Sunday, December 26, 2010
Freeze damage in the garden is on par with last year: Bananas killed to the ground (several were at bearing stage for next year--three year cycle in my garden). All tropical crops are dead or burned to the ground. Blueberry leaves are bright red. Cruciferous crops are fine, but growing slowly. Peas were damaged by our several days of low-20s, but might recover when the weather warms. My poor tomato seedlings are hanging on, but they haven't grown a centimeter since they sprouted. They'll likely succumb to disease, since they can't "grow out" of any problems.
Saturday, December 18, 2010
fantastic--sweet and crunchy, no heat. It would be a pity to cook
them... Citrus is sweet and escaped the freeze. But I spent the
morning whacking the frost-killed and damaged vegetation after a week
of record-cold temperatures.
Tuesday, December 07, 2010
Sunday, December 05, 2010
So yesterday I tried my hand at making some natural, hardwood lump charcoal. I used windfall and old bits of lumber leftover from projects to feed the the fire that heated the inner kiln, a thirty-gallon drum propped up inside the fifty-gallon barrel you see above. I filled the inside drum with lumps of well-aged, mill ends of Live Oak and Black Cherry that I bought from a local saw mill that gets all of its lumber from domestic tree jobs. So, while making charcoal is never a green endeavor, this was pretty good. All waste wood.
A total success. It took about four hours to dry the wood completely, then another hour of firing it until the off-gassing started. That was pretty impressive--flames shot out hole I drilled in the bottom of the drum like the afterburners on a rocket. This morning I opened the kiln and found perfect lump charcoal. I used maybe two dollars worth of hardwood in the drum, and got probably $25 worth of lump charcoal. I'll need to do this several times before I pay off the $60 I spend for the barrel and the drum...
Short days, cold nights, and an approaching frost. Still, it's very
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Tasty Jade (F1)-Mini
Unwin's Striped Mix-Packet
Cassius (F1) (OG)-Mini
Suyo Long-100 Seeds
Stainless Harvest Machete - 6" Blade-1 Unit
Green Forest (Pelleted)-Packet
Friday, November 26, 2010
Peas began flowering yesterday. Everything is going gangbusters in the garden, what with abundant sun and warm temperatures. I've been irrigating daily in my vegetable beds, but only for a few minutes with my micro-mister system.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Friday, November 05, 2010
Hakurei Turnips. I'll have to thin these, but they can be grown very close together. Small, sweet, tasty turnips. Very quick to mature--very like sweet radishes.
Some heading lettuces growing in window boxes. you can see how I use the spaces between rows here to squeeze in window boxes. When I need to weed or harvest, I just move the window boxes aside. You can grow a surprising amount of food in one of these cheap windowboxes--carrots, beets, turnips, lettuce. I've done it all. I use a mix of about 5::1::1 pine fines, peat, and perlite, with added micronutrients and high-end slow-release fertilizer. I supplement that with monthly feedings of liquid fertilizer. Essentially growing hydroponically in soil.
You can see these chard plants below, from the beginning of October, when I had just transplanted them. They're almost ready to harvest. Grown in a circle, cut from an old barrel, filled with very rich organic compost.
Onions and peas. I should have planted these peas much earlier than I did. They really appreciate a blast of heat at the start--I think I could plant them as early as mid-August.
Cutting salad greens. The two top producers for me are Bronze Arrow (Southern Exposure, I think...) and Apollo Rocket, a hybrid arugula that I love.
Sunday, October 24, 2010
- Red Ace beets
- Super Sugar Snap peas
- Javelin F1 parsnips
- Sweet Treat carrots
- Cherriette radishes
- Nantes carrots
- Hakurei F1 turnips
- Rainbow chard
- Brussels sprouts
- White sweet onions
- Honey Gold potatoes (very small waxy potatoes I got at Publix)
Saturday, October 02, 2010
An early onset of the dry season. I think it's fair to say that it started last week, after Nicole blew out of the Panhandle and clobbered the Carolinas. In its wake, the weather has been excellent.
Anyone not from Florida will never understand what it's like when the first "backdoor fronts" make it to Florida. Precipitable waters (hanging in the atmosphere) drop from two or more inches to one inch. The dew point falls to the upper 50s. Humidity goes from 60-75% in the middle of the day to the upper 30s. The days are still warm, but the nights are cool. Really perfect weather, and the promise of month after month of even finer weather.
