Wildlife Habitat Certification

Our gardens are full of beautiful plants that we fertilize, water and nurture. Spending time in our gardens also brings our attention to the many living organisms, both large and small, that benefit from our efforts to make plants grow. Birds, bees, and butterflies are the pollinators we love to attract with flowering bushes and nectar plants. There are also earthworms, lizards, beneficial insects – all part of an ecosystem you created in your own backyard!

Since you have created it, go the next step and certify it! By doing so you support the National Wildlife Federation and can be a model for others in your neighborhood. Everyone wants to save the earth, and doing this one thing you can show kindness and respect to the world and the life it holds. More information is included below.

To certify, click on this link: https://www.nwf.org/CERTIFY

For info about Florida Friendly Landscaping, go here: https://ffl.ifas.ufl.edu/about-ffl/landscape-recognition/

Read more: Wildlife Habitat Certification

Growing Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are a great choice for a South Florida garden. They are easy to grow, and both the tuber and the leaves are nutritious. Sweet potatoes are a heat loving vegetable so they are perfect for growing in the hot summer months. Here in South Florida you can grow them year long. They take about 4 months before they are ready to harvest. Once harvested, sweet potatoes need to be cured by resting in a dark place with good air flow. This allows the tuber to develop the sweetness it is known for. Try them, you’ll like them!

Make your own slips from an organic sweet potato
The vines will spread with beautiful heart shaped leaves that are edible.
Sweet potatoes are related to morning glories and have beautiful flowers.
After 4-5 months, harvest and cure your sweet potatoes and enjoy!

A few tips:

1-they grow well in loose organic soil – raised beds are perfect

2-only need 1 inch of water a week – don’t overwater

3-you can fertilize lightly

Food Forest and Garden Clean Up

A huge thanks to all the folks who came to our first work day on Saturday, October 1st. The storm had knocked down a lot of banana trees and a very tall strawberry tree in the Food Forest. We chopped and dragged a lot of debris to the parking lot for pick up. Phew! Hard work! With help from the Rotary and friends we were able to remove the big tree as well. Volunteers also worked in the garden chopping up the black velvet beans and weeding. Most gardeners were able to spend a bit of time working in their boxes to prepare for the garden season. Thanks to all! We love our volunteers!

High School Volunteers

Three students from Coral Glades High School spent some time in the garden on Labor Day weekend weeding and mulching a section of the Food Forest. They are members of the Save What’s Left Club at the High School. The club is focused on environmental activism and community service through events like beach cleanups, garden maintenance and garbage removal. The club also recycles trash into new items through arts and crafts. Thank you Peyton, Gabby and Ciara for your dedication to our community and for helping out in the garden!

We love our volunteers!

Garden Awe

Years ago, a couple of gardeners planted coontie in the pollinator section of the Community Garden. It is the host plant for the Atala butterfly which is a Species of Extreme Concern in Florida. We saw a few last year, but this year we had a population explosion! There were a couple of hundred! Caterpillars ate the coontie until it almost disappeared! The remarkable thing about them is the eggs hatch at the same time, the caterpillars make their cocoons at the same time, and the butterflies emerge with in a few days of each other. It was beautiful to watch them floating in the garden and Food Forest. The Ackee trees were flowering at the time and the Atala butterflies covered the trees for a couple of days.

The Plant Exchange

If you have been by the Community Garden you may have noticed a new addition. The Garden Club of Coral Springs, not to be confused with the Community Garden, has installed The Plant Exchange in the front fence. Anyone with extra plants can drop them off and those looking for plants can find some interesting specimens. Some are labeled and others are easily recognizable. Fruit trees, landscape plants and some vegetable plants can be found here. The variety of plants changes almost every day as there is a lot of interest and activity! If you need a plant, come check it out!

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