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Man in Overalls' Food Garden Resources

How to Pick a Great Garden Spot
- What factors to balance to choose the best garden location
What Can You Grow in a Square
- Square Foot Gardening (in raised beds), spacing, seasonal crops
Plants? Or Seeds? And Other Planning Questions
- Things to know before you plant
Food Gardening 101
- 10 steps from grass to garden
Where Do We Grow From Here?
- Post planting next steps, FAQ, & Seasonal Schedule
Pesky Pests and What to Do About Them
- All about pest management; i.e., what to do about bugs
What to Do When It Freezes
-Or, rather, what to do before it freezes to protect your crops
Cover Up that Soil
- Primer on best practices of growing cover crops to manage soil
Community Garden Types
-Outlines 3 major models of community gardens
So You Want to Start a School Garden (Revised 5 2016)
-By Man in Overalls, pub. by FDACS Food Nutrition & Wellness Div.

Man in Overalls Food Gardening Videos
Man in Overalls YouTube Channel
FDACS Fresh for Florida Kids Teaching Garden Channel
Individual Videos:
-Building Raised Beds
-Garden Planning
-Planting Seeds
-Planting Starts
-Watering Your Garden
-Growing Potatoes
-Growing Tomatoes
-Weeding
-Growing Corn
-Growing Sweet Potatoes
-When the Garden is Done (Transitioning to the next season)
-How to Grow Year Round (in spite of the cold)
-"My Garden, My Plate" USDA Dietary Suggestions
-"Math in the Garden" - Using food gardens as teaching tools

Additional Quick References
Just Fruits and Exotics' Vegetable Planting Guide
- Planting dates, depths, yields, days to harvest, row spacing
Just Fruits and Exotics' "Just the Facts" about N FL Fruit Trees
- Locally adapted fruit trees, berries, grapes, kiwis and more
Native Nurseries' Pest Solutions
- A table that lists pests on one axis and available pest products on the other.
Just Fruits and Exotics' Beneficial Insect Guide
- Most insects are on your team.  How to bring the good ones in.
Cornell's "Home Composting"
- Composting Essentials, How to compost yard waste, food scraps, etc
ATTRA's Ecological Pest Management Database
- Biorational controls for basically every pest known to science

Soil Testing
-Soil, compost, plant tissue, & heavy metal test by UMASS
-pH, P, K, Ca, and Mg testing by UF IFAS.
-Micro nutrient analysis by Fertrell (email soil test request)
-Soil, water, feed, heavy metals, pesticide/ herbicide residues, & food safety by Waters Agricultural Laboratory.

Community Garden Resources
ACGA's Best Practices Website
ACGA's E-Newsletter
City of Tallahassee Community Gardening Program
Man in Overalls Posts concerning Community Gardens

School & Youth Garden Resources
Man in Overalls Blogs:
-How to Start a School Garden: Build a Team
-How to Start a School Garden: Design
Gardening for Grades - free guide from Ag in the Classroom
- how to plan, fund, create and learn with school gardens
Gardening for Nutrition - free school-garden nutrition curriculum
- "sequel" to Gardening for grades. Also correlated to standards.
Florida Dept of Education School Garden Program

Where I get what (in Jacksonville)
Lumber/Hardware:
Paschal Brothers Hardware (1118 N. Myrtle Ave Jax, (904) 354-3566)
Carolina Lumber (575 Phelps St, (904) 355-4531
Vegetable & herb plants, seeds, & soil amendments:
Standard Feed & Seed* (1236 Kings Rd, (904 355-5575)
Ace Hardware (anywhere in town)
Bluebird Growers (Art Walk, Vegabond, & Jaxon Night Mkts (904) 428-8723)
(* + chickens, feed, and chicken houses)
Fruit Trees:
Flying Dragon Citrus Nursery (3973 Loretta Rd, (904) 880 5026)


Where I get what (in Tallahassee-ish)
Lumber/Hardware:
Capital City Lumber (2501 Lonnbladh Rd, (850) 385-0315)
J H Dowling (705 W. Madison Street, (850) 222-2616)
Vegetable & herb plants, Seeds, & Soil Amendments:
Gramlings Seed Store (1010 S. Adams Street, (850) 222-4812)
Native Nurseries
Tallahassee Nurseries
Esposito
Heinz Nurseries
Purple Martin Nurseries
Fruit Trees, Berries and Grape Vines:
Just Fruits and Exotics

