The 15th Annual Farm Tour is October 15 and 16

The 15th Annual Farm Tour is October 15 and 16

Come on down to the farm! The 15th Annual Farm Tour is October 15 and 16. Image by Millstone Institute of Preservation.

Come on down to the farm! The 15th Annual Farm Tour is October 15 and 16. Image by Millstone Institute of Preservation.

 

Fall is upon us, and that means it is farm tour season!

The 15th Annual Farm Tour is on Saturday, October 15 and Sunday, October 16, 2022. Farmers and producers in 12 counties in North Central Florida and South-Central Georgia will be open to showcase their various farming endeavors. It is a free family weekend of learning, exploration, and fun.

The Farm Tour has been organized and hosted by Millstone Institute of Preservation since 2016. It gives the community the chance to explore local producers in our area and become familiar with the farmers that make up our diverse local food system.

There are 40 farms, ranches, farm-to-table restaurants, markets, vendors, and gardens (including the Leon County “VegHeadz” Demonstration Garden on Saturday!) participating in this year’s Farm Tour, some of which have never participated in the past.

There is much to explore during the 15th Annual Farm Tour, including heritage breed livestock. Photo by Rachel Mathes.

There is much to explore during the 15th Annual Farm Tour, including heritage breed livestock. Photo by Rachel Mathes.

The sites span nearly 140 miles east to west, from Greenville, Florida, to Chipley, Florida, and about 80 miles north to south, from Whigham, Georgia, to Crawfordville, Florida.

Each farm is open to the public at no cost, providing the opportunity for participants to learn the importance of supporting local agriculture and how they can do so.

There are many different types of farms to explore, including seeing a multitude of processes and demonstrations firsthand, such as honey harvesting, cow and goat milking, sawmill operating, bamboo extracting, horse grooming, compost turning, flower arranging, seed saving, wine manufacturing, sausage creating, satsuma juicing, cheese making, kombucha brewing, and much more.

You can also sample and purchase local products at many farm tour sites, including local honey, beeswax and honey products, local eggs, homemade breads, fresh veggies, various locally produced meats (bring a cooler!), pumpkins, vegetable seedlings, kombucha, muscadine wines, handmade soaps, fruit trees, cookbooks, and more. Many locations will also be serving food for sale, such as falafel and hummus; baked goods; beef, bacon, and pork burgers; ice cream and coffee; satsuma slushes, cookies, jellies, and syrups; and much more.   

The Farm Tour Guide includes descriptions and directions to all the farm tour sites. A downloadable version of the Farm Tour Guide is available on the UF/IFAS Leon County Extension Facebook or you can download a copy using this link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1kJIEUcHh1w55BS9y1fpUjfV5yb-MDMJa/view?fbclid=IwAR2Pt0jdjMmZrc9UaJ0tYn_eGnMkem8DvfjdPbkzsTaF8q7D2bFcFLgsoCs

See you down on the farm!

The Fall 2022 Leon County Seed Library Kicks Off August 13

The Fall 2022 Leon County Seed Library Kicks Off August 13

The Fall 2022 Leon County Seed Library Kickoff event starts at 11 a.m. on August 13 at the Collins Main Leon County Library.

The Fall 2022 Leon County Seed Library Kickoff event starts at 11 a.m. on August 13 at the Collins Main Leon County Library.

 

To kick off the Fall 2022 Season of the Leon County Seed Library Program, UF/IFAS Extension Leon County will be at the LeRoy Collins Leon County Main Library (200 W. Park Ave.) Program Room on Saturday, August 13, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., with information on raised bed gardening, a hands-on seeding activity, an Ask-a-Master-Gardener booth, and a healthy cooking demonstration.

Although we are still in the full swing of summer, gardeners know it is time to start thinking about planning the fall garden. Although pulling weeds and adding fresh compost can wait a little while, gathering seeds for the new season can be something to think about doing now.

Youth creating garden gnomes at the 4-H station during the 2019 Seed Library Program debut. Photo by UF/IFAS.

Youth creating garden gnomes at the 4-H station during the 2019 Seed Library Program debut. Photo by UF/IFAS.

If you live in or around Tallahassee, the Leon County Seed Library Program can help jump-start your fall garden. Starting August 13, you can go to any of the seven Leon County libraries to check-out three sample vegetable seed packets per month per library card! The Leon County Master Gardener Volunteers are currently busy labeling and packing each of the seed varieties that will be distributed to the seven libraries.

There will be 10 vegetables varieties this season, including a few varieties that have never been featured in the program. If you like to save seeds from your garden, know that all varieties in the Seed Library Program are open-pollinated (by insects, birds, wind), which means if they are not crossed with another variety, the seeds they produce will grow true to form.

