Final Harvest

Today’s harvest will probably be the last until we get early summer tomatoes ( if any). It was probably the best year yet. I wish I know what I did different this year; but I don’t. The great weather and mild winter probably had something to do with it.

Spring is also bringing us herb blooms. 

I am also liking how healthy this lime bush looks. Perhaps I won’t kill all the citrus?


Next up is to see if the blueberry bushes will bring us anything this year. We will see.
For now here is a cat picture….



Garden Update

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.

Hello December

From Photo Challenge

Hello December. So far we haven’t had a major chill. The garden seems to be doing well. Tomatoes are very slow to ripen because the winter sun doesn’t warm the tomatoes enough during the day. Just this week we are finally seeing some tomato ripen action.

From Photo Challenge

Those tomatoes will be great on all the lettuce we still have growing. I need to start more seeds of this so I can continue the crop.

From Photo Challenge

One of the figs became ripe this week.

From Photo Challenge

The blueberry bushes are beginning to bloom for some early spring blueberries.

From Photo Challenge

Finally, as you see in the picture at the top, the muscadine grape is dormant for the winter. See you in the spring!

What has been going on?

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.

From Garden

From Garden

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.

From Garden

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.

From Garden

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.

From Garden

From Garden

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!

From Garden

From Garden

From Garden

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.

Late Fall Update

It has been a while since my last update. The fall and early winter is always the busiest time of year. Gardening tasks have been a small part of my life lately and football and parties have taken over. This has been the best harvest season that I have ever had as a backyard gardener though. I still have lots of garden failures but many more successes this season. Here is an update on what has been going on.

Harvest
We have had and still have a great crop of Juliet and Cherry Tomatoes. I have not been keeping tally on our harvest but lets just say that we have been non-stop eating tomatoes and I cannot see the end in site at this time.

From Garden

From Garden

From Garden

The tomatoes are taking up most of one of my square foot gardens and a large part of the second one. In spite of this, I was able to harvest a couple of other vegetables. We got one very nice eggplant that we ended up giving to my mother in law at Thanksgiving (we haven’t got an update on how it tasted). We also harvested a couple of small green peppers. I have always struggled with green peppers. There is something nutrient wise that they are lacking and I have not done research to figure out what that is. Figuring out how to grow better green peppers may be my springtime project.

We also have collards and kale ready to harvest. Here is a picture of one of our collard plants.

From Garden

Squashes are not really growing well either this season. It seems like we have better luck when my husband randomly drops squash seeds throughout the yard than when I actually attempt to plant them in a garden. To their defense, I have not been hand pollinating them. I guess sometimes you cannot rely on nature to do it. We do have one acorn squash that looks promising, but that is one my husband randomly planted.

From Garden

Baby it’s cold outside
Last winter we had unseasonable cold temperatures and it looks like this winter may be following suit. We have already had at least one night of freezing temperatures and there are more to come next week. Typically we don’t see freezing temperatures in central Florida until at least January or February. I have and plan to continue to cover my square foot gardens for as long as I can but I don’t know how much longer I can keep this up. Some of the vegetables won’t mind the cold temperatures but the tomatoes will definitely die off if I don’t protect them.

From Garden

Future Plans
I am getting ready to start seeds again for some cold weather crops. I might be too late for some of them but I am going to try anyway. With my Juliet and Cherry Tomato success, I might try to grow some Roma tomatoes as well…..we’ll see……

Impulsive Plant Buyer

I am an impulsive plant buyer. I buy plants before I have any idea what I am going to do with them. This muscadine grape was purchased at a big box store after pigging out on local grapes and I discovered that we can grow grapes here. I purchased this plant before I did any research on proper growing methods. It is now living on our porch. Below is a papaya and melon that we “won” at the last organic growers meeting. They too have been sitting on the porch. And finally, today I walked out of another big box store with a petite fig plant that was on sale. This was of course after I watched a gardening show that featured figs. They will live on the porch for at least another week or so but then I will be forced to do something with them. I would like to get them established somewhere before the cool weather sets in.


I have pulled up most of the old square ft garden. Two onions, about 3 carrots, and this homely looking tomato plant is all that is left of the group that started it all. I am keeping the tomato plant because there are two tomatoes just like this one hanging on. I keep hoping that they will ripen and I can say that I got a total of 5 tomatoes before the hornworms ate all of my summer crop. The garden is being simultaneously prepared for fall crops.
This burlap cloth is covering some beans that should start growing any day. In fact, at the time of this blog’s publishing, about 4 have emerged.
Good news is that the second square foot garden seems to be doing great. I had a slight hornworm scare last week but I have since sprayed the tomatoes and plan to continue to spray at regular intervals.


Inventory of the new garden:
2 Winter Squashes
1 Zucchini
4 Corn
? Onion/Chives (sort of just threw a bunch of seeds down)
1 Okinawa spinach (another “win”)
4 green peppers
2 eggplants
4 tomatoes

Garden Failure
I have been wanting to purchase huge barrel like planters for a while for things like peanuts and sweet potatoes. I finally broke down and purchased resin barrels from a big box store about a week or so ago. I took out the plug but ignored the instructions to put rocks at the bottom. I transplanted a very moist sweet potato plant and killed at least two baby potatoes in the process. After one big storm, the result is what looks like a big barrel of crapola. If I am lucky, this thing will dry out and the plant may be salvaged. Barrel number two will have rocks at the bottom to help with drainage.