Moonlight Micro-Farm is a budding eco micro-farm in Pt. Washington, Florida. The farm resides on less than 1/6 acre and is nestled between The Woods and Bay Magnolia, just a few blocks from the Choctawhatchee Bay. Over the last year, Moonlight Micro-Farm has been a regular vendor at the Farmer’s Market at Seaside, selling gourmet sprout mixes, organic sprout seeds, and heirloom garden seeds.
In 2010, Moonlight Micro-Farm will expand operations to a local development in Pt. Washington proper, Eden’s Landing. Designed to embrace green and sustainable living, Eden’s Landing includes residential lots, light commercial, a community pool, wetlands, access to recreation, and close proximity to local schools, Hwy 98, and Seaside.
Moonlight Micro-Farm has selected a common area approximately 30’x36′ to implement an experimental garden that will be grown for personal consumption and market. The garden will have a formal design, though the innards will be far from formal. Some of the many challenges of the site include wildlife, water, and lack of surrounding diversity. Beneficial factors of the selected site are full sun, close proximity to future commercial operations, and the flexibility of the developers.
The garden will serve to be an example of how to grow an ecologically diverse garden that provides both human and environmental needs, while using readily available natural resources, a minimum of purchased inputs, and a variety of gardening techniques. Permaculture or ecological design will be the dominant form of gardening – working with nature, not against. Heirlooms, natives, and edible wild foods will be incorporated into an intricate web of planting that will provide food for humans, restoration of an ecosystem, and habitat for critters.
Fencing will be incorporated into the design as soon as funds are available. Though it will not keep out all critters, the intent is to slow down the ones we can, like dogs, wild pigs, rabbits, and coyotes. It will also add definition to the garden, which is located in the commercial zone, as well as provide support for some of the crops.
Our first day on site entailed measuring and flagging out the garden design. Much discussion was had about water, soil, the shed, the compost pile, etc. We’ve come up with a design and idea on how to proceed, though we will probably deviate from that plan as we move forward. The planning is indispensible, the plan is dispensible.
To date we have invested $125 on 3 cu. yards of mushroom compost that will serve to get the garden off to a quick start. We scored seven huge bags of deciduous leaves from our neighbor and five french doors from a renovation that could serve as cold frames. The deciduous leaves are of real value, since we live in an area that is primarily pines, live oaks, palmettos, and magnolias. Their leaves are tough, leathery, and difficult to break down making them a better mulch than a resource to quickly make soil.
We purchased the truck a few weeks back in anticipation of starting the garden – Old Rusty – a 1982 Ford F150. She’s a gem. The garden site can be seen in the background, as well as the community poolhouse. The next goal will be to build the soil and beds from gathered materials. We’ll use two methods: sheet mulching and hugelkultur or mound culture. More on this later.