We are a 32-acre facility incorporating ranch-style homes for our residents with memory care needs.
Besides landscaping our vibrant country gardens with a variety of indigenous and fruit-bearing trees, I oversee our Memorial Rose Garden and activities at our greenhouse which supplies some gardening therapy for our residents. But the area where I really get my hands dirty is in our five small organic gardens which supply a bounty of organic fruits and vegetables, not only for consumption by our residents, but also for needy families in the area.
I will be coming to you each month, relaying information on what and how we do things here in our fields. I look forward to your questions and comments on anything related to the appropriate topics. We also offer free garden lectures each month, which gives everyone a chance to learn, walk the gardens and ask questions. We try for two Saturday sessions per month with a variety of knowledgeable speakers on topics related to that time of year.
September is a very exciting time for us here. We are still reeling from the abundance of product that the spring and summer has given us. We have harvested 9500 lbs through August this year. Early tomatoes, bell peppers, squash and cucumbers are coming out to make room for final summer crops and cool season crops. Next week we will concentrate on bed preparation and planting of our most popular fall and winter crops. Broccoli, cauliflower and lettuce will gradually be replacing our spring and summer crops as they approach the end of their production cycles. We will continue these plantings through February.
The most important things we are doing to guarantee us tomatoes for the end of the year, are related to pest control and fertilization. We spray every 10-14 days with B.T. (bacillus thuringiensis) and M-Pede, assorted oils and/or soaps, to control somewhat, worm and aphid infestations. So far we have experienced good control of these major pests. Plants will continue to be tied up as they grow, and fertilized every couple weeks either with worm tea or side dressed with a complete organic fertilizer such as Dr. Earth 4-4-4.
We are in the process of harvesting green and red bell peppers. Plants that have sufficient foliage from proper fertilization are left to go to red. We also use a black shade netting to cover some of our bells to protect against sunburn, to get them to the red phase. An occasional shot of BT to control the caterpillars, and worm tea for fertilizer, and we are good to go.
Next month we will talk more on some of the problems we have experienced here in the past with cool season plantings (especially cole crops).
Little by little you will be able to get a feel of what Sunshine Care is not only offering its residents, but the community as a whole.
Talk to you soon,