I Also occasionally Order Seeds, Tools, Extra Supplies, etc from
Bountiful Gardens
Seed Savers Exchange
Southern Exposure Seed Exchange
Johnny's Select Seeds
A M Leonard


My Top Three "Go-To" Food Gardening Books
1)Down to Earth Gardening Down South (Tallahassee native, Lacy Bullard)
2)How to Grow More Vegetables (John Jevons)
3)Square Foot Gardening (Mel Bartholomew)

My Top Three "Go-To" Small-scale Intensive Farming Books
-The Urban Farmer (Curtis Stone)
-The Market Gardner (Jean Martin Fortier)
-The Lean Farm (Ben Hartman)


Additional Books Worth Checking Out
-Building Soils for Better Crops (Magdoff and Vanes)
-Edible Forest Gardens (Dave Jacke and Eric Toensmeier)
-Introduction to Permaculture (Bill Mollison)
-Permaculture: Principles and Pathways (David Holmgren)
-Rodale's Ultimate Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening (Bradley, Ellis, and Phillips)
-The Organic Manual (Howard Garrett)
-Weedless Gardening (Lee Reich)


For Aspiring Community Food System (Food Movement) Facilitators
On Community Organizing and Facilitating:
The Long Haul (Myles Horton)
     - the best book I've read about building and sustaining social movements
Growing Communities Curriculum (from the ACGA)
    - "How to" on Community Garden Facilitation and Com. Organizing
Ripples from the Zambezi: Passion, Entrepreneurship...
     - Great stories about facilitating vs doing thing "for" others
Change by Design
    - use design-thinking in your efforts to grow a new food system

On Food Policy, Food System Terms and Research:
USDA Regional Food Hub Resource Guide
    - "A Business or organization that manages the aggregation, distribution, and
       marketing... local food to satisfy wholesale, retail, and institutional demand
Eating Here: The Greater Philadelphia Food System Plan
    - Created by the Delaware Valley Reg. Planning Commission
Multnomah (Portland) Food Action Plan
    - "Grow and Thrive 2025 Community Action Plan"

Understanding the Food Movement
"The Food Movement, Rising" (Michael Pollan)
"A Good Food Manifesto" (Will Allen)

Urban Agriculture
CFSC Urban Ag Primer
City Farmer (Urban Ag News Blog)
"Start an Urban Farm" (ATTRA/NCAT publication)
Beginning Farmer's Amazing resource of Urban Ag Links

    - What's happening in Atlanta? What about Detroit?
"Growing Urban Agriculture: Equitable Strategies and Policies..."

To Understand the Current Industrialized Food System
Food, Inc. (movie)
King Corn (movie)
Fresh (the movie)

Addressing race amidst the food system and food movement
"White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack" (Peggy McIntosh)
History of the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network
Growing Food and Justice for all Initiative on Race and the Food System

Organizations to Track and/or Join, which offer great conferences
American Community Gardening Association (ACGA)
Growing Power
Seed Savers Exchange

Urban Ag; Micro Ag Educational Opportunities and Resources
Georgia Organics Urban Ag Training (Atlanta, GA)
Growing Growers (Kansas City)
Michigan State University Student Organic Farm
San Diego City College Urban Agriculture Certificate Program
SPIN (Small Plot INtensive) Farming
Grow Biointensive/ Ecology Action
Beginning Farmers Blog
"Start a Farm in the City" (joint effort between ATTRA and NCAT)
Also See SARE publications (below)

Additional Books and Resources on Sustainable Food Production
  Weedless Gardening (Lee Reich)
  The Organic Manual (Howard Garrett)
  How to Grow World Record Tomatoes (Charles Wilber)
  Rodale's Ultimate Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening (Bradley, Ellis, and Phillips)

  Permaculture: Principles and Pathways (David Holmgren)
  Introduction to Permaculture (Bill Mollison)
  Edible Forest Gardens (Dave Jacke and Eric Toensmeier)

  National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service (ATTRA)
  Sustainable Agriculture Research Education (SARE)
 
SARE Publications-- free to download
  Building Soils for Better Crops (Magdoff and Vanes)
  Managing Cover Crops Profitably
  Manage Insects on Your Farm: A Guide to Ecological Strategies
  Crop Rotation on Organic Farms: A Planning Manual
  Building a Sustainable Business: A Guide to Developing a Business Plan for Farms...
  How to Direct-Market Your Beef
  Land and Power: Sustainable Agriculture and African Americans

