Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Everything's Coming Up Roses

The cooler weather of November has been better for both the roses and me.

Heritage Rose

St. Patrick Rose

Souvenir de la Malmaison
Don Juan

Natchitoches Noisette

Hot Cocoa

Gruss An Aachen

The elusive blue rose or a pretty cool looking petunia

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Tomatoes are Beginning to Trickle In

So finally some of my tomatoes are ripening. I've lost quite a few of the largest ones to unknown rat-like creatures that nibble and discard them during the night. I did manage to save this big heart tomato Orange 117. It's so large and pretty! It has a very tomatoey taste and, like most heart tomatoes, contains few seeds.

The plants are enjoying this cooler drier weather and I have many baby green tomatoes. My Green Zebra has fully ripe green tomatoes. The Green Zebras are very tasty as well and the plant is probably the healthiest and most productive of my current tomato crop.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Florida Botanical Gardens

The Florida Botanical Gardens is an hidden gem in Pinellas County and, fortunately for me, less than  a 10 minute drive from home. It's part of the Pinewood Cultural Park which includes the Pinellas County Extension Office, Heritage Village and formerly an art museum that has now been closed due to budget cuts.  The Botanical Gardens and the extension office together grow almost every type of plant that it is possible to grow here. Aside from being a place of peaceful tranquility and reflection in a world gone bad, the gardens are also very educational because they've labeled nearly every plant with its proper name. Come with me on a photographic tour.  All the pictures were taken today. I'm leaving a lot of great stuff out though, so you'll need to visit yourself :)


Monday, October 17, 2011


I'm growing three kinds of beans in my raised bed. I have very little previous experience growing beans, but I must learn by doing I guess. The varieties I am growing are: heirloom Dragon's Tongue, heirloom Royal Burgundy, and Tenderpick. They all have a nice fresh taste and don't seem to be bothered by any serious pests.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Citrus Insights and other Goings on in the yard

My yard is just starting to get the merest hint of the cool fall weather. Hurray and hurry up!

My  Centennial Kumquat is getting ripe. I finally figured out that if you want citrus to hold fruit sometime in the next 5 years you need to plant it in a pot. I was so frustrated when I saw people with young citrus up in Wisconsin harvesting oranges when my own Hamlin and Valencia trees took 7 years to start producing. If you plant them in the ground the plant's energy goes to producing root and growing in to large trees. In a pot citrus produces fruit at a younger age. Now the upside to growing in the ground is that my orange trees are now producing loads of fruit 10 years after planting, but for instant gratification you'll want to go the pot route. My tiny red Navel tree in a pot already has several fruit on it too.

My tomatoes are growing larger.
The heat is still causing problems with fruit set, but I've managed to get a few. This is Olive Hill tomato is the largest. It seems to do well with the heat.

Sunday, September 25, 2011


I planted some popcorn several months ago because it seemed fun. My previous experiments with corn growing were unsuccessful because I didn't plant enough to properly pollinate the ears. For those who don't already know, each of those tiny silk "hairs" is attached to a corn kernel and each one must come in contact with the pollen from the tassels above the plant. You need a lot of corn plants to insure proper pollination. I don't have room for a lot of corn unfortunately.

I planted my popcorn in my earthbox according the earthbox's recommended instructions. This crop also had pollination problems. You can see I probably won't be using these for decorations even though this variety is a lovely pearly blue-gray. The kernels you see were pollinated. The missing kernels were not pollinated.

Now unlike my failed corn crop, this popcorn can still be used. I picked off the dried popcorn and had myself a tasty snack. True this was a lot of trouble for a small amount of popcorn I could have just purchased, but nothing can compare to the experience of growing your own.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Pictures Du Jour

My newly planted Earthbox with two banana peppers, romaine lettuce, and some watercress.

Duchesse de Brabrant rose in her tiny pot
My Olive Hill Tomato grows by the day

Monday, September 19, 2011

And the flowers.....

I can't forget to mention the flowers can I? Here's a Purple Chinese Hat:

And the hydrangeas are looking pretty after all summer on the plant. These are the very same blooms I showed in the spring. They last that long.....
And Bermuda's Anna Olivier:

Waiting for the Fall

The days are getting shorter and some of my trees are losing their leaves, but it's still hot both day and night. I can't wait for some "cool" fall weather. Cool is relative for me and I would be happy with temperatures in the 60s, 70s, or 80s. I cleared out one bed leaving the eggplants and bell peppers from the spring planting. I added some red cabbage, beans, and banana peppers.

The giant pumpkin is being a bit coy. It has tons of female blooms that seem to get pollinated, but then they rot off a few days later. I am still hopeful for some fruit set.

Most of my tomatoes are healthy but still dropping flowers with no fruitset.
Red Zebra and Olive Hill are actually making some baby tomatoes in this heat. I will make a note of this because it is hard to find heirlooms that will set fruit this time of year.