Because we have yet to have a freeze, the garden is flourishing. Around the time I am supposed to be starting seeds for Spring crops, I am getting ready to get a winter tomato bounty.
We are expecting cold temps in the next week or so but so far no threat of frost. Crossing fingers!!!!
Another area in the garden flourishing is the mint area. The mint was planted in a wooden container a couple years ago and has since been neglected. Although mint is best contained (since it can take over a garden with its minty-ness) you can see from the photo below that the container fell apart and the mint is free to spread. It looks so pretty and I love the taste of mint so I don’t want to mess with it – for now.
The key lime is not as fortunate. We will most likely lose this one in the year. Luckily it gave us one last crop of limes before its demise. The citrus greening is too much work for me to try to fight. After the key lime we will still have the Persian Lime and Grapefruit trees. I fear that these won’t last past a couple of years unless some easy treatment exists for the greening.
We have figs…
And muscadine grapes ….
Getting the garden in shape
Today was the first day of the awesomeness that is called fall. Finally we got a break from the heat and I took this opportunity to get some gardening done.
First I cleared all the dead plants out of one of the square foot gardens to make room for young healthy plants. I kept one tomato plant and some borage (for companion planting).
Next I added some peat moss and compost to the soil that already existed in the bed. I additionally threw in some Perlite I had sitting in the garage. Perlite helps aerate the soil.
I planted half a dozen random tomato plants, a squash, and a watermelon (totally out of season – this is an experiment). In between the tomatoes, I planted random small plants in a survival of the fittest fashion. It will be interesting to see what survives the next few weeks. Eggplants, basil, and corn are in this group. Finally I staked the tomatoes to prepare for the growth.
Here is what is leftover from my summer seedlings and purchases. I have them in what I now call the infirmary. They are sickly and need constant care. What survives out of this group will fill later holes in the garden and share the cool weather garden with the leafy greens.
I know it has been a long time. Truth is, there hasn’t been too much to blog about garden wise. We have had lots of weekend trips, crazy work weekends, and miscellaneous events to keep us busy. Bottom line is the yard has been neglected and it is showing. Luckily we have so many bad yards around us due to foreclosures that the HOA doesn’t have time to bother us. This post will be long. I have 3.5 months to catch up on.
In the front yard, Carlos dug up the dead grass and replaced with nice new sod. Our butterfly garden, which was devastated by the freezes we had this year, has come back to life. All it needs is a little cleanup and 2-3 plant replacements and the front should be all good to go.
The freezes this winter also demolished the tomato crop. The garden was a big ole mess for a while. Tomatoes were dropping all over the place for months. Mostly because I was too lazy to pull them out.
Eventually I got around to pulling them all out to make room for spring veggies, all except one that I cut back. The last survivor is now producing new tomatoes this spring. I planted some roma tomato seeds which are growing very slowly. I got impatient and purchased 6 better boy tomato plants from a local nursery. I have bumped them up in bigger pots to prepare them for planting in one of the square foot gardens.
The Muscadine grape that I planted last fall must have went into hibernation over the winter. I thought it was dead but now it is back in full force. It will be lovely when it grows around the trellis.
I missed my rosemary and lavender garden from our old house. Recently I purchased both rosemary and lavender plants to make a new one. The plants surround the back and side of the trellis. I mulched them with pine needles purchased at Palmers Garden and Goods. All I need is the stone bench that we can’t seem to find. I can’t wait to sit on the bench and breathe in the fragrant plants on a breezy and shady afternoon. The plants were purchased at South Seminole Farm & Nursery.
I love how huge the Borage plants have gotten in the yard. They have beautiful purple-ish blue flowers and the bees love them. Unfortunately they are taking up prime square foot garden real estate and will have to be removed. It was nice while it lasted.
Two seasons ago I planted some carrot seeds. They grew nice long healthy greens so I decided to pull one up two months later. All that I got was an inch long carrot. Frustrated, I left them there and ignored them until recently when I wanted to make room for spring crops. What I got was monstrous genetic mutant carrots. They didn’t taste bad.
In addition to all the updates above, we have yet to get more than one eggplant from the two eggplant plants that are still alive in the garden but I have hope for the future. Collards and Kale are doing great. We just have to be less lazy and include them more as part of a balanced meal. Some green peppers are growing. I have never had much luck with them, maybe this is my year. Finally, the blueberries are blooming. Hopefully all my acid applications will pay off in some sweet treats!
Lastly, we have some irrigation drama. We found out that in a week that we will be switched to reclaimed water for our irrigation (I thought we were already on reclaimed water). Normally this is good news because it saves precious water but in the documentation it states that it is not safe for growing food that has no removable skin (80% of what I grow). I had to turn off all sprinklers that touch my food and have been manually watering. I only hope I can keep up with the summer heat.
I just ordered our second square foot garden box for an early start for fall crops. In celebration of that, I am posting the current photo of garden number one.
Upper Left Corner – 2 tomato plants
Upper Center Right – 1 big unidentified squash (suspect it is spaghetti or butternut)
Bottom left – Yellow squash
Center – Carrots, Onions, Beans, and a hidden tomato
Side Right – Okra
Bottom Right Corner – Extremely small pepper
Bottom Right Center – Extremely small eggplant
On a unrelated note, I am still mourning the loss of this lovely borage plant. A few years ago, I did some reading on gardening and ordered borage seeds. I never really used them. When we moved into our new home, I couldn’t remember why I had them but decided to start one from seed anyway. It produced this lovely purple flowering plant. I did some more reading a few weeks ago and realized why I ordered them. They are a great companion plant for tomatoes and squashes. They help keep bad bugs out of the garden. Upon realizing this, I tried transplanting it next to the tomato. They don’t like to be transplanted. It died 😦 I have recently planted new seeds around the tomatoes and hoping these lovely flowers soon return.