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Farm Life - March 2022

Coming out of winter, spring is arriving in Florida!
Azaleas, Silver Springs.
We went from lush jungle in December and early January (unseasonably warm months) to a hard freeze and die back of anything frost sensitive, mid January.

This is not unusual for Brooksville. After a month of brown, the farm came alive in late February and is exploding with green at this point even after a surprise freeze on March 11.
We had a bumper papaya crop this year, with a couple hundred green papayas waiting to ripen right before the hard freeze. We decided to work with nature and go with the flow and harvest them and had a major green papaya shredding fest. There are dozens of things one can make with green papaya - pretty much anything you would make with cabbage or zucchini. We added it to salads, soups, stir fry and bread. We’ve frozen a bunch which will come in handy while we wait for the papayas to grow back and fruit again.

We also sold some via local food distributor Lemongraft - our first farm sale via this company! We’re excited about the concept this company has, of making local farm produce much more available to local buyers. Currently, we’re listing herb tinctures with them but will also list fruit, veggies and fresh herbs as they become available. Check them out, and check out our listings.
https://lemongraft.com
A few of the papaya we harvested this January.
Young avocados.
Before the freeze, our avocados were blooming well for the first time (they’re about 3 years old), so we decided to save them. We did so by covering them and using a mini sprinkler to keep the covered area warm. We weren’t sure it would work, but they came through with flying colors and now are loaded with beautiful small avocados.
And the pollinators are impressive! There are often 5-6 different types of pollinators on the avocado flowers, but one time I counted 15 different native pollinators! Everything from large wasps to tiny flies, all of them taking good care of our trees.
Pollinators on flowers.
Young peaches.
Spring has finally fully sprung here after a last minute freeze on March 12. A few things died back a bit in the mild March freeze, but most trees and other perennials are forging ahead, covered with lush new growth.

In our hard freeze, we lost the peaches on a peach tree that bloomed early because of the warm December, but our other peach trees are loaded with fruit. This is a great reason to have multiple cultivars of your favorite trees, if you have room. And if you don’t, consider planting three types of peaches (for instance) in the same hole. They will stay much smaller but will still produce about as many fruit as one tree. You can try out different types of peaches and extend your season.
We’ve had a few trees bear fruit for the first time this year. We realized the first guavas from our tree were ripe when we walked into the greenhouse and got a heavenly whiff of guava scent. There is nothing like it! The scent fills our kitchen when we have ripe guavas waiting to be eaten (they don’t last long at all).

Our surinam cherries fruited for the first time as well. Some people don’t like the taste, but this funny looking pumpkin fruit is one of our favorites.
Surinam cherries, almost ripe (they’ll be dark red when fully ripe - we also have a black variety)
Gin berry.
Our small gin berry bush is steadily producing. The berry tastes a little like…gin. We love the soft pink color.


We may also get our first crop of nectaplums this year - the first fruit has shown itself.

Our Satsuma mandarin orange had a bumper crop last year and this year is already loaded with flowers again.
Satsuma mandarin orange.
And our Meiwa kumquat (so sweet!) made it through the frosts and is sweeter than ever..

We’re growing a wide variety of veggies too; we continue to experiment with new types of crops.

We love this seed company along with Fedco, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, Experimental Seed Network, and others.

We’ll be planting Florida friendly corn, beans and squash next week and a variety of heat loving veggies soon. Meanwhile, we continue to harvest and enjoy lots of sprouting broccoli, lettuce, greens, delicious purple Daikon radishes, and soon, carrots.
Greens and Daikon radish from our garden.
We continue to lean into the rhythms of farm life, watching wildlife and nature respond to what we’re doing, and responding to it in turn. It’s a beautiful dance that continues to create wonder in us.

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We continue to expand our course offerings, deepening and broadening the material in them to expand the Online Permaculture Design Course library.

We’re offering our next online Permaculture Design Course starting July 15. We continue to add to and improve this course and have been getting great feedback:

“The information is so clear and relevant, yet in depth - it’s a great course. I feel like I can use the information right away. It has both practical information and plenty of creative inspiration as well.”

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We strive to give you the information you need to be successful, whether it’s with your own land or if you wish to become a professional designer. We walk you through each step of the design process with exercises that gradiently build your design over the length of the course.

We feel that it’s becoming increasingly important that people have this information! We want to make it as accessible as possible, because we feel it’s a vital skill set, and we want to make sure as many people as possible master these skills.

In-Person Courses

Our next in-person course will start in September of 2022. We so enjoy giving these classes and getting to know the students, creating community all the while, and watching the individual projects unfold. It’s been really exciting to see so many student projects become amazing realities that in turn inspire others!

This course unfolds over six months in St Petersburg and at Our Permaculture Farm. Special early bird rates available through the end of March.
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