TBN Gardens & Groves is a CSA garden in New Port Richey, Florida and the organization has been a long time supporter of Ecology Florida. The garden began as an experiment over ten years ago in permaculture organic gardening using heirloom vegetable seeds that are easily grown in the Gulf Coast environment.
Over the years there has been much trial and error but, always a labor of love, it has grown into a healthy and productive garden that provides regular weekly deliveries of fresh produce for its members.
Recently the garden produced something else too, a listing in the Seed Savers Exchange 2012 Yearbook. The “Calabrese G+G” broccoli seed is an heirloom variety that has been nurtured over many seasons in the G & G test gardens and is a proven winner for Tampa Bay area gardens. You can read more about the Calabrese G+G Broccoli in a recent Tampa Bay Times article.
A news crew, from the regional NBC affiliate (“News Channel 8 On Your Side”), stopped by the gardens last week to film a report on the garden project and specifically the listing of the Calabrese Broccoli seeds in the 2012 Seed Savers Yearbook. Dell deChant and Ann Scott of the G&G family were interviewed by Angela Osowski with assistance from photojournalist, Rugene Moore. The report will be broadcast in the morning news segment on Thursday (May 17).
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It has been reported that the rest of the veggies living at the Gardens & Groves are also doing well, with fresh sprouts and new varieties growing beautifully. Bush beans, Cal Wonders, Burnan, Bull Nose, Mini-Bells, Thai Peppers, and Scotch Bonnet peppers, onions, tomatoes, Satsuki Midori, Bush, and Marketmore cucumbers, a variety of herbs, Nancy Bell, Georgia Jets, Nancy Halls, Beauregards, and Vardaman sweet potatoes, peanuts, Smilax and Purslane are all grown in the G & G CSA.
The garden is also host to many insects, birds and wildlife that help maintain a robust ecosystem. A recent influx of Lady Bugs uncovered a small aphid infestation on the old Broccoli plants. Polydamas Swallowtale caterpillars have been enjoying the leaves of the Pipe Vine and the Greenhouse frog colonies are doing well–the small frogs love the moisture in and around the sprouting trays and apparently lay their eggs in the garden soil. There is never a dull moment in an organic garden.
For many residents who have moved to the Tampa Bay region from Northern climes, gardening in Florida can be a frustrating prospect and many don’t realize the abundance of vegetables that are able to be grown here throughout the year. The Gardens & Groves hopes to continue sharing this exciting message with befuddled gardeners: Yes, you can grow a beautiful organic garden full of vegetables in Tampa Bay!
Look for more garden reports to come on what is in season at the G & G.