February Garden 2015

Night Winter Sky from my backyard

It has been a while since the last garden update. Garden has been neglected a bit but seems to be doing well on its own.

The one citrus plant that was healthy but has yet to bloom is blooming in full force. I did some estimation and we might have 55 limes when it is done this season. Unfortunately it is falling to the same disease as all the others. I have applied some proactive fertilizer (see the brown water on the leaves). The hope is that I can keep it healthy enough for it to fight the sickness off itself. I haven’t found a product that will treat whatever this is that is slowing killing my citrus plants.

Sickly key lime plant is still blooming

Grape vine is still dormant

We have big beautiful collards
The tomato seeds that I planted are doing well through the winter.

We are happy to have our fresh dill back.

Hopefully we won’t lose our blueberries again this year. Have not had luck with them the past two years.

My husband has chopped up our christmas tree. It is supposed to be used for mulch but I might end up composting/throwing it out because it is in the way.

My late fall project is growing in nicely. I replaced one of the gardens with sod and a lavender sensory garden. The grass is green as can be but the lavender is slow to grow.

The lavender is quite beautiful up close though.

Next up some tomatoes, citrus and hopefully blueberry crops in the spring.

Early July Garden

It’s the 4th of July and the garden is doing fine.

We finally have a watermelon growing. The bees are no where to be seen so I have been hand pollinating these as I can.

We also have a great crop of plum tomatoes. I noticed some signs of caterpillar damage (but saw no caterpillars yet). I want to spray them but the rain is every day lately. Hopefully I can spray BT sometime soon.

In the distance you might be able to make out the corn plant that is hanging on. No corn yet but I am hoping for something.

I am doing a much better job at training the muscadine grape vine this year. Last year the weight of the vine made the trellis slant forward. The extra support I added this winter is holding up.

For the first time we will have grapefruit this year. I counted at least five that are growing. The leaves are still falling off though. I found a spray that may help with this but I am having a hard time applying it because of the constant rain.

Key limes are back again too. They have the same issue as the grapefruit tree.

I butchered the heck out of the viburnum in the backyard. I was trying to locate a lost sprinkler head and finally found it behind the middle bush. I will be replacing that sprinkler head with drip irrigation to provide better water to one of the square foot gardens. I would like to train the bush on the right to grow as a small shade tree to open that area for some shade plant opportunities…..we will see what happens.

Flowers doing well in one of the whisky barrels.

And finally the aloe plant is reproducing again this year. I might transplant some of the babies. We don’t take advantage of this plant as much as we should.

Hopefully I will have an update at the end of the month to see what makes it.

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.

Pictures of Square Foot Garden 1

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.

Preparing square Foot Garden

After a late start, I finally finished the square foot garden. I used the book Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew for advice on how to prepare a garden. Carlos assisted me in clearing a spot in the garden. After the area was cleared and leveled off, a weed sheet was put down and the garden frame was assembled. The garden frame was purchased as a pre-configured set to save time.
The potting mix used is a combination of peat moss, vermiculite, and compost in 1/3 amounts. Large quanties of vermiculite was hard to find, I was only able to obtain it in an old school feed store (that sold baby chicks and live turkeys). The sq ft gardening book recommended that the compost be a mix of different brands and types of compost to ensure diversity of nutrients. I mixed the soil on a large tarp.

The last step in setting up the garden was setting up the grid system. A theme you might notice is lazy gardening. Instead of setting up the fancy wood grid as specified in the book, I made a grid from leftover garden string. I used old popsicle sticks to hold the strings.Finally, I prepared a diagram of what I plan to grow in my new garden. I was able to use Carlos’s old graphing paper for this one 🙂