Welcome Home My Florida!
Here's where you can find an avenue for volunteering either in getting your hands dirty or
maybe donating supplies for community projects. We're also exploring local Community
Gardens and sharing all sorts of avenues for your 'blooming' ideas!
The Country Garden
The Gardeneers & Local Community Gardens
Gotfruit.com (Alex R. Thomas & Co)
The Gardeneers!
This is a group of men and women who have joined together for a
common good.... community projects. They completely revamped the
High Springs Community Theater with new plants, an irrigation
system, boarders, mulch and more. Real team effort going towards
beautifying the area. If you'd like more information about how to join
their group, please
email here. They're involved in lots of different
arenas, so let us know how we can help you connect with them!
Have Questions? They've got answers. Feel
free to email what's on your mind... I'll get it to
the group, and before you know it your answer
will be published right here.
Last month we
learned about Compost Tea, buying
contaminated soil and some information on
germinating seeds. Below, you'll see a Winter
Planting Guide supplied to us through the
Gardeneers. A really great group of people! Get
involved! Come learn with us.
Community Gardens
Yours truly has agreed to take a plot there and I'll be documenting & photographing  
my success and hopefully few, failures.  I agreed to this two weeks ago, and I haven't
been to the plot yet! So finding the time to garden can sometimes be the most difficult
of all the tasks. But I'm determined! My first step is to visit our own Farmer's Market to
find seedlings for Fall planting.

I heard through the 'news' everyone shares that the soil has some kind of biting bugs
right now, so right off the bat I'm wondering how 'natural' gardeners get rid of such
creatures. In my own garden, (no food mind you), I'd just get the bug spray out and
presto! No more bugs. I have a funny feeling that's not going to happen in a
Community Garden... Lys! Gardeneers! Help! (I've just emailed the group to find out).

Keep checking in to see how I'm doing. I grew up on a farm so this won't be too
daunting for me... I hope! Wish me luck and I'll see you here again soon!

For Information on Community Gardens, please
email us!
What are Community Gardens? Typically they
are started by an individual or group when a
section of land is available to divide into
multiple plots for several Gardeners. Usually
found in large cities, since land is normally a
precious commodity when it's not covered in
cement. However they can be found
anywhere. In between buildings, on roof tops,
or in the case of High Springs, next to the
Police Station.

Oh the backaches...
Oh the bugs
Oh the droughts
Oh the joys...
Oh the rewards...
Oh what a garden!
Just found out how to
handle 'CHIGGERS'
(red bugs)... I don't
know what they are,
but I do know they
bite! Here's the

"You can powder your
socks and arms with
flour of sulphur
(available from local
pharmacies) in an old
sock, and the bugs will
definitely stay away
(an old green beret
jungle survival trick, I
learned while trail
building in White
Springs). I'll try to put
such a sock on the
garden table, near the
chairs." LYS

Ok.. I just sent a note
to one of the
Gardeneers and
asked, "Isn't there a
way to KILL them?"  
Hey... I figure if we get
rid of pests, we don't
have to worry about
pests... Let's see what
they say... (If you
haven't guessed, I'm
not a 'natural'
gardener... but I'm
Growing Carrots using Horse Manure
I've heard it mentioned in passing that we should not
plant any carrots in the horse manure amended soil
because the uric acid in the manure would make
them grow weird... many roots instead of one nice
carrot. I had never heard this caution before. Can
anyone confirm?

REPLY: I haven't heard or endeavored to confirm the
weird tubal growths in manure but i do know that
nematodes will cause roots to grow erratically with
knot-like appendages and cracked. Nematodes love
our arid-sandy soils and one of the best way to
control them is to provide abundant nourishment to
the plants in order to counteract their damaging
affects. I just performed a quick search "carrots
manure IFAS" and was not able to find any support to
his claim so I suspect what he was experiencing is
nematode damage. JoJo

REPLY: Nematodes can cause those symptoms but
it would be amazing if there were many root-knot
nematodes in the manure, more than likely in the
garden soil where he planted them. Tom Hewlett
Using Manure for Fertilizer
Fresh manures can burn plant roots. Carrots, in
particular, don't grow well in soil which contain a lot of
nitrogen while fresh manures have a higher nitrogen
content (although stony soil can also produce forked
and peculiar roots in carrots). Too much nitrogen
produces the soft sappy growth that snails, slugs
and aphids love, so overdoing any fertilizer can be

Some plants, including basil and silver beet, develop
an unpleasant taste when grown in soil containing
un-composted animal manures. This is less likely to
occur when manure has dried out, and dry crumbly
cow manure can be used as both fertilizer and mulch
around natives, azaleas and camellias because
these plants don't need a lot of fertilizer but benefit
from the good fungi that organic fertilizers produce.

I think that covering the bed with pea straw and
allowing the manure to break down a bit is an
excellent idea. It allows the earthworms and soil
microorganisms time to break down the manure into
a form that plants can use immediately. To speed up
this process, it helps to put the manure on a hard
surface and chop it with the edge of a spade to break
up the nuggets. The more surface area the
microorganisms have to work on, the faster they
break it down.

A dusting of dolomite or garden lime over the manure
before covering will help pH to stay close to what
earthworms prefer.

Go with the horse manure. For many years we grew
all our veggies in broken down horse manure, and
they thrived on it. It has an good carbon to nitrogen
ratio and I believe it is an excellent manure for use in
fertilizing, making compost, and for manure tea.
Century Plant in Bloom in Longwood Gardens PA
In the Conservatory’s Silver Garden, the century plant (Agave Americana) is

The flower spike, growing at the incredible rate of 5–6 inches per day, has shot
through the greenhouse roof and will reach heights of 30 to 35 feet.

