Horticulture Program: It’s a Wrap, Folks … Except it Isn’t

October 31st, 2017

By Ross Sheasley

After a busy summer growing season that kept the consumers in the The Arc Mercer’s Horticulture Community very busy, it would seem like we are ready to wrap things up as the cooler Autumn weather arrives. But we Horticulture folks are far from ready to call it quits! We have plenty of work still to come as we work in and around the greenhouse and main office and are still helping out Farmer Jeff and his crew at Fernbrook Farm.

We have been as busy as ever when we go to Fernbrook Farm. We spent the summer helping harvest crops like beans, tomatoes, blackberries and raspberries. We were even picking tomatoes and raspberries through the middle of October, and oh boy, were they tasty! As the season passed, we started to help the farmers with pulling out the bean plants that were done and fed the spent plants to the farm’s pigs. Soon after, we were helping take down the tomato trellises as the tomato plants were coming to the end of their growing season.

In addition to working with the Fernbrook Farm crew, we’ve been busy all summer at the greenhouse we are using at the Katzenbach School for the Deaf. We had a very successful season growing and selling summer annuals, but with the hot summer weather we had this year, all the plants we are growing there needed almost daily watering. As we finished up with the summer plant sale, we were able to take the leftover flowers to do some beautification plantings around the main office and front sign, where we were always challenged by keeping the weeds from taking over.

During the season, we also took the lessons we were learning at Fernbrook and practiced at our own little farm plot at the Ewing Community Garden. With some donations from our neighbor Dorothy, we grew tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and corn plants and actually harvested some of the vegetables which we gave to the Touch of Taste Café. Now that the season is coming to an end, we are starting to clean up our plot and getting ready to finally see if we have any sweet potatoes to harvest.

There is a lot more learning to come this Autumn. As long as the weather cooperates, at Fernbrook Farm, we still have several weeks of work ahead of us when we will be harvesting crops like the last of the peppers and potatoes and cleaning up around the farm. At the greenhouse we are still busy preparing the greenhouse for the cold weather to come, maintaining all the indoor plants we have there. Around the greenhouse, we are preparing for the onslaught of leaves to come when we will be raking a lot of leaves and learning how to turn them into compost.

Through the winter, we will also continue to care for our office plants at the various locations around the County, such as HomeFront and the McDade Administration Building. Finally, we’ll be getting ready for next year by ordering our summer annuals in a few weeks, so Spring is actually right around the corner for us … keep an eye peeled.

Want to learn more about how our Day Habilitation Program can help you get involved in community activities? Call The Arc Mercer Family Support Department at 609-406-0181, ext. 112, or email familysupports@arcmercer.org