season. Which, unlike most of the country, starts in the Fall and runs through Spring. While some days it feels like we spend most of our summer weeding, we’ve actually had much more going on. We had a record harvest of fruits, including pineapples, bananas, mangos, sugar baby watermelons, mulberries, surinam cherries, and passionfruit. Our cover crop of cowpeas (for soil improvement) has been cut, dropped, and the fields mulched, letting the remains of the plants, the mulch, and the hot rainy weather work their magic.
This summer we’ve planted a variety of sub-tropical and tropical fruit and spice plants, including real coffee (arabica), black pepper vine, cacao (chocolate), vanilla (an orchid), culinary luffah squash, two new varieties of carambola (starfruit), a lemon tree, and a variety of butterfly-attracting plants in our new butterfly garden area around the pergola. We thank the folks who donated cuttings from their own interesting specimens, those who donated whole plants (especially those for our butterfly garden), and the donors who provided the funds that allowed us to purchase some interesting new fruit and spice trees. Peanuts, roselle, sweet potatoes, a wide variety of herbs, and okra round out our summer plantings.
Our GrowCity leaders—drawn from teens who completed our 12-week GrowCity Youth program over the past year or so—spent April and May with us working in the garden and advancing their management skills as paid interns. It was so fun suggesting ideas for the garden and then watching projects come to life as our teens formed teams, made their plans, and then executed them. A few of these projects: building a series of four new 10-by-4-ft. raised bed gardens along the front of the garden (and planting them), propagating and planting out lemongrass for our upcoming season, building and placing trellises for new plantings, preparing an area of the garden for our first “earthing” event at the garden, leading many, many garden tours, and (not least) working for several weeks with Chris and Sunny on pretty much all phases of building the garden’s amazing new chickee.
The garden relies heavily on our amazing volunteers. Whether you want to come out occasionally to work with us on our monthly Volunteer Work Days (the third Saturday morning of each month), more frequently like our weekly volunteers who come out for a few hours to help, or all the way up to our adult intern program of six scheduled hours per week, we would love to see you! There are always a range of projects that may connect with your particular interests — get in touch with us and come out for a garden tour to see what we do! (Our adult interns receive a share of vegetables and greens in recognition of their critical help planting, taking care of plants, and harvesting for our CSA program and produce donations.)
Speaking of our CSA program, we will start taking reservations for our Garden Shares, Large Garden Shares, and Leafy Greens Shares over the next few weeks. Unlike many CSA and “buying club” programs, every single item in our baskets is grown at the Fruitful Field locations in Pompano – super-fresh, super-local, and super-flavorful. Our subscribers choose a pick-up day and location, then stop by our gardens to pick up a basket each week throughout our November through March/April season. If you are interested in being on our list to get more info regarding our garden shares, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org; we’ll send more info shortly.