Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Biointensive Gardening Workshop

Have you seen our president, Tia Meer in action?

Yes, she is a great leader! Yes, she plans and runs excellent meetings. Yes, she shares her fabulous ideas about growing and about sustainability with us. Yes, she knows about a gazillion people and brings them to all of our Simple living Institute events, activities and projects. But have you seen her do what she really loves?

Tia loves to dig in the dirt! She loves it so much that people paid (okay, it was only $20) to hold a shovel and dig in her garden. Look at these people dig!

Digging, or I should say double digging is the cruxt of what she taught eager participants at Simple Living Institute's recent Biointensive Gardening Workshop. Yes, she goes by the book, How to Grow More Vegetables: Than You Ever Thought Possible on Less Land Than You Can Imagine by John Jeavons, but it is her passionate way of teaching people the "Florida" way of gardening that keeps the workshops she presents at standing (digging) room only!

"I can't grow anything in the sand and fire ants in my yard!" is the cry we hear from many people. Our hands on workshops like this Biointensive Gardening Workshop and our Organic Grower's meetings teach us exactly what has to be done so we can grow vegetables here in Florida in 2 seasons!

Tia teaches us to go by a "Florida" planting dates chart and she uses the best seeds and plants that have been grown here in the Florida sun. Email me and I will zip the planting calandar over to you.

In conjunction with the UCF Arboretum, SLI is holding a Plant Sale Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 16 and 17. You can purchase plants that were grown from seeds right here in our backyards and at the beautiful UCF Arboretum. Come out to see what UCF has going on out there! No parking hassels, we promise! See the flyer on the home page and stay tuned in for a list of plants available.

Our Organic Grower's meetings are held every 3rd Wednesday of the month, 7pm at Leu Gardens Come on out! We always have a speaker and everyone who attends either has a garden or wants to have a garden. Many have container gardens or keep a plot in a community garden. Learn along with us!

Are you on our email newsletter list? Monthly, we'll let you know about all the fun stuff we do here at Simple living Institute. Click over to the home page to the link there.

See you at the plant sale!

Shayla Dougher, volunteer coordinator

Tabling for our Local Food Project

Simple Living Institute tabled at the Global Peace Film Festival Street Festival. We attracted a lot of atention! Don't those banners look stellar? Thanks to Tom Scala. He brought out his tent and table and those are his strings lashing up our message for all to see.

Feel the windy and sunny Florida fall weather! And, right on schedule, the love bugs are here! They floated everywhere that day! How funny it was seeing people slapping at them. They just don't shoo do they? They suffuse!

Love bugs or no, the people who aproached our table asked questions about our Central Florida Sustainable Food Project "When is it coming out?" " Where can I pick it up?" "Will there be prices?" "How about organic vs conventional?"

This project is a 6 county, Brevard, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole and Volusia, inventory of every farm, especially ones that sell to the public, community garden, farmer's market, CSA, U-pick operations, food producer and restaurant and business that sell or serve locally grown food, including meats and eggs. This resource guide will be published in print and online providing consumers with free information as to where to purchase locally produced food. We hope to influence growers who currently sell shrubs and palm trees! By showing these business owners where and how much money people are spending for local products and just how high the demand is, these growers could switch and produce more locally grown food!

We are fortunate to have friends at Edible Orlando Magazine. They are helping us with the publishing and distribution of the printed guide. As many as 10,000 printed resource guides will be available to the public early in 2011.

Prices? There will a lot of information. I am not sure if pricing will be included.

Organic vs Conventional. What is important to SLI is that information about locally produced food will be accessable so that questions and concerns can be addressed. For example: I have taken my kids out to Pappy's U Pick It Strawberry Patch for years! This is such a delight that eventhough they are teens now, they don't ever let a springtime strawberry soiree be skipped. This year, I have raised my awareness so I asked Pappy (yes, he was right there!) if he sprays for pests. "I spray lightly and then I wait 24 hours before allowing anyone to pick." was his answer. Will Pappy be in our guide? Yes. Will I take my kids out there again to pick strawberries? Yes. Now I am making an informed choice. Maybe it is not the best choice, maybe it would not be your choice, but I did have a conversation with the grower. This is one of the oportunities our work on this project will afford the public!

Do you have questions? Ask us! Find out more! Come out and help us! Comment here on the blog. Friend us on Facebook. Write in on our Community Forum We want to hear from you!

See you out there!

Shayla Dougher, volunteer coordinator

Monday, September 27, 2010

Coytown Community Garden garden set-up

Simple Living Institute, Inc. is once again involved with another garden start-up in Central Florida. This proposed garden will be the Coytown Community Garden and it is located in downtown Orlando. Brendan Wood is the organizer of this endeavor and if anyone is interested in being a contributor should contact him at . For anyone who has questions and wants more information can go to the Simple Living Institute website at or email us at

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Danielle Treadwell speaks at Organic Growers Meeting on Cover Crops

Simple Living Institute, Inc was delighted to have Danielle Treadwell, PhD from the University of Florida IFAS at our meeting at Leu Gardens. Danielle was a great speaker and is very passionate about cover crops. She recommended to plant Velvet Bean, Pearl Millet, Sorghum Sudangrass, Sunn Hemp, Sunflower, and Daikon Radish. Cover crops provide ecological services to your garden by adding nitrogen to the soil, producing organic matter that can be tilled in or composted and added later, and attracting beneficial insects to your garden (including beneficial nematodes that attack root knot nematodes!). Danielle gave us seeds for cover crops and we will be bagging them and distributing them at our next Organic Growers Meeting on October 20th. Visit our website for more at