Originally scheduled to take place Sept. 9, the workshop had to be rescheduled due to Hurricane Irma.
According to Man in Overalls, aka Nathan Ballentine, fall is the easiest and most productive growing season of the year in Northeast Florida. The workshop focused on the fall/winter season (September through February) and served as an introduction to organic raised bed food gardening, but all levels of gardening experience were encouraged to come learn and ask questions.
Cool season crops to plant:
- brussel sprouts
- onions - green & multipliers
- sweet peas
- sugar snap peas
Ballentine is an urban farmer, entrepreneur, educator and community organizer in Jacksonville. He encourages the community to plant "urban gardens" and maintains that only a small amount of space is needed to grow a large amount of food, something he promotes as #GrowYourOwnGroceries.
As a demonstration, he brings a small raised garden bed. Using a technique based on "The Square Foot Gardening Method," he shows attendees how much they can plant in 1 sq. ft. (12 x 12 inches), to underscore the notion that anyone – even those tight on space – can plant gardens if they so choose.
Organic gardening includes natural pest control such as using diatomaceous earth, a naturally occurring siliceous sedimentary rock. Planting flowers, such as marigolds, can also help keep pests at bay, as will introducing beneficial insects such as lacewings or lady bugs which feed on common plant pests.
In his most recent blog post, "Why Can I Eat Bread in France but Not the USA?," Ballentine focuses on the dangers of the weed-killer Roundup. Click here to read the blog in its entirety.
To see a full list of resources from Man in Overalls, click here. In addition to Gardening 101 and pest management, you’ll find other resources including recommended farming books, links to food gardening videos, and more.
Man in Overalls offers many services including consultations. Site visits can be scheduled and can include design help, garden bed building and installation, installation of micro irrigation systems, planting, and additional maintenance and education. Ballentine also sells a special growing medium blend called “Magic Mix.” To see a full list of services, click here.
Keep up with Man in Overalls by following his blog at maninoveralls.blogspot.com or follow Man in Overalls on Facebook @maninoveralls or Instagram @man.in.overalls. Ballentine can be reached by phone at (850) 322-0749 or via email at email@example.com.
Riverside Avondale Community Garden, the location for the past two garden workshops, opened in April 2016 and is located on the corner of Park Street and Azalea Terrace, near the Willowbranch Library.
Gardeners pay a yearly fee for individual plots.
For more information about the community garden, contact Riverside Avondale Preservation by calling (904) 389-2449 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.