Greetings Farm Friends! The team at Sweewater hopes that everyone has been enjoying the humid Florida summer as much as we are! During our off-season in the Summertime our scaled-back farm team works on maintenance projects so that we are ready for the next season. We take full advantage of this “quieter” time at the farm to prepare for the busy season ahead.
One of our first priorities at the beginning of the summer is to sow our cover crops for the summer, this year Sesbiana and Sunn Hemp, in the fields. Both these plants act as nitrogen fixers to replenish the soil after giving us so much during the season. While they are in the ground we will mow them two to four times before they are tilled into the earth. We mow them for two reasons: first of all so they do not go to seed in the fields and we end up pulling them up as weeds for the rest of the year and, secondly, so we can use the greens that are mowed down as a “green manure” in the soil.
Our first big project this summer was to revamp our beloved greenhouse. The team spent many sweaty days pulling up the old black drop cloth in the greenhouse and replacing it with a new one and power washing everything to its soaking core. We felt it was important to do this to kill any bacteria that may have naturally accumulated in the dank space. In addition we expanded our hardening shed and will be adding an automatic watering system to that area along with the little greenhouse.
Second on our To Do list was to turn “Rick’s house” into our new “Farm House” – a multi-purpose facility that will be the seasonal home to 4 Sweetwater Farm Apprentices. This space, which includes a wonderful screen-enclosed deck, will also be the new home for our yoga program and some of our workshops! In July and August we worked to divide the upstairs loft into 4 private bedrooms with a library. Downstairs we pulled together an Executive Office for our new Executive Director, Cathy. (See related article below…) WE STILL NEED ITEMS FOR THE FARM HOUSE! CHECK OUT OUR WISH LIST.
Our third major project this summer has been to design and build our new barn at Sweetwater Farm located at The Children’s Home site. The project continues to make progress thanks to our amazing donors, Walter Crumbly for the incredible roof structure, Scott Wetmore for a significant donation to the cause and others who donated at the 20th Anniversary Fundraiser at the Samba Room (now the “Copper Fish”.) Special thanks to the Samba ownership and team that helped us make it all happen!