grow our own food program

grow dudas, LLC is joining the urban agriculture movement to expand access to fresh and nutritious fruits, vegetables and herbs in Atlanta, Georgia. Our mission is to 'cultivate a sustainable future in urban agriculture'. Our goal is to decrease the food insecurity rate in Carver Hills where the current rate is 17.3% compared to Fulton County’s rate of 13.5%.

 

Our Own is a charitable 501(c)(3) non-profit organization committed to ending hunger in Los Angeles, California through their Seed & Soil initiative. Since their inception in 2018, they have provided over 220,000 meals to those who lack adequate nutrition throughout Los Angeles. Understanding the lack of equity, Our Own is strategically focused on creating access to nutrition education, food, and ideating toward advancements in AgriTech solutions that build sustainable communities.

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This program is designed to teach residents of all ages how to grow their own food (vegetables, fruits and/or herbs). This program empowers residents to select the best grow method for their space, knowledge, and budget. With the right guidance, a garden can easily fit the demands of busy schedules.

Benefits

  • Connects people of all ages to local food and provides a relaxing way to reconnect with nature and gain a better understanding of where your food comes from

  • Builds community through growing, eating and cooking food

  • Provides a community hub to exchange crops, seeds and tools needed to maintain gardens

  • Improves health outcomes by increasing access to fresh, locally grown food while reducing the local food insecurity rates in Atlanta and Los Angeles

Details

Getting Started

One of the first decisions you will have to make is where to locate your garden. In order to give your plants the best conditions to thrive,  consider the following factors before making any final location decisions:

1. Sun:

  • Most plants need at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight a day

    • Insufficient lighting can lead to stunted plants, slow or no growth, disease and pests/insects.

    • Be on the lookout for anything that can cast shadows on your plants such as trees or buildings.

2. Drainage:

  • Your garden should be in an area with good natural drainage.

    • Insufficient drainage can limit access to your garden.

    • Be on the lookout for low-lying or swampy areas that are prone to flooding.

3. Air Circulation:

  • Good air circulation is essential to a healthy garden.

    • Insufficient air circulation can cause mold, mildew and pests.

    • Be on the lookout for circulation mimicking a gentle breeze.

4. Water:

  • Your garden should be near a water source.

    • Raised-beds and soil in containers warm and dry out faster than soil at ground level.

    • Be on the lookout for a spigot and a garden hose; Multiple trips with a watering can may not be practical

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Burpee Organics: Muncher Cucumber

Cucumbers can be grown for fresh eating, pickling and range in flavor, colors, shapes and sizes. Muncher is a favorite low acid slicer that is very prolific and tender. This variety produces a smooth nearly spineless, medium green cucumber that is crisp and delicious. Cucumbers do not tolerate cold so sow after any possibility of frost has passed. Make sure both soil and air temperatures have warmed prior to planting.

 

Grow Guide:

  • Before Planting: Requires warm, well-drained soil in high fertility, with a pH of 7.0 for best results.

  • Planting: Cucumber seeds will not germinate at a soil temperature below 50°F. Sow 2-3 seeds/ft., 1/2" deep, in rows 6' apart. Thin to 12" apart. For direct seeding, wait until soil is warm, at least 70°F.

  • Transplanting: Sow 2-3 seeds per cell indoors 3-4 weeks before transplanting. Thin to 1 seedling per cell when true leaves form. Keep temperature above 70°F during the day and 60°F at night. Transplant 12″ apart in rows 5-6′ apart. Do not disturb roots when transplanting. Peat pots work best to reduce stunting and transplant shock.

  • Watering: Water 1 inch per week. Water consistently, because inconsistent watering can create misshapen cucumbers.

  • Fertilizer: Apply 1 week after the plant starts blooming and every 3 weeks thereafter, directly to the soil around the plants. When planting, mix compost with a little bit of organic fertilizer. During growth, use 5-10-10 liquid fertilizer and apply directly to the soil near the stem. Granular fertilizer also can be used, but work it into the soil around the plant. Feed with fertilizer regularly.

  • Days to Maturity: Once fruit bears, pick cucumbers often. They can double in size quickly. (See each variety for days to maturity)

  • Harvesting: Once fruit bearing begins, pick daily to ensure steady harvest

Pests:

  • Cover young plants with row covers or berry baskets if pests appear. Examples: Aphids, Cucumber beetles, squash bugs, whiteflies

  • Diseases: Anthracnose, blossom-end rot, Cucumber mosalc virus, downy mildew, powdery mildew

  • Tips: To maximize the amount of cucumbers and decrease leaves, use a trellis or tomato cage to grow the cucumbers. Mulch around plants to retain soil moisture.

Sun: Full

Zones: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

Row Spacing: 6'

Plant Spacing: 12"

Sow Depth: 1/2"

Days to Maturity: 58-65

Burpee Organics: Sweetie Tomatoes

Bite-sized tomatoes, deliciously sweet, perfect for salads. Vigorous plants produce a bounty of sweet fruits throughout summer. For cleaner, more perfect fruits, support plants as they grow.

 

Grow Guide:

  • Sow tomato seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before average last frost date

  • Transplant outdoors 4 weeks after the average last frost date

  • Tomatoes generally ripen 6–8 weeks after fruit set.

  • Tomatoes will continue to mature even after they have been harvested.

  • Harvest fully ripe fruits when they have full color but are still firm.

  • Many varieties pull off easily when ripe, while some heirlooms need to be cut from the vine.

  • To harvest for later use or to sell at market, pick when fruits have 50–75% color and are still firm, they will ripen in a few days.

  • For best flavor, keep tomatoes on the kitchen counter, not in the refrigerator.

Pests:

  • Tomatoes are susceptible to Early Blight (Alternaria), Late Blight (Phytophthora), Septoria Leaf Spot, Bacterial Spot, Speck and Canker, and soilborne fungal diseases such as Verticillium and Fusarium Wilt.

  • When possible, choose disease resistant varieties, use a minimum three year rotation cycle, use drip irrigation to minimize wet foliage, mulch to prevent soil from splashing on to leaves during rain storms, stake vines, orient rows to increase air circulation and compost or turn under all crop debris at the end of each season.

  • Tomato hornworms can be hand-picked or controlled with Bacillus thuringiensis sprays (Dipel).

  • Plant flowers and insectary plants around the borders or within your garden to attract beneficial insects to control harmful pests naturally.

Sun: Full

Zones: All (1-11)

Row Spacing: 3-4'

Plant Spacing: 12"

Sow Depth: 1/4"

Days to Maturity: 65 - 70

 

Planting Calendar

The Planting Guide was developed by Georgia Organics and is a reliable reference for backyard gardeners and farmers alike to know when to plant seeds and transplant in the ground or greenhouse.

harvest calendar

The Harvesting Guide was developed by Georgia Organics and reflects the diverse array of sustainable produce available from local farms during peak season and season extension periods.

I'm so thankful for our 1st cohort of Future Farmers for participating in the GROW OUR OWN FOOD PROGRAM event!

~ Diana Dudas