The Fall 2022 selection includes:

  • Common Arugula: Deep green with a spicy, peppery, mustard-like flavor
  • Cylindra Beets: Heirloom with long cylindrical roots, good for slicing
  • De Cicco Broccoli: Central light green head and side shoots to extend season
  • Scarlet Nantes Carrots: Sweet, crisp, bright red-orange, seven-inch roots
  • Vates Collards: Slow bolting, large blue-green leaves
  • Lacinato (Dinosaur) Kale: Cold tolerant, sweet dark green narrow leaves
  • New Red Fire Lettuce: Crisp and flavorful, green base with red ruffled leaf edges, bolt resistant
  • Peione Parsley: Large flat leaves with sweet flavor
  • French Breakfast Radishes: Mild, spicy flavor with a red top and white bottom
  • Bright Lights Swiss Chard: Rainbow stems, burgundy and green leaves, very mild

The vegetable varieties available starting August 13 for the Fall 2022 season of the Leon County Seed Library Program. Image by Molly Jameson.

The vegetable varieties available starting August 13 for the Fall 2022 season of the Leon County Seed Library Program. Image by Molly Jameson.

 

See you at the Leon County Main Library on August 13!

Save the Rainy Day

Save the Rainy Day

Food Grade Barrel converted to rain barrel

Rain Barrel made from food grade container.

A great way to save money on your water bill and reduce the amount of water withdrawn from the aquifer is to use a rain barrel.  The water savings from using stored rainwater rather than municipal or well water can be substantial over a period of time.  A rain barrel may not provide all the water needed to sustain all your plants, but it can certainly benefit some houseplants or even an entire vegetable garden. If you currently have a standard irrigation system, you may be able to turn off the sprinkler zones that are in flower beds and use stored rainwater instead.

Typically, the rain barrel is connected to the gutter downspout of the house.  For a general calculation, you can collect about a half-gallon of water per square foot of roof area during a 1 inch rainfall.  A typical ½ inch rainfall event will fill a 50-55 gallon barrel.  Multiple rain barrels can be linked together with PVC or flexible hose to increase storage capabilities.  However, with a screen modification on the lid, the rain barrel can be located anywhere in order to collect open rain fall.  It will take a lot longer to fill, but may be more practical if the area you want to water is a good distance from the house.

Now is the time to prepare for the long, hot season to come.  If you want to learn more, please join the Walton County Environmental Department and UF/IFAS at the Walton County Extension office on Monday, March 7, 2022 for an educational lecture on stormwater and demonstration on how to build a rain barrel.  The first 20 participants may also sign up to build a take-home rain barrel.  The program begins at 1:00 pm and is free to the public. Those interested in assembling a ready-to-go rain barrel will need to pay $35.  Custom assembly will begin at 3:30 p.m.  Please contact the Walton County Extension office to register.  850-892-8172.

Leon County’s Spring Seed Library Program Starts February 12

Leon County’s Spring Seed Library Program Starts February 12

Join us via Zoom on Saturday, February 12, for our Leon County Seed Library Virtual Workshop. Graphic by Molly Jameson.

Join us via Zoom on Saturday, February 12, for our Leon County Seed Library Virtual Workshop. Graphic by Molly Jameson.

Believe it or not, spring is right around the corner! For gardeners, this is the time to start thinking about our spring season garden plan and starting seeds. Many spring vegetables, such as tomatoes, benefit from an early start indoors or in a greenhouse, planted in containers. This gives them a greater chance to avoid the intense heat of summer and beat many insect and disease life cycles.

Need seeds to start your garden? Well, if you live in Leon County, you are in luck. Starting Saturday, February 12, 2022, residents of Leon County can “check out” up to three sample seed packets per month with their library card as part of Leon County’s Seed Library Program. The vegetable seeds can be checked out from any of the seven library branch locations. Leon County residents can apply for a library card online at the LeRoy Collins Leon County Public Library online card application page (https://lcpl.ent.sirsi.net/custom/web/registration/).

Here are the vegetable seed varieties that will be available starting February 12:

  • Mammolo Basil. Mammolo basil has an Italian aroma and a bushy, compact growth habit that is great for containers.
  • Maxibel Haricot Vert Beans. Maxibel Haricot Vert produces prolific beans with long, slender pods and tender texture.
  • Natsu Fushinari Cucumbers. Natsu Fushinari is a deep green Japanese-type of cucumber with eight-inch fruit and glossy skin. It has resistance to diseases in high heat.
  • Little Fingers Eggplant. Little Fingers eggplant produces clusters of tender, long, deep purple fruit that can be harvested small or large.
  • Pinkeye Purple Hull Southern Peas. Pinkeye Purple Hull Southern is a semi-bushy, early-season pea that produces prolific dark purple pods. It has resistance to many diseases.
  • Bull Nose Peppers. Bull Nose is an old pepper variety, dating back to the mid-to-late 1800s, and has medium to large, sweet fruit that is great for cooking or salads.
  • New Zealand Spinach-like Greens. New Zealand spinach is not a true spinach, but it loves the heat and produces succulent leaves that are excellent cooked or fresh in sandwiches.
  • White Scallop Squash. White Scallop is a high-yielding Native American heirloom that produces scallop-shaped fruit great for frying or baking.
  • Homestead 24 Tomatoes. Homestead 24 is a semi-determinate tomato that has medium to large red fruit developed for hot, humid climates, making it great for Florida gardens.
  • Amy’s Sugar Gem Tomatoes. Amy’s Sugar Gem grows tall, vigorous vines and produces sweet, large red cherry tomatoes.
  • Moon and Stars Watermelon. Resembling the night’s sky, Moon and Stars watermelon has a dark green rind with bright yellow spots. It has speckled yellow leaves and seedy, but very sweet, bright red flesh.

