Sunday, March 8, 2009

3.7.09 Bananas

Today we planted six different kinds of banana trees from Going Bananas nursery in Homestead. Banana trees take about a year to begin bearing delicious fruit. They make an excellent visual barrier, and their lush green, tropical foliage provides a soothing backdrop. These small trees will fill in rapidly throughout the rainy season, and begin to send up new shoots, forming family-like clusters of trees, called stands. The daughters or pups can be separated from the mother tree and replanted elsewhere.

Next week: sugar cane and malanga.

Don of Going Bananas helps us choose some young trees.



Bananas along a fence line provide a sense of enclosure with their lush, tropical foliage.

Future site of Banana City.

Courtyard/butterfly garden gravel replacement.

The area between the classroom portables at TROY is a sort of courtyard, where students congregate at lunch time, or before and after school. The aim of the butterfly garden, aside from attracting bees and butterflies, is to beautify this meeting space, making it a comfortable place to enjoy some fresh air. Today we removed the gravel from one section of the courtyard, and replaced it with natural mulch, provided by the Miami-Dade County Parks Department. Mulch will enhance the aesthetic of the area while improving the soil quality and reducing the dustiness.

Hauling away the dusty gravel...

...and replacing it with mulch.

Hard work.

Finishing up.

Garden Update.

Our first garden bed is growing in really nicely.
Rosemary, tomatoes, peppers, basil, cilantro, marigolds.

Collard green corner. Looking good.

The radish, lettuce, carrot, collard, onion and sunflower seeds
we planted last Saturday are sprouting nicely in the shade house.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

2.28.09 and Homestead Plant Run.

Today we were lucky to have the Rotary Club, and some of their guests from the Philippines come and help us out on a butterfly garden project. The plants (sponsored by the Rotary Club) came from Kelly's Tropicals in Homestead, and the soil came from Virginia Key on Wednesday. Also with us was photographer Jim Winters, who volunteered to snap some photos for us, seen below.

Thanks again to everyone involved. The Gardens of Troy are coming to life.

Pat Kelly of Kelly's Tropicals hooked us up with a great
deal on a variety of native butterfly attracting plants.

Loading us up. Pat is the man.

Yellow is in. Picking up compost at Virginia Key
in preparation for Saturday's butterfly garden planting.
Thanks to Doug for use of the stylin truck. Thanks to the
City of Miami compost facility workers for filling us up
with a smile.

Vilner sifts mulch to make compost soil for the new plants.

The butterfly garden begins.

Benjamin spreading mulch.
photo by Jim Winters

Luis and native coastal sunflower transplants.
photo by Jim Winters

The blue team. photo by Jim Winters

Carlos is one of our best students. He makes
sure the plants get water during the week.
Here he hauls a load of border bricks for a new bed.

Filipino friends.

Installing a border.

Ed of the Rotary Club mulches native coffee plants.

Colleen helps plant some native flowering shrubs.

Juan puts finishing touches on a new planter. photo by Jim Winters

Teamwork. photo by Jim Winters

Wrapping things up in the shade house.

photo by Jim Winters


Today we learned how to set pineapple tops in pots, and dug a new garden bed. The pineapple tops were graciously donated by Organic Steve in the produce department at Whole Foods in Coral Gables. Though it will be over a year before our new plants bear fruit, they will set roots long before that, and begin to thrive. Potted pineapple plants are a potential revenue earner for our program, making great sale items at markets and festivals.

Smells delicious!

Demonstrating proper pineapple potting technique.

Shayna, gardening class student.

Only 18-36 months until fruit!

Clearing the dusty grass to build a new garden bed.

Hauling soil for the new bed.

Tilling the soil, getting ready to plant.

Leo plants tomato seedlings in the new bed.