The Garden at Eden Organic Farm: Growing Again After Adversity
Dec 30, 2011 12:00PM
● By Lee Walker
As every backyard gardener and farmer eventually learns, the same gardening ventures that can yield many rewards may also present an equal number of challenges, due to damage caused by garden pests or too much rain. At the beginning of Southwest Florida’s 2011-2012 gardening season, John Puig, master gardener and garden manager at Eden Organic Farm, is meeting the challenge of helping the garden recover from significant losses caused by flooding from a tropical wave that inundated Southwest Florida with rain in late October 2011.
“Our community garden is growing and we’re moving forward, despite a two-month loss of work, sales and seed money,” says Puig, who notes that because the garden operation is completely funded by sales, all farm tours and community outreach programs have been temporarily discontinued.
“The farm has recovered enough from the flooding to allow us to sell our fresh, organic produce at the North Naples Green Market, located at the intersection of Airport and Vanderbilt Beach roads, in Naples, on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.,” advises Puig.
Unfortunately, in order to keep the farm going and meet its financial demands, Puig has had to freelance his gardening services. “I’m trying to save the farm by working part-time there and doing ‘for-hire’ work that covers everything from fruit tree pruning to full organic gardening and yard management, or instruction,” notes Puig, who no longer keeps regular hours at Eden. “Our community garden plots, which are presently rented, are running on autopilot until May. Although gardeners who are already tending their plots are responsible for sustaining them, I am there to help them when they need it,” he explains.
Puig notes that in addition to fresh produce, Eden’s North Naples Green Market stand will sell worm castings, worm colonies, worm compost bins, Bokashi, starter plants and assorted fruit trees.