Whether you are located in Leon County or not, everyone is welcome to join us Saturday, February 12, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., for our Leon County Seed Library Virtual Workshop. Via Zoom, agents with UF/IFAS Extension Leon County will discuss spring vegetable gardening techniques and healthy eating. There will also be a live cooking demonstration showing how to prepare healthy meals and snacks at home, featuring vegetables available in the Spring 2022 Seed Library Program.

For more information about the Leon County Seed Library Virtual Workshop, please visit our Eventbrite page: https://seedlibraryworkshop2022.eventbrite.com. There is no cost to attend the workshop, but registration is required.

Happy spring gardening!

Gardening in the Panhandle LIVE! 2022

Gardening in the Panhandle LIVE! 2022

The UF/IFAS Extension Northwest District Horticulture Team is excited to announce our third season of Gardening in the Panhandle LIVE! free webinars! Please plan to join us this Spring and Fall for all new episodes where we will tackle gardening issues relevant to the Florida Panhandle!

There are two ways to join the Gardening in the Panhandle LIVE! webinars:

  1. Facebook Live – Follow us on Facebook and follow individual webinar Events.
  2. Zoom Webinar – Pre-registration is required for Zoom. Users must have an authenticated account (free at Zoom Link). Be sure you have security settings up to date to prevent connection delays. Links to Zoom registration will be added to the topic one-two weeks before the webinar and a closed captioned recorded link to YouTube will be available approximately one week after the program. (Underlined words have active links!)

Although we do accept questions from the audience during the broadcast, we may not have time to read them on-air. If you have a great question you think other viewers need to hear, please pre-register through Zoom and submit early!

All webinars are on a Thursday at Noon CDT/ 1:00 p.m. EDT

Date Topic
February 17, 2022 Growing Tomatoes in Northwest Florida
March 31, 2022 Turfgrass and Groundcovers
April 14, 2022 Subtropical Fruits for the Florida Panhandle
May 19, 2022 Native Pollinators and their Favorite Flowers
September 15, 2022 Winter Garden Planning
October 13, 2022 Gardening Myths and Home Remedies

Missed an episode or want to see it again? Subscribe out our YouTube Playlist!

Join Us August 7 for the 2021 Leon County Seed Library Virtual Workshop

Join Us August 7 for the 2021 Leon County Seed Library Virtual Workshop

Join us via Zoom on Saturday, August 7, for our Leon County Seed Library Virtual Workshop. Graphic by Molly Jameson.

Join us via Zoom on Saturday, August 7, for our Leon County Seed Library Virtual Workshop. Graphic by Molly Jameson.

Join Us August 7 for the 2021 Leon County Seed Library Virtual Workshop

Planting vegetable seeds and growing a garden is a great way to get outdoors and appreciate nature. Since 2015, the Leon County Public Library has supported gardeners in Leon County by providing vegetable seed packets for patrons to take home and plant in their gardens.

To kick off the Fall 2021 Seed Library, agents with UF/IFAS Leon County Extension are hosting the Leon County Seed Library Virtual Workshop on Saturday, August 7, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. via Zoom.

During the virtual workshop, Extension agents will discuss planting seeds, growing vegetables, and how to incorporate veggies into healthy meals and snacks. The workshop coincides with the first day the seeds in the Fall 2021 Seed Library will become available. Residents of Leon County can check out three sample seed packets per month with their library cards from all Leon County library branches.

Even if you are not a resident of Leon County, everyone is welcome to join us at the virtual workshop. Along with the gardening portion of the workshop, there will also be a live virtual cooking demonstration featuring vegetables available in the Fall 2021 Seed Library Program.

For more information about the Leon County Seed Library Virtual Workshop, please visit our Eventbrite page: https://seedlibraryworkshop2021.eventbrite.com. There is no cost to attend the workshop, but registration is required.

If you are a resident of Leon County, all you need is your Leon County library card to check out the vegetable seeds. Don’t have a library card? No problem! Leon County residents can apply online at the LeRoy Collins Leon County Public Library online card application page here: https://lcpl.ent.sirsi.net/custom/web/registration/.

Here is the list of the vegetable seed varieties that will be available starting August 7: Common Arugula, Waltham 29 Broccoli, Chantenay Red Core Carrots, Michihili Chinese Cabbage, Slo-bolt Cilantro, Alabama Blue Collards, Early White Vienna Kohlrabi, Rocky Top Salad Blend Lettuce, Pink Beauty Radishes, and Tokinashi Turnips.