Monday, September 27, 2010
Monday, September 06, 2010
- Cauliflower (Snow Crown)
- Broccoli (Blue Wind)
- Collards (Champion)
- Lettuce (Jericho)
Saturday, August 28, 2010
So... well. Now. Hm. I was so happy to see that my watermelon had started another cycle of blooming and fruiting. I planted it in spring, it produced a nice haul for July, and in August started flowering and setting fruit. Six, to be exact. I was getting ready to pick them in the next week or so. And then, this. Sigh. If you've ever read Sutree by Cormac McCarthy, you'll know EXACTLY what I thought when I saw these watermelons this month. If you know me, you'll know the stream of cursewords that came a moment later. The beast even nipped off the immature melons.
I've decided to be buddhistic about the whole affair.
It's been a weird August. So warm in the evenings that even my limas and yardlongs have been setting poorly. Lots of flowers, prolific growth. Just not a lot of result. The sweet potatoes and peanuts have, predictably, loved all the warmth and rain.
I'm looking forward to fall...
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
I only have one eggplant this year, and it has only just started to set fruit... but it has set four or five already and its growth rate has ramped up with some extra fertilizer, compost and a thick layer of mulch. I picked my first watermelon yesterday--it was GREAT. Very sweet, pure melon taste. I probably should have picked it a few days earlier, as the texture was slightly coarser than it should have been. It's very hard to tell with melons... I'm planning to pick several more this week. Let's see... I have a major aphid infestation with this hot and dry weather. I'm banking on a weekend tropical storm to knock them out. If not, I'll treat them next week. I noticed this morning the first hint of color on my grapes--looks like, despite our cold temps, I should have grapes starting early-/mid-August, as usual. Limas are finally producing pods, but the aphids are there, too. I planted "Star of David" okra, which is supposed to reach six feet at maturity. It sure does vigorously. Peanuts are doing well. Sweet potatoes are running everywhere. My trombone squash is setting a lot of fruit... Click the collage for more detail.
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Hi there,My name is . I recently bought my first house in downtown Orlando. My got a huge corner lot that is was in pretty pathetic shape garden-wise. I really want a color and scented garden. Is there anything you can suggest? So far I have a few jasmines, plumbago, butterfly bushes, verbenas, a purple "yellow bell" looking thing whose name I can never remember, and some little succulents whose name I can also never remember. I also want to plant fruit trees, mostly blueberries, citrus and strawberries. Do you suggest any other fruit? Sorry to bombard you with questions, I think I am a little garden happy right now.Thanks in advance for any help you can provide.p.s. if you have any nursery suggestions I will take those too!
dear , it's a tough time of the year to start anything aside from woody perennials (like your jasmines and plumbagos). heck, even those are difficult unless it's very rainy. best to wait until the first cool front in november to try to plant much of anything new. right now i'm on standby--weeding, watering, waiting.
the easiest fruits to grow, imo, are grapes, citrus and bananas. a little harder are peaches & persimmons. blueberries are somewhat difficult inasmuch as it is very hard to keep the pH down (keep the acidity high). i really recommend sunshine blue blueberries, as these are very indifferent to acidity. you can get the sunshines at lowes in the cool months--very inexpensive, very productive bushes that don't grow too big. perfect for the backyard grower.
citrus can be got at a bigbox store, or at just about any nursery. i recommend that you order your grapes from a good nursery, esp one like JUST FRUITS AND EXOTICS (google it!). i grow nesbitt. very productive and easy. peaches, plums and persimmons can be purchased from JUST FRUITS and also from CHESTNUT HILL TREE FARM. i really like my flordaprince peach. i just planted some gulf-series plum, and i'm told they are fairly easy and productive.
for the best bananas you should attend the swaps that are organized on gardenweb, or post something on the swap page there. lots of very good gardeners down in orlando with tons of pups to give away.
finally, if you're look for something easy and pretty, i really recommend the new red knockout roses that are widely available. own-root, vigorous, and they are blooming heavily for me. i might make a big bed of them out front of my house this winter.
Saturday, July 17, 2010
Saturday, July 10, 2010
Never grown watermelon here in FLA before. I planted the seeds (Asian Sweet from Evergreen seeds) at the end of the first week of March, and transplanted them into the garden sometime in April, in a sunny spot where I usually grow sweet potatoes. One of the few things that fared well while I was away for five weeks. I have six nice, football-sized melons (not sure how big they'll get), and the vines are continuing to sprawl everywhere. I expect a few more to set. Not bad from two seedlings.