Our Very Own Local Food Raising Experts
Duval County Extension Urban Gardening Program
FAMU's CESTA (agricultural extension)
UF's IFAS (agricultural extension)
Farmer Pam at Backyard Farm in Monticello, FL
Damayan Garden Project
Front-Yard Farmer in Niceville, FL

My Agricultural Mentors, Role Models, and Fellow Leaders
-My Granny Wiley
-Will Allen of Growing Power
-Rashid Nuri of Truly Living Well
-Sundiata Ameh-El of Community Compost & iGrow Whatever You Like
-Matt Kokenes of Micro Farm Gardens
-Malik Yakini of Detroit Black Community Food Security Network
-Mary & Wes Riddle of Roots Memphis
-Cera McGinn of Ramble and Root
-Jeremy Lekich of Nashville Foodscapes
-David Newman of Ripe City Farm
-Corey McNair of Yahrootz
-Diallo Sekou of Urban Geoponics
-Eugene Cook of Gebsite Urban Farms
-Shelby Stec of Dog Days Gardens
-Sylvia Powell of Success Gardening

Most viewed Man in Overalls posts of all time

Why Can I Eat Bread in France, but not the USA?

Updated 10/31/2017 as the National Organic Standards Board meets in Jacksonville, FL. This may well be the most important thing you read this year for your health. (Originally written in 2015 while I was traveling-- and eating bread-- with my wife in France.)

I've got a food riddle for you from Paris, France: Why can I eat bread over here when it makes me sick at home?

I'll share my best guess in a minute, but first, a little personal background.

Since my senior year of high school, I've not been able to eat much bread at all. For five years, I was severely hypoglycemic, and everything I ate had to have more protein than carbohydrates. That meant, in effect, that I spent my years of college beer-less and eating lots of salad with meat on top. I ate tons of vegetables, very little fruit, basically no carbohydrates to speak of, meat, nuts, eggs, and cheese. If I accidentally ate, say, meat loaf that was, unbeknownst to me, made with bread in it, I'd spend the next 2-3 da…

Man in Overalls - It's Like Washing Your Dishes

I often hear folks joke, "Yeah, I had a garden once. I put in all this money & effort, and I only got a handful of tomatoes. Each one of them cost $27!" And they usually end by saying something about not having a green thumb.

I smile and think about a mental model I've been working on: Growing your groceries is like washing your dishes.

While they're raving about how many plants they've killed, I'm thinking, "It's not your thumbs. I bet you don't have a sink. And if you do, are you using decent soap or that garbage from the dollar store? And did you mention you've never washed dishes before in your life? And you're surprised you broke a couple wine glasses with no more experience than a four-year-old?" My eyebrows furrow involuntarily belying my thoughts, "Really? That doesn't seem all that surprising to me." But, of course, not only would saying all that confuse people, it'd kill the moment, so I just smile som…

Man in Overalls - The Valley of Food & Ag Startups: Warren Wilson College

If you're interested in tech, pay attention to Silicon Valley. If you're interested in food and agriculture, Swannnoa Valley, more specifically Warren Wilson College, is the place to keep on your radar.
I'm an alum and proud of it, class of 2008. I studied community organizing, wrote a 140 page thesis about social movements as my capstone.
It's a work college, one of seven in the country. Think universal work-study, so in addition to whatever one's academic track, students are also working in the cafeteria, the library, admissions, as carpenters, lock smiths, lab techs, and-- per the agricultural legacy of Warren Wilson-- as row crop, animal, and vegetable farmers, gardeners, and edible landscapers.  Personally, I worked on the electric crew and then on the landscape crew where I led the edible landscape sub-crew in managing a 1-acre edible (Permaculture) landscape around the "Ecodorm."

Per the "triad" of Warren Wilson's educational system,…

Man In Overalls - My Compost System

Composting, they say, is an art form. But, truth be told, I'm just too lazy for all that. My own compost philosophy is, "Crap rots in the woods, doesn't it?"

But really. :)


Whenever I think of home gardening systems, I always reflect back on my grandmother. She gardened up until the week she died at 93. She planted by the signs and assured me that's why her collards were not eaten up by bugs and were able to grow for 3 years running and up to 8 or 9 feet tall. She had a little rototiller, planted straight rows, mulched by spreading leaves to keep the weeds down. She threw out a little 10-10-10 from time to time and kept the cabbage worms at bay with Sevin dust. She hoed if the weeds called for it. But mostly, she harvested. Her pots were always full and her freezer always stuffed with produce: collards, mustards, turnips, peas, tomato gravy, squash, you name it.

