Mission: Helping People with Life Challenges Through Outreach and Interactions with Animals and Nature
Thank you to the Herb Society of Nashville for a grant to develop a dedicated handicapped-accessible herb garden, and to the Nashville Predators Foundation for help in making our vegetable garden a learning, teaching, and tasting garden.
Thanks to the Kroger Foundation, we have been able to place more than 200 potted vegetable plants with homeless men and women in the Nashville area, and teach them about organic gardening and nutrition. We grow the plants from seeds, and deliver them when they began to bloom. A number of our friends in homelessness, many of whom are older and have been homeless for many years, are turning into real gardeners!
In 2018, 2019, 2021, and 2022 our cherry tomatoes, yellow tomatoes, peppers, and straight-neck squash all won first place awards at the Cheatham County Fair!
Our produce grown with organic principles produces cherry and full sized tomatoes, peppers, squash, ferns, blackberries, black raspberries, and herbs such as stevia, mint, pineapple sage, oregano, basil, lemon grass, and spearmint. We are also able to experiment with planting in straw bales, pallets, tires, and in the ground.
In addition, our garden teaches people with life challenges about the earth, nature, the growing cycle of plants, and allows many of them to take ownership of the process.
Some of our produce is used to make organic vegetable soup and tea for special events held at Colby's Army. Other produce is given to men and women who are homeless or recently housed, and also to hungry families. And as a treat, our therapy horses even enjoy a few bites of our squash.
We use no commercial pesticides or fertilizer, and fertilize with water soaked with aged horse manure. Weeds are kept down through a layer of newspapers and/or horse feed bags with mulch on top. This keeps the soil around the plants moist, and helps with hydration.
Off season we fertilize and loosen the soil by adding in the contents of our compost pile, and adding extra shredded paper and mulch.
Fern's Garden, our vegetable garden, is sponsored by Neville and Cindy Johnson.
COLBY'S ARMY ORGANIC SUN TEA
1 gallon fresh water
5 fresh, homegrown stevia leaves
5 fresh mint leaves
5 fresh spearmint leaves
5 fresh pineapple sage leaves
2 bags organic blueberry tea
Fill clear plastic gallon jug with fresh water, add herbs and tea, place in sun 3 to 4 hours, refrigerate.
This is a light, refreshing tea. For a sweeter tea, add more stevia leaves.