Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Fall Edible Garden 2011

It is still so hot here, but it's time to start focusing on planting veggies again. I must force myself to go outside because knowing it's time to garden is not the same as feeling like it's time to garden. This year in particular has been extra rainy in my yard. We get rain downpours not just once a day now, but sometimes as often as three times a day. I lost power yesterday for an hour due to lightning strikes.

This year I will be growing my tomatoes on the driveway again after the virus-bug disaster that resulted from planting them in the backyard with all the other veggies. It isn't the prettiest arrangement, but it works for me. I have planned to improve my "method" from last fall too. I will modify the electrical conduit trellis/rebar system I use for my raised beds to secure the tomato cages so they won't fall over in the wind. This is not reflected in the picture because I haven't done it yet. The pots will also need to be moved to the other side of the driveway as the angle of the sun changes later in the season.     
I will be trying the following tomato varieties this year: Great White, Earl's Faux, Olive Hill, Frank's Large Red, Orange Russian 117, Tlacolula Pink, Red Zebra, Green Zebra, Delicious,  Indian Stripe, Grandfather Ashlock and the Everglades Tomato.

I just ripped out one of my beds and added peat moss and Black Kow. I left two eggplants and two peppers because they still seem to be doing ok from the spring planting. I plan on adding some sunflowers, herbs, and beans this week to that bed. In the process of renovating the bed I harvested my first sweet potato ever! I planted just one slip in that bed and I was so happy to find a little sweet potato. It was perfectly healthy and wonderful in every way just small because I harvested too early. This makes me excited about the harvest from my real sweet potato beds. I am growing Beauregard, Edna Evans, and Southern Queen.

I also started some more of the excellent Corinto cucumbers in the Earthbox. I killed one by bending the stem too far, but the new seedling is already growing. I also have a giant pumpkin growing. It did have one fertilized pumpkin on it, but it is rotting from all the rain :( It already has new female flowers though/ :) I'm also growing a Jarrandale pumpkin, but there's no fruit on it yet. I have the another Earthbox with blue popcorn. It blew over in the wind last night, but the stalks aren't damaged.  I have one empty Earthbox, which I think I'll put melons of some sort in.

I started some winter garden seeds inside. More about that later.

I just wish it would get cooler already so I can get everything accomplished. I also need to get to the roses....My ambition for my garden exceeds my square footage and my physical and economic resources.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Types of Gardeners

Gardening is a very individual pursuit. Maybe you thought that all gardening was the same? Nope. The following is copied from a post I wrote on Gardenweb last year.

Posted by amberroses 9b-Pinellas Co. (My Page) on Sat, Jun 19, 10 at 23:24
It was too hot to garden and I was bored so I made a list of the types of gardeners I have found of the Florida Garden forum. I mean this to be a funny and not serious. I think the people who post here are the nicest and most helpful on Gardenweb. See if you can add any more to my list.

"Types of Gardeners on Florida Garden Forum"

1. The Clueless Gardener, A.K.A."The Beginner": This poster is new to everything having to do with gardening. He may have recently visited a neighbor’s fabulous garden or saw a gardening segment on the morning news. For whatever reason he suddenly has the urge to GROW! He lacks even basic knowledge of plant biology principles such as the fact plants need light and regular water to grow. His posts are usually titled "Help me I am a beginner" or some variation thereof. He would like to know everything there is to know about gardening in 5 sentences or less. The Clueless Gardener eventually either evolves into a different gardening type or quickly abandons the idea of gardening after finding out it involves work, dirt, and sweat. A subspecies of this type is the Northern Transplant.

2. The Landscaper: Wants his yard to be perfectly balanced in form, color, and theme. Is willing to use whatever pesticides and fertilizers necessary maintain his perfect yard. Has a broad array of gas powered lawn equipment to tend his lovely St. Augustine lawn.

3. The Zone Challenger: The Zone Challenger refuses to accept the fact he lives in Florida. He has no interest in growing plants that thrive naturally in Florida. He mail-orders hostas, lilacs, peonies, cashew trees, and coconut palms from far away places. He may, in addition, design the garden to look like and English cottage garden, a Japanese rock garden, or a garden at a Tuscan Villa.

4. The Martha Stewart: Her yard looks like it is straight out of Desperate Housewives. Her garden has the same look of perfection as the landscaper, but has just enough extra creativity to make it unique and uncopyable. Plants are always in bloom and never show disease or insect damage. She replaces plants at night under cover of darkness similar to the way it is done at Disney World.

5. The Yard Farmer: While not a professional farmer per se, he grows enough crops to feed a family of four for a year. His bounty includes a nutritional and culinary balance of many herbs, fruits, and vegetables year round. He may or may not have livestock.

6. The Collector: This poster makes it a point to grow one of everything. Due to space limitations he rarely grows more than one of each plant. His garden lacks a coherent design or theme, but could serve very well as a college level plant biology classroom. The Seed Exchange is his favorite Gardenweb forum. He is always searching for something new to add to his grow list.

7. The Specialist: He only focuses on growing one type of plant. He may plant a couple of shrubs to keep the neighbors happy but his real passion is his favorite plant. He knows the entire history of the development of said plant back to the Stone Age. He knows every named cultivar and all the current developments in breeding. He can identify every conceivable pest or disease the plant might face. Frequently the object of his affection is roses, tomatoes, peppers, or orchids.

8. The Ecologist: Knows every theory of organic gardening. Has three kinds of compost piles because he believes the beneficial merits of each method of composting are unique. Has several rain barrels linked together in a solar powered pump system with micro emitters. Raises ladybugs and lacewing insects. Thinks the term organic pesticides is an oxymoron. Fertilizes with excrement and urine from various sources. Knows the names of every single bird, turtle, and snake in his yard.

9. The Forum Police- They are the keepers of the forum rules. They remind posters when they should be posting in an alternate forum and advise when photos have exceeded size guidelines. They post links to earlier discussions on topics.

10. The Pretty Picture Poster-They post a picture of their garden at least once a day. Frequently these photos also include cats, dogs, and kids. My favorite poster type:)

 11. Mr. "I want it all!"- Observes the other types of posters and sees the merits of each. Attempts to emulate all of them. His mixed results. Drives himself crazy trying to reconcile the principles of The Ecologist and The Landscaper. This is me.

To read the original post and the many funny follow contributions by others go here:

Thursday, August 4, 2011

So Hot....

I notice a strange pattern that I post very little in July and August. Why would that be? It is so hot and humid out there that I rarely visit the garden. Even when I go outside to do some minimal maintenance the mosquitoes attack me en masse. They don't seem to bother my neighbor's enjoying themselves outside in their kiddie pool. All I can usually manage is to mow and edge the rapidly growing grass and water the Earthboxes. Today I pulled a few weeds and deadheaded the roses. I actually had to wear my pajama pants in the middle of the day to protect me from the bloodsuckers. My pajamas are the lightest weight full length pants I own. I'm sure I must make quite a sight.

I like to call this the cranky time of year. I am not even too excited about the Fall garden yet. Gripe, gripe, gripe.... Anyway here are some nice photos of plants doing their thing with little invention on my part:
Don Juan

St. Patrick

Clotilde Soupert