Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Maple Hill Hop 8


Maple Hill Hop
It's Tuesday and time for the 
Maple Hill Hop,
where we share what's happening outside our doors.


We were recently gifted with a tour of a unique garden.
Roosevelt Academy is an alternative school for kids with learning disabilities
in nearby Lake Wales.
Among other venues, this school is the site for
a large horticultural program,
overseen by Ray Cruze.
Mr. Cruze gave us a tour of the facility
and shared his wealth of knowledge of hydroponic farming.




 It's quite a setup.
Row upon row of these styrofoam vessels greet visitors.




Some areas are covered, while others are open.

 

We were so impressed with the sheer amount of food that could be grown here.






We visited during a slower part of the year,
and many plants were finished for the season.



 Here you can see how the drip irrigation system works.
Water usage is efficiently maintained.



The crops were loaded with fruit and flowers.


We had tomato plants soaring over our heads.



The freshly picked produce is sold nearby at a thrift store
and at special events.
This allows folks to afford pesticide-free veggies
at a reasonable price.
The profits go right back into the program. 
(The school also houses a culinary program
which uses the produce grown on campus.)



The cherry tomatoes we sampled were fantastic!


Coir is one of the main ingredients used in their successful growing.


These are pepper plants growing right in the bags.


This is one of the tricks they use to keep the crops pesticide-free.
Contained in these bags are swirski mites,
which help to control thrips. 


Coir is also used as a planting medium in pots.



A wonderful array of herbs are displayed
and were a feast for the senses!


Future plans include adding aquaponics to the progam.



What an inspirational operation.
This school offers many opportunities
for kids who need the most guidance.
They are even active in job placement,
allowing these students to feel a sense of belonging.
This is so much more than a farm, folks.


 
Let's HOP!