Saturday, June 25, 2011

FNFCG Caravan Report - Hodges Boulevard Community Garden

There was a fabulous turnout this morning for the FNFCG Caravan to the Hodges Boulevard Community Garden. The Garden is located behind the Hodges Boulvard Presbyterian Church at 4140 Hodges Boulevard, Jacksonville, FL. If you look closely, you can see the garden from Hodges Boulevard. While located on church grounds, the plots are available to all - not just church members. The weather was overcast and made for a pleasant morning in the Garden, even in late June in Florida.

exploring the garden through the eyes of our children
Andy LoSchiavo is the Garden Administrator at Hodges Boulevard Community Garden. If you are interested in a plot, you can contact Andy at 904-200-7502. There are plots available and the size seems roughly to be 6' x 20' for a plot, comparatively speaking - a respectable size for a community garden.  Now is a good time to start thinking about our fall/winter planting season. Community Gardens sometime seem to be the province of those who can't garden at home for a variety of reasons, however a growing number of people are expanding their home gardens with community garden plots.

Why? One example given was a winter garden plot for cabbages and broccoli followed up with a spring planting of potatoes and perhaps a summer crop of corn. All are rather low maintenance as far as gardens go. They don't require the constant attention of a tomato or bean/pea crop. Weekly jaunts to the community garden can accomplish all of the needed maintenance in a short period of time until harvest begins. Hodges Boulevard Community Garden is a fabulous spot for such a plan - the irrigation is automatic, overhead and on a twice weekly schedule.

Special thanks to Jim Harden who brought Datil Pepper plants to share! More information on the Datil Pepper can be found here Pepper, Datil — Capsicum sinense Jacques from the always helpful University of Florida IFAS Extension website.

Mary Puckett, Duval County Extension
Mary Puckett from the Duval County Extension Office conducted a free gardening class, "Vegetables that can Handle the Heat". It was well attended but still informal enough that students were able to ask Mary questions. If you haven't had an opportunity to attend a gardening lecture by a member of our County Extension Offices, you really should give one a try. The staff there are extremely knowledgeable and very willing to answer questions. One student claimed to be a terrible gardener - I've felt myself to be so at times - and was quickly assured by Mary that all that was needed was the correct information. I can't agree with her enough. She's slowly turning me into a passable gardener, if I may say so.

Not only did Mary let us know which crops work well in our hot summer climate, but she taught us about cover crops and solarizing our soil.  Mary Puckett also let us in on the canning classes schedule for the rest of the year and we've updated the Classes schedule on this website to include the dates. Be sure to contact the Extension office for more information on the Canning Classes since there may be a charge to attend the class.

There will also be a class taught in August for learning to start seeds and propagate herbs.  If you've experienced the same sticker shock that I have at the trays of veggie starts in the nursery centers, I'll probably see you at this class!  This class is just in time for the fall/winter planting season - so don't miss out.

Thank you so much to Hodges Boulevard Community Garden for all of their hard work in the community and for making today's Caravan so successful.

We'll see you at next month's FNFCG CARAVAN which will be at Beaches Organic Community Garden! Don't miss out on their Green Market and the free gardening class taught by the Duval County Extension office. 


Click here to contact Hodges Boulevard Community Garden