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.
I have calculated chill hours for Orlando based on the FAWN weather data. I thought you may find this useful since you have posted similar information on your very informative and interesting blog.Of all the complexities of Florida gardening, this one is particularly vexing: We cannot really grow much in the way of tropical fruit like mangoes and bananas. Sure, in a limited way, we have some success--some years, I get more bananas than I can eat. But, as has been the case for the past two winters, other years my bananas get burned down to the ground (delaying fruiting by a year or more), and my mango tree dies despite my best efforts.
Chill Hours* for Orlando Winter Calculated 1997 1998 160 1998 1999 184 1999 2000 249 2000 2001 387 2001 2002 196 2002 2003 383 2003 2004 247 2004 2005 203 2005 2006 255 2006 2007 143 2007 2008 136 2008 2009 325 2009 2010 468 Average: 257 Minimum: 136 Maximum: 468 * number of hours the temperature is below 45 degrees F and above 32 degrees F