This garden interview is with my friend PJ Worth and her dad Doulgas Worth. PJ has grown deep roots on the place where she has lived and gardened for her whole life. She and her father have about an acre of land in Micanopy, all intensively and beautifully landscaped with roses, herbs, fruit trees, and flowers. Her family has lived on the same spot for more than 45 years! In addition to the garden and edible landscape, PJ also keeps ducks, chickens and rabbits. One side of the chicken run is right against the garden, making it easy to pull weeds and toss them to the chickens.
“The main garden is roughly 30×40 ft, but we also have about an acre of fruit trees – peaches, pears, guavas, blood navel oranges, grapefruit, moringa and bananas. This year we are starting lemon, lime, pomelo and key limes.”
“My dad has been growing for more than 50 years, and I have been gardening for almost 10 years now. My father grew up gardening during the swing towards Miracle-gro and conventional gardening, but I have started to take back the garden and yard and go organic where I can.”
“We primarily grow for ourselves, but often share the harvest with neighbors, friends, and extended family.”
“We grow from both seeds and starts, and also propagate from cuttings. We get seeds from the seed exchange/seed bank at Forage Farm, and sometimes friends pass on their extra seeds. If we buy starts, we get them from the local Farmer’s market or Graham Farms.”
(PJ also has an amazing dehydrator she built herself that helps her preserve the harvest – she says, “It cost me just under $120 to build. It is thermostat controlled and only uses 750 wts of electricity to use and I only on for half the time compared to the small store bought ones run constantly at 1500 watts“).
“There is nothing like being able to walk outside and pick baskets full of fresh produce, and eating it fresh from the garden.
My dad’s favorite thing to grow is…well, everything! I personally love growing LOTS and LOTS of holy basil!
“The biggest setbacks for us have been with pest control and disease control. We are constantly having to learn new ways without spraying pesticides.
If you are just getting started, I suggest doing some research and talking to other local growers about what works and what doesn’t work around here, and prepare your soil well!”
PJ’s favorite fresh-from-the-garden recipe is:
Fried Green Tomatoes
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup corn flour
Salt and pepper
Green tomatoes, sliced into 1/8″ slices
oil/fat for frying
- Mix together the flours, and season with salt and pepper.
- Get the oil/fat heating while you dredge the tomato slices in the flour mixture.
- Fry the slices, a few at a time, and drain on paper towels. Serve hot!
Thank you, PJ!
If you are also a gardener, and would be interested in having your garden featured, let’s be in touch!