Row by Row Episode 140: Best Way to Start a Local Community Garden

Why Start a Community Garden?

For Farmer Fredo, volunteering at his son’s school was the first step in seeing the need to help others learn how to simplify growing healthier food. By helping out at Fredo’s son’s school he saw the need that the Department of Nutrition was trying to implement a system for providing healthier food in school districts across the counties they just didn’t have someone that really knew technically how to grow their own food. As Farmer Fredo started getting more involved with growing food in the school garden he began to see that need spread to the local community where there were other healthy initiatives that were taking place but needed someone that really understood gardening.

Where to Start with a Community Garden?

The main goal for Farmer Fredo when he starts a community garden is to teach individuals how to grow their own food and have them understand how to manage, plant, and harvest a garden by themselves at the end of the day. So by teaching individuals in the community how to grow and when to grow their own food allows the community to be more sustainable. In order to simplify teaching kids or individuals, Farmer Fredo fell in love with gardening in raised beds and container gardens because you can simply the math for how many pounds of compost or fertilizer you would need for the area. If you are interested in starting a new school garden, you should first see if the school system has funding in place for starting a garden for growing their own food due to all the healthy benefits. Overall the first tip for getting started with a community garden is getting the community on board with seeing the need for establishing healthier food and sustainable living. For Farmer Fredo in order to keep everyone on board they find local groups that want to contribute and need an extra-circular activity to keep them engaged.

Show and Tell Segment

On the show and tell segment this week, Travis is joined with Farmer Fredo, executive director of a non-profit organization known as Flint River Fresh. Farmer Fredo just added some potatoes to the ground and plant his last round of cabbage, broccoli, collards, and kale. He is preparing his community garden beds for spring planting that is just around the corner. Travis gives an update on field peas that are coming available in the next couple of weeks. However, we are limited to the supply that we are able to get due to the bean and pea shortage in the seed industry. As far as new products we have two new inoculants that can help boost the performance and nitrogen-fixation of your legume plantings in the garden. We also have a couple of new varieties of seeds that are now available. We’ve just added three new varieties of squash such as Autumn Gold Butternut, Grenade, and Green Griller Squash. Plus two new pumpkin varieties, Casperita Pumpkin and Porcelain Doll Pumpkin which are both very unique varieties to grow in the vegetable garden.

Viewer Questions

For the Q & A segment this week, the guys answer some viewer questions about growing watermelons with grow lights, maturity dates, and leaving heating mats on germinated plants. The grow light kits will work fine for growing watermelons in the 12-cell seed starting trays. The maturity date on seed packets is just an estimated planting guide for when plants should be harvested, but there are weather conditions and other factors that can push those dates back a couple of weeks in the vegetable garden. Travis and Farmer Fredo both recommend leaving the germination mats on once plants have germinated.

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