Grow Gainesville Newsletter

April/May 2011


Welcome to Grow Gainesville's very first newsletter.
We hope you like it!

Please take a few minutes away from your garden to learn how GG is growing. In addition to keeping up with our new network's progress, we also want to provide gardening tips and networking info in each issue.

Please contribute your feedback, comments, suggestions, tips, etc. for the summer issue. We want to hear from you! Write to growgainesville@gmail.com.

Grow Gainesville has also created a Google calendar listing community gardening events. Check it out! To submit items to the calendar, please email to Julia Showalter at juliashowalter@gmail.com.

In addition, Grow Gainesville has a lively Facebook group which has been a great networking tool. Membership is open, so add yourself and your gardening friends!

Grow Gainesville's next event is a social and potluck starting at 6 p.m. Thursday, May 5 at the Downtown Farmer's Garden on the west side of  the County Administration Building (at University and Main). Please bring a potluck dish to share and any seeds, produce, books, etc. to trade or share. We will hear brief updates on what the different Grow Gainesville committees have accomplished this spring.

See you soon!


~ the Steering Committee at Grow Gainesville


Grow Gainesville Progress

Grow Gainesville LogoUrban gardens are growing in neighborhoods across Alachua County: in backyards and community gardens, and at schools and community centers. They provide us with fresh, nutritious produce, right outside our front and back doors, and help to increase food security in our community while beautifying neighborhoods.


With this in mind, Florida Organic Growers funded by the Alachua Community Agency Partnership Program, is working with community partners including Slow Food Gainesville, Abundant Edible Landscapes, Edible Plant Project, Santa Fe College, University of Florida, and many others, to form Grow Gainesville, an urban gardening network.  


Grow Gainesville's Mission is to increase our community's ability to produce and share food grown in urban gardens by facilitating the networking of gardeners, resources and information in a way that is easily affordable and accessible to all.
Committee Contacts

Green EmailBecause of the diversity of interests Grow Gainesville is organized into various committees. If you are interested in participating further or have questions please contact those listed below.


General Grow Gainesville Inquiries

Travis Mitchell; travis@foginfo.org or 352-377-6355 


School Gardens - Assisting and networking school gardens.

Jasmine Angelini-Knoll; jasminesamar@gmail.com or subscribe to the Google Group


Tools and Resources - Focusing on how to pool resources and coordinate bulk ordering.

Travis Mitchell (see above)  


Events and Outreach - Planning events, promoting Grow Gainesville, and compiling a community calender of events, workshops and more.

Julia Showalter; juliashowalter@gmail.com or 304-276-7615


Education/Mentoring/Community Gardens - Networking community gardens, connecting gardeners with help, and planning educational events.

Gary Hankins; gkhankins@bellsouth.net or 352-262-9038


Steering - Oversees the direction of Grow Gainesville, coordinates activities of other committees, updates webpage content, creates a newsletter and sends email announcements.

Melissa DeSa



Find us on Facebook  


Join us on Facebook where you can read current posts from members and join the gardening conversation! Soon we will also have a location on the Gainesville Farm Fresh website. Stay tuned!


Stephen Foster


Grow Gainesville is open to all as a member-driven organization supported by affordable annual membership dues. These dues help cover the costs of operating the network and ensure active participation from members. Members receive resources including seeds and access to tools and will be part of a growing network of gardeners and advocates working to promote and encourage urban agriculture in Gainesville and a thriving local food system.  


Download the membership application.


Seed Membership, $5/year

For advocates NOT requesting resources:

  • Subscription to the bimonthly Grow Gainesville newsletter
  • Invitation to Grow Gainesville events

Sprout Membership, $10/year
For Family and Individual Gardens:

  • Seeds: 22 packs of varieties appropriate for North Central Florida (11 in the spring/fall and 11 in the winter)
  • Access to the Grow Gainesville tool-lend program, including invitation to Grow Gainesville events
  • Subscription to the bimonthly Grow Gainesville newsletter

Community/School Gardens Membership, $20/year

  • Seeds: 22 large packs of varieties appropriate for North Central Florida (11 in the spring/fall and 11 in the winter)
  • A flat of vegetable seedlings, approximately 54 plants
  • Access to the Grow Gainesville tool-lend program, including shovels, pitchforks, and wheelbarrows
  • Assistance in coordinating volunteer groups
  • Invitation to Grow Gainesville events

Gardening Events 

Re: listing events in Grow Gainesville's new Google calendar -- If you are going to be posting regularly, we can give you access to the calendar so you can make changes. If, however, you just want to post one event, Julia will be happy to post it. Please email to juliashowalter@gmail.com. 

