for the TLA Journal April 2011

The gates are open — the irrigation system is on — the sun is shining —- and the frosts are behind us!

But the best news is:

Skidaway Farms still has room for you to become a member and start gardening!

After the Opening Celebration on February 12th, Skidaway Farms had a crush of new members join up!  But with almost 200 plots onsite, there are still 29 plots available for more new gardeners. Email Membership Coordinator, Janet Waldie  ( who will get you signed up!

Close to 190 gardeners are busy tilling, planting and admiring their plots.  Traditional gardeners number 110 while the Organic section boasts 25 members.  Governance Committee Chair, Blake Caldwell is also exploring the notion of creating more raised beds for those new gardeners who may be interested.

Skidaway Farms is a 2.5 acre view of just how very talented we Skidaway Islanders really are!  It is the colorful answer to: “What happens when dedicated gardeners put their personal signature on their own 200 sq. feet of dirt!”

No two plots look alike — some sport pine straw —some black anti-weed fabric— some are furrowed — trellises adorn others — there are birdbaths and flowers and wind chimes and even a mailbox or two!  And, of course, there are vegetables — and flowers too.

Talk among the Farmers is that Season 1 will be on a leaning-curve.  After all, Skidaway is a coastal island and that means the wind, the soil, the humidity, the critters and the bugs are new to many Farmers who hail from other climates.   The Farms’ Education Coordinator, Donna Shea, is busy lining up a slate of experts who will be on hand to help out!   (line about zipperere…etc,

Come on down and visit the Farm!

Skidaway Farms is on McWhorter Road going to Modena — bear left at the fork and then turn left onto the gravel drive next to the Skidaway Farms sign.  The gates are open every day from “sun up to sun down”.

Kids at “The Farm”

Kids at “The Farm” –

from the TWATL 4/15/2011

Who knew you could grow pumpkins in an eggshell?

Pat Barry, Children’s Garden Coordinator at Skidaway Farms surely knew!  It was the first thing she taught her flock of children-farmers about how vegetables really grow.

Supported by their parents, over a dozen children (ages 4-8) have planted sunflowers, lettuce, carrots, cucumbers, pumpkins and radishes in the Children’s Garden at the Farm.  With a generous grant from the Green Thumb Garden Club, Pat rented the plots and was able to purchase enough copies of Helen Jordan’s  “How A Seed Grows” so each child had their own book.  Linda Rich, Aletha Dunlavy and Kathy Fritz helped Pat till the soil and get the plots ready for the children.

Then, armed with a couple dozen eggshells and some pumpkin seeds, Pat showed her wide-eyed little Farmers just how it was done!  Everyone took home their eggshell – and watched it carefully for that first exhilarating pop of green up through the soil.  Once the seeds germinated, each child planted the seedling  at the Farm – eggshell and all!

Other seeds went into the ground directly – under the caring eye of the flowered-hat-scarecrow who, so far, has kept a vigilant watch over all the goings-on!

Girl Scout Troop # 33061 also has joined the Children’s Garden.  These Daisy Scouts are working to receive their Rose-Petal-Daisy badge by gardening their harvest of melons and veggies.  Troop Co-Leaders, Dawn Ciano and Colleen Bibby are using Skidaway Farms to guide these young girls through the “Make The World a Better Place” Girl Scout program.

Skidaway Farms encourages other children to join up…  organized groups or maybe a Grandparent and their grandchildren.  The only requirement is the children must live on Skidaway Island and a parent/guardian must be involved.  Contact Pat Barry at with any questions about the Children’s Program.

Come on down and visit the Farm!

Skidaway Farms is on McWhorter Road going to Modena — bear left at the fork and then turn left onto the gravel drive next to the Skidaway Farms sign.  The gates are open every day from “sun up to sundown.”


Coffee Ground Fertilizer

The talk at one plot today was about coffee grounds today… and how earthworms love them! And anything that makes earthworms happy makes for happier soil. You can add grounds directly to the soil… scratch it into the top couple inches or just sprinkle the grounds on top and leave it alone. Mother Nature takes over … things start to decompose … and your plants start to notice! One Farmer makes coffee ground “tea”. Add two cups of used coffee grounds to a five-gallon bucket of water…. lets it steep for a few hours or overnight… it makes great liquid fertilizer for garden and container plants! (3/12/11)



The Broccoli harvest has begun! Some of the heads are fully six inches across! One Farmer suggests cutting the center head before it gets much bigger … then additional heads will grow yielding a “second crop”. Broccoli and béarnaise sauce… yummy! And the greens are a tasty side dish as well… a little olive oil and a quick stir-fry made one Farmer claim they are better than spinach! (4/10/11)

Heavy Rain

Those HEAVY rains got some Farmers wondering how to keep their plants from getting root rot beneath their weed fabric. So much water … some say close to 5 inches or rain over 3 days … and not enough sun had the soil saturated … and with the fabric keeping the soil from drying out, one Farmer was dealing with his plants crying for relief from their wet feet! Giving the plants a bit more room at their base from the fabric may be the answer … just in case the Farm gets another deluge. (4/2/11)


Earthworms were the topic this morning at the Farm. As good as our soil may be, it will only get better with worms working it 24-7. One organic farmer has bought earthworm eggs…. Amazing! Put ‘em in the ground like you would a seed… and soon the little critters will hatch and do their thing. They drill tunnels that break up hardpan and help soak up a drenching rainfall. Each worm generates its weight in castings in a 24 hour period – good for balancing the ph in your soil. And, supposedly, earthworms can churn out 15 tons of worm castings per acre in one year! That outta help! (3/19/11)

Grass Clippings

A couple of Farmers have begun to trim the rye grass growing next to their plots. It makes great mulch and it’s there for the picking!  The advice is to spread it thinly – it will decompose and help loosen the soil for drainage.  And we could all use a little more nitrogen in our plots! (3/16/11)

Green Glow

Our walkways are turning a gorgeous green on St. Patrick’s Day. Nothing like some good winter rye grass to put a glistening green glow on a morning at the Farm! Once the rye grass starts to fade to brown, the clover seed already planted under it will begin to germinate. Nice planning by Valley Crest to keep our walkways looking good. (3/17/11)

Growing Sustainable Gardens And Community