Exciting news! Thanks to the Kroger Foundation, we have been able to place more than 100 potted vegetable plants with homeless men and women in the Nashville area, and teach them about organic gardening and nutrition. We grew the plants from seeds, and delivered them when they began to bloom. A number of our homeless friends, many of whom are older and have been homeless for many years, are turning into real gardeners!
In 2018, our cherry tomatoes, yellow tomatoes, red peppers, and straight-neck squash all won first place at the Cheatham County Fair!
In 2018 our organically-grown produce from Fern's Garden also produced eggplant, cherry and full sized tomatoes, peppers, squash, ferns, blackberries, black raspberries, and herbs such as stevia, mint, pineapple sage, and spearmint. We were also able to experiment with planting in straw bales, pallets, tires, and in the ground.
In addition, our garden taught people with life challenges about the earth, nature, the growing cycle of plants, and allowed many of them to take ownership of the process.
Some of our produce was used to make organic vegetable soup and tea for special events held at Colby's Army. Other produce was given to men and women who are homeless or recently housed, and also to hungry families. And as a treat, our therapy horses even enjoyed a few bites of our squash.
We used no commercial pesticides or fertilizer, and fertilized with water soaked with aged horse manure. Weeds were kept down through a layer of newspapers with mulch on top. This kept the soil around the plants moist, and helped with hydration.
Off season we fertilized and loosened the soil by tilling in the contents of our compost pile, and adding extra shredded paper and mulch.
Fern's Garden is sponsored by Neville and Cindy Johnson.
COLBY'S ARMY ORGANIC SUN TEA
1 gallon fresh water
5 fresh 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.