This amazing plant was transplanted here in 1997 from a 5-gallon container and
has thrived for the past ten years. Legend says the century plant takes one hundred
years to bloom. However, century plants in cultivation may bloom much quicker, and
Longwood’s living example has taken full advantage of the ideal conditions the
Silver Garden offers.

The century plant will use all of its energy to produce this once-in-a-lifetime bloom.
After it finishes flowering it will die, and Longwood gardeners will replace it with a
younger plant.
High Springs Community Garden - Downtown Demonstration Plots
Progress Report from Lys Burden

High Springs' first Community Garden came into existence in March, 2007, with approval from the
City Commission in February and a small grant to start the ball rolling. The grant money was
included in a large $35,000 grant from the Project for Public Spaces to help improve the farmers
market and James Paul Park, where the City Hall sink hole is located. Most of the garden grant
money was spent to purchase mushroom compost from Southland Rock in Lake City. They
distribute compost for a mushroom growing operation in Monticello, Florida. The City
Commission also helped by granting $500 in CRA funds to fence the garden, just prior to
Pioneer Days.

The garden initially attracted seven gardeners who personally cultivated 14 of the 24 plots.
Gardeners included experienced people and novices which included a family from Newberry and
a 12-year old student from High Springs Community School.  The rest of the plots were planted
and cultivated collectively. Gardeners harvested some of the Community produce for themselves,
and we sold quite a bit to help raise more funds for further garden needs. We also took at least
two loads of vegetables to Social Services to help feed the needy.

Everyone learned lots during the first season... How to tell when watermelons are ripe, how many
cherry tomatoes one plant can give, how tall sun flowers can grow, how to get rid of plant pests
with a soap solution instead of pesticide, not to plant sweet peppers and hot peppers too close...
And much more. And we continue to learn every day.... Gardens are great teachers.

We had a bountiful harvest... Squash, beans, tomatoes, broccoli, cabbage, swiss chard, egg
plant, watermelons, cantaloupe, green peppers, sweet corn, okra, romaine lettuce, hot peppers,
lots of herbs, radishes, carrots, sun flowers and a beautiful bloom of marigolds to keep insects
away. In June, the gardeners gathered for a harvest party potluck, and took two surplus
watermelons to City Hall and the Police Department for staff to share.

We continued to harvest small amounts through the summer's heat (mostly eggplant and okra),
but heavily mulched most of the garden plots with coastal hay to keep weeds down and our
precious compost from oxidizing away.

In September, the Community Gardeners were joined by the Gardeneers to weed the pathways
and prepare the plots for fall planting. With tremendous help from the gardening community, the
garden was transformed from a weed patch to neat and orderly plots and pathways. With money
earned by selling vegetables, we were also able to complete framing all the plots in September.

We now have 10 community gardeners signed up for the fall season. There are still two plots
available, if anyone else is interested in joining the fun. The fall planting season is now upon us.

In October, we hope to complete construction of the garden tool shed in the north (shady) end of
the garden. We have been very fortunate that community residents have come forward to donate
materials and labor that will be needed. Basti Gonzales will be donating most of the materials for
the 8 x 12-foot shed. Debbie Magura and crew will be donating construction labor. Florida Rock is
donating cement for the slab, and Jeff Kates will donate framing construction and float work
during "the pour."

All Community gardeners invite the public to tour the garden, especially during farmers market
days. Come on down and see what's happening. Fall crops should be showing by mid October
with fall harvest of short growing vegetables (beans and some squash) by November.
Local Community Gardens
If you are a part of a Community Garden, please let us know! We'd like to hear from you to share
what everyone's doing in their spaces. Lys has shared a Progress report below about the High
Springs Community Gardens.
Park Seed
Wayside Gardens
This is a great place to
learn about gardening.
It can be back
breaking work at
times, but the rewards
are great. So take a
look and if you can
help, please just email
us with your expertise,
advise,  suggestions,
tips or tricks for the Garden. If
you have a question, don't
hesitate to write to us for an
answer. There's a wealth of
information just waiting for you
to take it.
Diary of a Gardener
What is Mushroom
First off it sounds gross,
and the name just doesn't
make any sense at all! So I
asked Lys of the
Community Gardens.
She's so patient with me!  
Anyway, here's what she

[It is mushroom compost...
It is sterilized cow manure
that is the medium upon
which they grow
mushrooms.  After the
mushrooms have been
harvested, they can not
use the growing medium
again and must start with
a fresh batch. Thus, a
commercial mushroom
growing operation, such
as they have in Monticello,
generates tons of
mushroom compost,
fertilizer for soil.]

Thank you Lys!

Diary of a Gardener
Why not just kill the
Chiggers, (red bug), and
how would you go about
doing that?

Once again, Lys comes to
the rescue: I'm
researching this however  
my nephew said garlic oil
works great, but that would
be expensive. If chiggers
don't find a blood meal,
like ticks, they do not
reproduce... so they would
be gone within one
season if they do not find a
host. (More to come)!
Diary of a Gardener
How do 'natural' gardeners kill pests?  
Lys says we use a diluted solution of
Miracle Soap for spraying on plants to get
rid of plant pests. (More on this coming).
Canning Jars!
If your candles or food items come in
canning jars that you'll throw out, please
contact Lys as she collects them for her
own canning. You can bring them to Lys
at the High Springs' Farmer's Market
every Thursday.
Drs. Foster and Smith Inc.