  • High Spring Seed Savers Club - This local gardening group meets on the last Tuesday of every month with a different topic each time. Upcoming meetings, April 26 and May 31, at 7 p.m. at the High Springs Public Library, 135 NW 1st Ave., High Springs, FL 32643. Contact Nancy Montgomery, 386-462-1828 or monty.nancy@gmail.com. 
  • Raised Bed Vegetable Gardening Demonstration - Covers vegetable gardening basics and teaches you how to use raised beds for increased efficiency, 6:30-8:30 p.m. Thursday, April 28 at the Alachua County Cooperative Extension Office, 2800 NE 39 Ave.; free but pre-registration required; call 352-337-6209.   
  • 2011 Eat Local Challenge Kickoff  - Come out to Kumarie's Organic Garden, noon-3 p.m. Sunday, May 1 for music, food and great activities for the whole family. Visit www.hogtownhomegrown.com for more information about the event and how you can take the challenge to eat more locally! The garden is located at 9133 NW 219th Pl., Alachua.
  • Permaculture Weekend Workshop - In this workshop, May 13-15, the class will produce a first-draft design for a Gainesville family home with a small yard. In particular, looking at food production, energy conservation and generation, and alternative water supply for a family of three. Fee is $279. Contact Kristin Shriver at 352-284-5842 or gainesvillepermaculture@yahoo.com.   
Recipe From the Garden: Those Gorgeous Greens!

Swiss Chard

I've not taken to "greens" easily. Sure, I'm happy to have a nice head of romaine or some tender broccoli, zucchini, or spinach on my plate, but my initial explorations of kale, chard, collards, and mustard greens were that they were all bitter, and none of them was welcome on my plate at home or elsewhere. Then a friend gave me some kale from her garden and said I should just chop and stir-fry it with whatever other vegetables I had on hand. I did just that--and I'm now in love with the nutrition-packed, satisfying, and versatile ways of those ubiquitous greens.

Starting with my friend's garden bounty, I chopped but didn't measure a big bunch of dark-green curly kale. I heated a few teaspoons of olive oil in a large cast-iron frying pan, chopped � yellow onion and 1 clove of garlic and added them to the heated oil, saut�ed the mixture until soft and just starting to turn brown, and then added the chopped kale. After about 10 minutes of the kale softening on its own, I added everything else she'd given me--a few green onions, some tender "Asian" greens, and a small bunch of fresh parsley, plus some chopped organic carrots and zucchini from my fridge that I thought would add a little sweetness, color, and texture. I added a light sprinkle of salt, tossed in about � tablespoon of Shoyu, stirred everything a few times, and was ready to serve up the m�lange 10 minutes later.

This versatile kale-veggie mixture satisfied for several meals, including alongside a baked sweet potato, folded into an omelette, and stirred into tomato sauce.

It took this Yankee seven years to understand why beans 'n' greens are so beloved in the South, but greens are now a regular on my shopping list--no recipe necessary. Maybe I'll plant some black-eyed peas next.

~ by Heath Lynn Silberfeld
Heath is an editor by trade, specializing in all things nonfiction, heritage cookbooks, memoir, and life review. Although she can't convince the homeowner's association where she lives to turn an empty meadow into a community garden, she knows Grow Gainesville will have her cultivating a garden again to her heart's content.

Submit YOUR garden recipe! Email growgainesville@gmail.com.
In This Issue:
Grow Gainesville Progress
Join Grow Gainesville!
What to Plant Now
Gardening Resources
Community Gardening Opportunities
Dastardly Cut Worms
Night Gardening
Contact Us!
Kelli's Corn

I'm Kelli Brew and I live in the "Green House" of the Gainesville Catholic Worker with my family and others. Since we have a shady backyard and a postage stamp-size front yard, we are gardening on city-owned property around our house. We use the food for our family and for guests who come to our house for meals. Right now we are using the last of the lettuce and broccoli and are planting warm weather things. This corn is headed for the traffic calmer down the street. 

I have had a garden wherever I've lived over the past 25 years. It's challenging coming up with space in the city, but we've been able to produce quite a bit between the little street gardens, pots on our doorstep, and window boxes.

My favorite thing to grow? Corn in strange places, lovely roselle and blueberries instead of landscape bushes, wandering Seminole pumpkins, sweet sungold cherry tomatoes, zesty herbs, and bee-loved flowers. I keep a record of what we're growing and how we're cooking it on a blog: ourlocallife.com.




Most of the crops below should already be in the ground, but you still have through April, unless otherwise indicated. Some are better directly sowed from seed straight into the garden while others do better from transplants. Below is a rough guide, borrowed from Vegetable Gardening in Florida, by James M. Stephens.

Direct seed in the garden now:

Beans, Cantaloupe, Cucumbers, Southern peas (through August), Sweet potatoes (through June, using potato slips), Pumpkin, Summer Squash, Watermelon

Plant transplants in the garden now:

Corn, Eggplant (through July), Okra (through July), Peppers, Tomatoes, Collards 


DaisyThe Alachua County Master Gardener Annual Plant Sale  takes place from 8 a.m.-noon Saturday, May 21 at the Alachua County Cooperative Extension Office, 2800 NE 39 Ave.

All year, Master Gardener volunteers start from seed or propagate their favorite plants for this sale. A variety of herbs, annuals, perennials, natives,
trees and more will be available. Choose between sun loving or shade-loving plants. Master Gardeners will be on site for advice on plant selection and care. 

