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Posts Tagged ‘garden’

We’ve been harvesting an amazing amount of kale and lettuce in the garden this fall/winter. I have a hard time calling it winter because it’s 72 degrees out – and it’s December 11.

Take a look:

Kale, southern peas, bloom from the eggplant, cukes and dinosaur kale

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I wasn’t sure what to do with the southern peas. The pods are really fibrous, so I let them dry in the vine and took the peas out when they were hard. They’ll make an appearance in one of our meals one day!

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A lot has changed in the garden since Day 5, my last update on our expanded growing area. All of the seeds we planted in containers have been moved into the ground. We needed to wait until about September 15 when the weather started to cool enough here in Florida so the soil wasn’t too warm. Unfortunately we lost a few we planted because the sun literally baked them once transplanted. And the black weed barrier we have down around the plants didn’t help, I’m sure.

I took a few shots this afternoon, including one of our friendly neighborhood hawk. I’ve affectionately dubbed him “mascot”, number two only to our pup Morgen.

This was the only shot I could get as he and his 2′ wing span flew away before I could get my larger lens.

Ok, back to the garden. This year, my husband expanded our garden by double, so now we have a total of 760 square feet of growing space.  Here’s our original little piece of land, the left side of the garden that has Southern Peas, tomatoes, green and yellow beans, giant Caesar lettuce and sweet peppers.

Here is some of the giant caesar, which looks really hearty so I’m excited to see how this does.

 

 

 

Green and yellow beans already needed stakes after being in the ground for only a week. The flowers are already starting to bloom on these! We usually have really good luck with these beans and hopefully this year will be no different.

 

Below is the new section Ryan cleared out over a period of weeks. The grass that used to live here had mostly gone to weed, so he had to pull all of that out and mix in the good compost. A LOT of sweat on 95 degree days – backbreaking labor! Now that the plants are in we need to put some mulch down to keep the moisture in and keep the weed barrier from baking any more of the plants.

 

Sweet peppers are looking really good too. We have about 12 of these plants.

 

 

And my favorite plant this season – the cucumber. It’s normally a very difficult vegetable to grow for us, but I think we have the problem sorted out. Instead of growing these on the ground, we’ve decided to stake them. They seem super happy already, with blooms appearing and the little tendrils curling around the bamboo stakes. Hopefully this solves the problem!

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The growth in the past day was magnified by how the seedlings are leaning toward the morning sun. I never thought plants could look ‘cute’, but I think these do! Something that was not so cute, but glad to see, was a lizard having a late afternoon snack. See if you can make out the lizard on the bamboo downing the roach. Yummy!!

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In Florida, we’re lucky to have two planting seasons – Fall and Spring. Now that it’s August, we’re in the midst of some of the hottest weather all year and it’s time to start thinking about what we’ll plan for our Fall vegetable garden. Hard to think about going outside and preparing the soil!

I wasn’t able to post how bountiful our spring/summer harvest of tomatoes were – partially because we were so busy picking everything! My husband planted 17 tomato plants – 8 Roma, 8 Better Boy and 1 “100s” (grape). We easily harvested about 800 tomatoes, and were to the point that we couldn’t give them away fast enough! Once the really intense heat hit, the tomatoes just dried out right on the vine so we pulled everything out about 3 weeks ago. We had so many, I wanted to try canning them, but that seemed so work-intensive. So we gave them away – even leaving bowls full at the front desk of our YMCA.

Below is an example of what we were able to harvest almost every day – it was amazing!!

Now I’m excited to think about all of the Autumn-season vegetables we’ll plant. Here’s a list of what I ordered from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange:

  • Whippoorwill Southern peas
  • Eggplant
  • Collards
  • Dinosaur Kale
  • Cabbage
  • Beets
  • Broccoli
In a few weeks, we’ll take our regular visit to South Seminole Farm and Nursery or the local hydroponic store where we’ll stock up on some compost and:
  • Sweet potato
  • Green beans
  • Carrots
  • Onions
  • Bok choy
  • Strawberries
  • Lettuce

Where are you at in your gardening season? Just winding down, or planning what’s next?

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I have to be honest, I’ve been leery of online ‘shows’ – except for those that are shown on Hulu or my ABC network app on my iPad…those are ‘real’ shows in my mind. Did I mention I majored in TV production in the 90’s? Yes, the time before online streaming was an every day thing. Now, my kids are watching NetFlix in the back seat as we drive to the grocery store. Who could have ever imagined technology could come this far?

If you have a vegetable garden and are interested in learning how you can keep it pest-free naturally – or as chemical-free as possible – this is the show for you, especially since in reality, only about 3% of the insect population actually does any kind of harm to our plants.

Check out Episode 124 – Natural Pest Control. Because of this show, we were able to purchase the right products to help keep our veggies safe for consumption (by humans, not for pests!).

What is your favorite online show – gardening or otherwise?

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It’s been a couple weeks since my last garden update, and wow…what a difference that time can make! We’ve had many many hot sunny days – dusty and dry. But the plants have loved it! Last night, we had a nice drenching downpour and when I checked out the garden this morning, I was amazed to see what the rain had done for our small plot.

As I looked around today, I noticed a peculiar pattern on the edges of some of the bean plant leaves. It looks as though a critter has been munching on them! Can you identify what this could be? And when I say critter, I’m thinking opossum, raccoon…that kind of critter! Can you imagine!! Ewww!

Almost every tomato plant has blooms on it now, which means that in a few weeks, we’ll hopefully have a delicious bunch of tomatoes to add to our meals!

Affectionately called “Big Green”, our first cuke is thriving. Is that bad when you start naming your vegetables before you pick them? I would be in a world of trouble if I actually had a farm with livestock!

My girls put mulch around our lettuce last weekend and somehow that has made them double in size!

And last but certainly not least, we were able to pick our first bunch of green beans that we cooked and ate with dinner!

(photo disclaimer: shadows and poor lighting need to be worked on in my shots…just so excited about the garden!)

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The garden is having a nice, steady amount of growth over the past couple weeks. It’s amazing to see how strong and hearty the tomatoes look as they already have about 6 or so baby tomatoes making an appearance.

Along with the tomatoes, one of the most exciting developments is how strong the bean plants look too. Last spring when we grew beans, the were the best producers of that crop – but this fall…I think they are going to set a new precedent! The bean plants are getting so big and ready to sprout that we’ve had to stake almost all of them.

Luckily, our lovely friends were cutting back their bamboo and offered us a huge bundle of it. So my DH has been busy cutting it up and using the bamboo as a decorative staking system. Talk about style in the garden! And we have so much bamboo left that he’s going to make a beautiful fence around the entire garden.

Even though there is so much good…we’ve pretty much given up on our acorn squash. I can’t figure out what has happened to it, but it’s withering and being munched into nothingness. Can’t have it all, I guess!

I’ve found that the more beautiful we make the garden, the more likely it is we’ll be out there enjoying and tending to it. Do you find that’s the case as well? What are some ways you’ve made your garden a destination, not just a place where things grow?

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