Now, I don't use 10-10-10 or sevin dust, and I'm not big on tilling. However, the thing I cont…

Man in Overalls - Growing Great Soil

Good soil will basically grow your groceries for you, but how do you build great soil? 
The answer is that there are two options: a quick & easy way and a DIY, hard(er) way. 

So we're on the same page, I'm continuing my #GrowYourGroceries The Easy Way series by digging into the how-tos of growing great soil. These stories and techniques will likely make the most sense after reading Geeking on Good Soil, my last update. (I outlined where I was headed in The Big Picture.)


As I was saying, the easy way to build a great soil is to fill raised beds with a terrific compost-based soil mix like my Magic Mix to jump start your food garden productivity from year one. From there, seasonally, you simply top-dress each season before planting with another few inches of compost-based soil mix. This is how I manage my own food garden and those of my customers. Why? Because at the root of things, I'm a lazy food gardener, and long ago I decided to embrace it. 😎

But if you're not in th…

Man in Overalls - Summer Garden Blues & What To Do

Welcome to mid summer in the Deep South! If you're anything like me, you're actively looking for excuses to avoid going outside this time of year. The heat doesn't so much radiate down from the sun as it seems to rise from the side walk. Rain helps- for about ten minutes- and then simply adds to the humidity as it vaporizes on the payment, so that it feels like you need a snorkel to make it from the house to the car, but of course, it only gets worse when you turn on the AC, and that first puff of hot air feels as though someone just wrapped your face in a plastic bag - not to mention that if you cut your grass yesterday, you're going to have to do it again... tomorrow. And, lets not even talk about how fast the weeds grow this time of year! Or the insects seem to multiply! Oh, home... :)

Here's the good news: If your garden looks a little worse for wear, it's okay. Really. Mine does too. As much as I aim for- and largely achieve- a productive & beautifull…

Man in Overalls - What to Do When it Freezes in N FL

Here's the short version: If you've got tender warm-season plants growing (think tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, squash, and the like), water thoroughly and then throw a sheet over your warm-season veggies & tropical fruit trees (especially if they've only been in the ground 1-2 years).

I can't count how many people I've met who have a complex about "killing plants" and who think, "I don't have a green thumb." What they don't realize is that anyone (EVERYONE!) who grows their own groceries is well-versed in killing crops (myself not-withstanding). Why do you think there are entire USDA funding streams for crop loss insurance and crop-loss loans? Even the best of farmers-- much less gardeners-- inadvertently kill things from time to time.

On the topic of freezes, a few years back (2010 I believe), I was up late organizing a kids food gardening workshop when I suddenly remembered it was supposed to freeze that night. Being 11pm or mi…

Man in Overalls - How to Start a School Garden: Design

Before you get to build your school garden like this,
before you can help kids get their hands dirty like this,
 or teach kids in your school garden like this,
there are a few things you've got to take care of first.

The #1 most important thing you've got to do is build your team. I say- with no exaggeration-- that human infrastructure is THE most important aspect of developing a successful school garden. But, I already wrote about building your school garden team last time. Assuming you're on track with that, a simultaneous step is to begin developing yourschool garden design.

Here are a few things to should consider as you develop a school garden design:
Purpose
In your school garden interest meeting, one of the first questions you should ask is: "Why are you interested in a school garden?" Interestingly, this question serves two purposes. First, it helps the team gel because there will likely be a lot of overlap in answers. This will lend itself to a sense of s…

Man in Overalls - Fall: The Best Time to Garden

Here in the Deep South, September through the end of October is the time to plant your fall food garden. When most folks think garden, they think spring: tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, green beans, peppers, etc. While I do love tomatoes, the fall-- here in Jacksonville-- is the most pleasant and bountiful season to grow! In the fall you can grow salad greens like lettuce, arugula, spinach; cooking greens like collards, kale, mustards; root crops (other than potatoes) like turnips, carrots, radishes, beets; the garlic/onion family of crops; and many herbs (other than basil) such as parsley and cilantro, which actually do better in the fall than spring.
(If you want a fall planting guide, sign up for my semi-monthly updates at the bottom of this post. Also, if you want to learn more from me directly, check out my facebook events for upcoming workshops and speaking engagements.)
But let me back up. Beyond the greater range of fall options, why do I love growing food in the fall? It's s…