Farm Life - June 2022

Summer Production

The Rainy Season

The rainy season seems to be starting earlier than usual and we’re embracing it. We got more than 6” of rain last week, with more coming. It’s time to plant!

While many people give up farming or planting in the summer in Florida because of the heat and insect pressure, one of our biggest planting seasons is right now, the start of the rainy season. You just have to know what to plant.

One of our many varieties of beautiful edible zinnia, a great summer flower that loves the heat.

Time for Fruit Tree Planting

This is the part of the season when we plant all of our tropical perennial crops and fruit trees. This year, we’re expanding our chop and drop plants substantially. Chop and drop plants are those that will grow on our site with no extra help from us, and which will produce copious amounts of organic matter that we can chop down 1-4 times per year, and compost either directly around trees or in our compost systems. Such plants need to be able to access nutrition from our nutrient-poor sandy soils and provide it to other plants, be drought tolerant, and come back fast from being chopped down.
Earpod tree, Enterlobium cyclocarplum, one of our chop and drop trees near our mulberry hedge.

We’re adding significant amounts of vetiver grass, bana grass and lemongrass to our system this year as well as nitrogen fixing trees and other plants. We’re also using the wild grapes and “weedy” native trees that come up near our fences and buildings (from birds dropping the seeds while perched), as additional material. By concentrating the organic material around plants that love nutrient rich soil, we are able to continue maximum production from these plants. The goal of a permaculture system is to be self-sufficient in nutrients and water. This can be challenging on very sandy soils, but we’re here for the challenge.

Our goal is to transition fully to feeding our fruit trees from organic material produced on site rather than imported manures (we have been collecting beautiful organic goat manure from our favorite local goat farm - Dancing Goat. We highly recommend them!). We’ve been trialing a few dozen species of nitrogen fixing plants and other plants to determine which ones to focus on for chop and drop on our big sand dune.

We currently have over 200 fruit trees and a couple thousand other plants on our site, most of them planted in the last couple of years. We’ve been excitedly watching our first persimmons on the farm from our young Miss Kim persimmon tree ripen, and we have 8 other varieties of persimmon to get into the ground, as well as other varieties already planted.

Our first persimmon, from our young “Miss Kim” tree
We will also plant more pomegranate, mulberry, muscadine grape, and avocado this year - and will be adding hundreds of understory plants into the system as well, including rare gingers, multiple varieties of rosemary, aloe, comfrey, root crops, Asian greens, herbs and more.
Avocados are now ripening - always exciting. Nothing like fresh avocado from your own tree.

The Farm Nursery has Expanded

Our Permaculture Farm has partnered with one of our farm volunteers to expand our nursery and will have a wide variety of edible, native and useful plants available over the summer. Our plants are grown with love and in our beautiful, living, nutrient rich soils, with never any use of chemicals on them.

Our prices are great and we have regular specials. Check out our expanding selection at our nursery, and come back because we’re adding to our selection regularly!

A sampling of our nursery selection.
We ship limited selections currently and are working to broaden our ability to ship products, but we’re mostly an in-person nursery at this time.

Volunteer Day

Every Tuesday AM until noon is volunteer day. We’re going to be doing a wide variety of projects, including planting and propagating, throughout the summer, so come on up! Make sure to reach out ahead of time, contact us with any questions or to RSVP.

Marketing Person Wanted

We’re expanding our classes and offerings and are looking for a marketing person to help us do that. We offer a good commission program. You should be a self starter, believe in what we’re doing and want to support it, and be skilled on social media especially. In addition we have a referral program. Contact us if you are interested!
Summer abundance, tropical food forest.

Permaculture Design Courses

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This makes over 30 in-person courses we’ve taught. We’re the oldest continuous permaculture design school in Florida.

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Course starts on September 10, 2022

This course unfolds over six months in St Petersburg and at Our Permaculture Farm in Brooksville. Special early bird rates available through July 10. Certificate endorsed by Permaculture Institute of North America and recognized worldwide.
Course rates.
Course listing.
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