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How do their gardens grow?

David Adlerstein
The Apalach Times
The Apalach Times

In these days when everyone is going stir crazy being cooped up at home, some people are stirring up the soil at their homes.

More and more people are finding that gardening is the perfect medicine for anxiety, and are busy this spring planting.

For Apalachicola’s Jim Kemper, it’s nothing new, a portion of his backyard has long been carefully tended, fertile territory for growing an impressive quantity of fruits and vegetables, which wife Sybil transforms into canned delights.

Referring to it simply as Jim's garden, this year he has planted peaches and cream corn, zipper peas, top pick purple hull peas, okra, dulcina Italian beans, Kennebec potatoes, tomatoes, bell pepper, Boston pickling cucumbers, basil, parsley and garlic.

“We have harvested some of the beans, potatoes, basil and parsley. They are really good,” said Sybil.

For Apalachicola’s Tiffany Stanley, it’s her “victory garden,” so named in honor of the gardens that sprouted throughout America during the years of World War I and II. Also known as war gardens or food gardens for defense, they were vegetable, fruit, and herb gardens that wartime governments encouraged people to plant not only to supplement their rations but also to boost morale.

Stanley tends to her tomato garden, as well as one that features collards, zucchini, yellow squash, cucumbers and more tomatoes.

“I’ve wanted to grow one for years, but haven’t had the time away from work to do it. This has been my opportunity to get lots of things done,” she said.

Apalachicola’s Holly and Creighton Brown call theirs the Turtle Pond Farm, after the three-acre pond teaming with turtles, catfish, brim and large-mouth bass.

“We have been working the farm since we bought the property three years ago,” said Holly. “The goal was to provide produce to the Apalachicola Farmers Market. Because it's just the two of us working, we choose to grow a small amount of a large variety of crops to serve our community, with about half of our farmed area following a permaculture model.

“Right now we're harvesting kale, chard, peppers, eggplant, zucchini, cucumbers, beans, sugar snap peas, broccoli, and radishes,” she said. “Soon we'll have corn, carrots, onions, lettuce, garlic, sweet potatoes, and asparagus, and in the winter, we plant cool weather crops.

“For fruit, we grow blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, grapefruits, key lime, Meyer lemons, and we just planted two apple trees and a cold hardy avocado,” Holly said. “ Finally, we grow a bunch of different herbs and lots of flowers, especially to have something for our customers in the hot summer months.”

She said since the Farmers Market closed due to the coronavirus, they get at least two customers picking up vegetables per day. “I have five orders to fill for pickup today,” Holly said.