This annual event is a fundraiser for the Alachua County Master Gardener Volunteer Program. In 2010 these volunteers gave over 9,700 hours of service to the citizens of Alachua County and made contact with approximately 22,250 people seeking gardening advice. There are currently 11 school
gardens throughout Alachua County elementary schools advised by these volunteers. 

Bring a wagon to tote your bargains in. Admission and parking are free. For more information  or to ask a Master Gardener Volunteer for advice, contact the Extension Office at 352- 955-2402. 


Soil Amendments

Soil Enrichment Products - Various soil amendments available in bulk. Call for self-pick-up times and prices;  352-317-3131;  www.customcompost.com 

Abundant Edible Landscapes - Various amendments delivered in 5-gallon buckets. Also carry great Florida-friendly perennial edibles; 352-658-1514;


Prairie's Edge Organics - Quality vermiculuture products; http://www.prairiesedgeorganics.com/ 



Wood mulch is not ideal for use in the vegetable garden but is great for landscaping paths and mulching around beds. If you do add wood product mulches to the garden, always do a soil test first. Contact your IFAS Extension Office and find out how 955-2402.
Wood Resources Recovery - www.woodresourcerecovery.com
GRU Woodchip Recycling Program - http://www.gru.com/YourHome/ProductsServices/woodchip.jsp
Alachua County gives away mulch and wire compost bins and sells Earth Machines; 352-374-5213 or jseitz@alachuacounty.us and sells Earth Machines; www.alachuacounty.us



Downtown Farmers Garden
- Come lend a hand at the living classroom gardens located in the heart of downtown Gainesville at the Alachua County Administration Building, 12 SE 1st St., every Thursday at 4 p.m. Contact Travis Mitchell  or Sean McLendon. 

UF Ethnoecology Garden - Learn about a variety of perennial and annual plants while experimenting with the application of different sustainable farming practices every Friday at 5 p.m. Garden is located at the UF campus on Museum Road, on the east side of Lake Alice. Contact Julia Showalter at 304-276-7615. Also check out the Facebook page "Ethnoecology Society" or get on the list-serv: ethnoecology@gmail.com. 

Highlands Community Gardens - Good company and garden work fun, every Sunday from noon-2 p.m., 1001 NE 16th Ave. Future plans include an edible food forest as well as a composting site, both of which will be used to educate on the basics of gardening and permaculture practices. Contact Bryan Konrad.
Pest of the Month 
Black Cutworm Larvae

As the temps warm up here in Florida, so do pest populations, including diseases and insects that can ravage our gardens. Unfortunately in Florida there are many to worry about, with our year-round growing season and warm weather. For this issue we picked one that is a real problem with so many new spring transplants going in the ground and so many crops affected: the CUTWORM!


Cutworms are moth larvae (i.e. a caterpillar) that strike at night, becoming more active in the spring, chewing through stems near the soil level or climbing up on plants to eat leaves or buds. The way I know they have struck in my garden is when newly planted seedlings are flopped over in the morning, severed at their base with no cutworm to be found because they have burrowed into the soil to hide for the day. The moths fly at night, laying eggs on host plants. Cutworms can reproduce up to  to six times in one season, so generations of these annoying larvae are normal in the south. Pretty much any crop is at risk, so be on the lookout for these pests.


Some solutions to preventing their damage are:

  1. Turning over seedbeds that have been infested previously to expose larvae for the birds to eat.
  2. Place cutworm collars around new seedlings. Make them out of a cut-up paper towels, toilet paper rolls, or paper coffee cups. These work well because eventually they biodegrade.
  3. You can also head out at night with a headlamp and pick them off. They are harmless and won't hurt you, so don't get too squeamish about it! If you have chickens, save them for a tasty treat; they will love you for it.

For all pest problems, the best mantra I've heard repeated by Wendy Wilber, our county IFAS Horticultural Extension Agent is, "the best fertilizer is a gardener's shadow." Take the time each day to scout for telltale signs of problems under and on leaves, in nooks and crannies on the plant, and on the soil surface. Look for abnormal chewing, holes, scabs, scars, bumps or other unusual signs. Early diagnosis is key to preventing an outbreak that could destroy your crop, because insects and disease can multiply rapidly. 


A great resource for diagnosing pests and disease is Rodale's Vegetable Garden Problem Solver, or check out the archive of garden topics at You Bet Your Garden's website. Of course, talking to your fellow gardeners or calling a Master Gardener also works!

Garden at night. Not only is it extremely peaceful, quiet and cool, but it is a great time to spot some bad garden bugs in

Night Gardening


You might find moths laying eggs, slugs slicing holes in your greens, cutworms attempting to saw off new seedlings and other caterpillars on the prowl.

 It's easy to spot them and pick them off by hand if you have a floodlight or headlamp. If your garden is organic, you might find some companion toads helping you with pest control, too. Plus, you can save the juicy caterpillars for your chickens the next day!

Send us YOUR gardening tips!
We Want to Hear from YOU! 
Send us your gardening tips, secrets,favorite varieties, techniques, must-have books, websites and photos for upcoming issues. Email growgainesville@gmail.com.
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