Spring and Summer of 2023 had it's fair share of challenges, but we have some awesome wins to celebrate as well. These past two seasons we've been able to give more garden tours explaining to the youth how community members from individuals to corporations make a community garden successful. We did a gardening and carpentry workshop with a daycare in the community and was able to share in the joy of seeing them create and grow. We've also had more community members volunteer at the garden making the work "a little lighter". Without commitment to the vision of a more food sovereign community, we wouldn't have made it this far. They worked for weeks in the scorching sun to ensure we are prepared to grow again in this next season.
We experienced a heavy rain after preparing the soil for planting which choked out much of the seeds in some areas we started early on. The soil hadn't had enough biomass added to withstand the three digit temperatures and became hard. Howevery, the hydroponics system produced hundres of strong tomato seedlings that lasted through the summer heat! We were able to incorporate cinnamon basil, calendula, and borage throughout "tomato alley" to manage the pest and produce a beautiful crop.
After experiencing the pattern of extreme weather conditions, we've decided to quit "trying" to transition and make the investment to get to a point of climate resiliency. We spent the remaining summer days building permanent beds throughout half of the property and plan to continue until the site is complete. We've made some adjustments to our compost production setup to create continuity in maintenance and reduce handling. We transitioned from a multibin system that needs to be augered weekly to a static aerated system that allows oxygen to move through the pile evenly. The vermiculture set up has been expanded to six times it's original size which should yield more castings and is designed to use a less invasive harvesting method. These are minor adjustments but they go a long way in scaling a market garden.
Thank you for your continued support and look forward to sharing more soon!
After a successful growing season last year, we are prepped for an even bigger season this year! We were able to acquire several hydroponics systems which allowed us to create hundreds of seedlings which were ready at the beginning of the Spring. These seedlings should allow us to increase our expected yield by 100%.
We have also established several partnerships with nurseries who donate aging plants to us when they prepare for their inventory changes. So far, we have acquired hundreds of free plants to the garden!
In our efforts to become a 100% regenerative gardend, we have been developing composting piles from which we create a powerful compost tea. Both, the compost and the tea, can be sold to local gardners and farmers.
Another important development involves our continued efforts to nurture and rehabilitate the soil. We have made the decision to include vermiculture in our processes. We have started small, but the growth in the number of worms has increased tremendously.
We invite you to stay tuned to future developments. Thank you for your support!
This project began in the heart of COVID-19 at the end of 2020. Our objectives are centered around alleviating the impact of the long-standing food desert located in North Lufkin. Having access to quality produce and providing an opportunity for the community to participate in the farming process are equally important.
Last year, our garden grew, harvested, and sold over 3,000 pounds of produce in what was a difficult year. The freeze resulting from Winter Storm Uri is still remembered. The amount of crop loss from local gardeners was traumatizing. In 2022, we suffered from a mild drought, so gardeners without a dependable water supply were forced to deal with second consecutive challenging year. Fortunately, we were able to stave off the impact of the drought by installing an irrigation system which changed our entire experience!
The harvest during the end of the summer into the fall was our best yet! We harvested okra, mustard greens, collard greens, purple hulled peas, tomatoes, and so much more. Our community became more informed about our mission and began to buy into our program.
We are excited about the promise 2023 will bring. We would love to have your continued support for this work!
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