Arboretum Community Farm and Garden Summer 2019

Eggplant, tomato, corn, sweet potato, peppers, melon…hungry yet?! These are just a few examples of the delicious produce grown in the Arboretum Community Farm and Garden for the summer season. Our Spring Newsletter highlighted the construction of the new garden, and now the garden is complete! Volunteers put in many hours at the end of the spring 2019 semester to finish building the garden and now it is flourishing with its first summer crops.

The new garden is just under a quarter of an acre and contains a total of 19 boxed beds and an open area of “farm land.” The boxed beds were built with 2×6 boards and are 4-feet wide, and either 12 or 16 feet long. Different lengths of boxed beds allows us to plan for and grow the optimal amount of produce, depending on the crop type and season. Herbs are planted in 12 foot beds using a companion planting method.

Larger vegetables, such as eggplant and sweet potato, are grown in the 16-foot beds for optimal growing space. The larger beds also allow us to plant more varieties of the same vegetables. Currently, we are growing 3 varieties of eggplant, 3 varieties of tomatoes, and 3 varieties of peppers. Yum! Our open farm land is used to plant rows of crops such as corn and beans, which grow better in long open rows. Our previous garden was restricted to raised beds and did not include row-crop style planting, so we are excited to see how this new addition works out!

With the new garden design came a new high-tech irrigation system, which will greatly reduce our water use. The new Calsense™ system is much more water efficient than our overhead irrigation system, and it can be controlled through the cloud from a computer or cell phone to customize and modify irrigation. All 19 boxed beds have been outfitted with drip irrigation that can be individually shut off if a bed is not in production. The open farm land is outfitted with tape irrigation, which runs in rows 6 inches underground, directly watering the crop roots. Both the drip and tape irrigation allow for optimal watering of crops and help prevent the occurrence and spread of diseases that can happen with overhead watering.

We are very excited to share our new and improved Arboretum Community Farm and Garden with the UCF Community. Produce grown at the Arboretum can be found at the Knight’s Helping Knight’s Pantry Tuesday-Thursday each week and all volunteers are welcome to take home produce at the end of our volunteer shifts. To celebrate our Arboretum Community Farm and Garden, please join us at our Fall Semester kick-off Tuesday, September 3rd from 3pm-5pm for a produce giveaway and garden and greenhouse tours!

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