Snow Crown (F1)-Mini
Blue Wind (F1)-Mini
Totem (F1) (OG)-Mini
Slick Pik™ YS 26 (F1)-Packet
Wednesday, December 09, 2009
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Crimson Crisp Radish
Saturday, November 14, 2009
I've also been taking a box of Yellow Submarine tomatoes to work with me every day. Very sweet when completely ripe, nicer when a little greener. Thin enough skin. Good vigor, early, open-pollinated to boot.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
The new wave of urban farming (and fresh food from small spaces!) | Grist
The new wave of urban farming (and fresh food from small spaces!) | Grist:
"In Fresh Food From Small Spaces: The Square-Inch Gardener’s Guide to Year-Round Growing, Fermenting, and Sprouting, author R. J. Ruppenthal turns a seemingly anti-urban idea—that farming has to be done outside, with a red barn and rolling fields of wheat—on its head. Because urbanites, too, can grow their own food indoors, in cramped spaces,"
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Dogwoods in November...
Sunday, November 08, 2009
A quick update in pictures
Tuesday, November 03, 2009
Cool season has arrived... November in the garden
Harvesting lettuces, tomatoes, eggplants, peppers... getting ready for the first radishes of the season. Zinnias, calendula, pentas, and Lions Mane (Leonotis menthifolia) and marigolds are blooming. Cool season herbs are thriving and basil is declining. Picked my last roselle and ripped out the canes. Melons have been a failure in the fall. Too much mildew. Planting beets, peas, more lettuce, chard, turnips, and carrots. My broc and cauliflower should be heading up sometime soon. First batch of greens is due next week.
Trying a new seedling mix: 6 parts perlite, 3 parts peat, 1 part dyna-rok. Some lime and micronutrients to round it out. Continue to plant a lot of pots and window-boxes with Al's 5-1-1 mix (pine fines/perlite/peat). What a great mix! It's remarkable how quickly repotted plants respond to it.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Monday, October 19, 2009
Recycling Goes From Less Waste to Zero Waste [...]Though born of idealism, the zero-waste philosophy is now propelled by sobering realities, like the growing difficulty of securing permits for new landfills and an awareness that organic decay in landfills releases methane that helps warm the earth’s atmosphere. [...]Americans are still the undisputed champions of trash, dumping 4.6 pounds per person per day, according to the E.P.A.’s most recent figures. More than half of that ends up in landfills or is incinerated.Better recycling is important, but it seems like a Chamber of Commerce response to the problem--it's inoffensive and it leaves us feeling like, by gosh, I've done something good for the "environment".
For most problems, however, the solution to a given problem is to do less of whatever is causing the problem. If my problem is that I drink too much gin, the answer is not "take up smoking." The answer is, stop drinking so much gin. (It's not always so easy. A problem like "I'm stuck in a loveless marriage" involves solutions of a different sort.)
The answer to the problem if waste is not recycling because recycling didn't get us into the problem. Succinctly put, we buy too much crap. (Why we buy too much crap is another interesting question, but not apropos here.) Moreover, most of that crap is made of nasty plastic, and it's manufactured overseas. I never see the god awful mess (environmental and social) created by the manufacturing of my crap. When we tire after a few minutes playing with our new plastic piece of crap, we toss it into the waste bin, which every Thursday is conveniently picked up and moved somewhere I cannot see it, along with everyone else's crap.
The solution, then, is not "recycle better" (though that is part of a possible solution). The solution is, buy less crap.
............. Let me add that there's another solution to certain problems: Doing the opposite of what causes the problem can sometimes solve it. Sloth is undone by industry. So, not only should we buy less crap, but we should seek (in Wendell Berry's formulation) to become producing households, not just consuming ones. In our household, aside from producing a modest amount of the food we eat, we produce children, and take sole responsibility for their education. We produce much of our own entertainment (friends, music and reading) and try to ignore most of the mass-produced kind (no television). Finally, I guess, I produce most of the animal flesh that we consume...
These are modest things, and I am humbly aware of how much more I could do. But they are a start to the solution.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
NWS climate report.
The radishes and peas I sowed over the weekend are already up, so the cooler weather that's headed our way is particularly welcome.Climate...Vero Beach set a new record high at 94 degrees today
breaking the old record of 90 degrees last set in 2002.
Orlando and Vero Beach also have extended their streaks of
consecutive days with high temperatures 90 degrees or higher to 10
and 11 days respectively which are new records for the month of October.
I notice that this is post number six-hundred.
Monday, October 12, 2009
Saturday, October 10, 2009
A quick update in words...
Tomande and Yellow Submarine tomatoes are doing well. Peppers, especially Sweet Spot, are continuing to produce nicely, as they have all summer. Leonotis menthifolia (Lion's Mane) has finally kicked into bloom. Orlando Tangelos are coloring up a bit and, oddly, my grapes have produced a second (sparse) harvest. (I wonder if this is normal? They are ripening now, and should be ripe by November.) I cut my banana stalk a couple days ago and it's yellowing up quickly. Zinnias are getting ready to bloom. That's about it...
Friday, October 09, 2009
Gut Check: Here's the Meat of the Problem - washingtonpost.com
Gut Check: Here's the Meat of the Problem - washingtonpost.com: "But the result isn't funny at all: Two researchers at the University of Chicago estimated that switching to a vegan diet would have a bigger impact than trading in your gas guzzler for a Prius (PDF). A study out of Carnegie Mellon University found that the average American would do less for the planet by switching to a totally local diet than by going vegetarian one day a week. That prompted Rajendra Pachauri, the head of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, to recommend that people give up meat one day a week to take pressure off the atmosphere. The response was quick and vicious. 'How convenient for him,' was the inexplicable reply from a columnist at the Pittsburgh Tribune Review. 'He's a vegetarian.'
The visceral reaction against anyone questioning our God-given right to bathe in bacon has been enough to scare many in the environmental movement away from this issue. The National Resources Defense Council has a long page of suggestions for how you, too, can 'fight global warming.' As you'd expect, 'Drive Less' is in bold letters. There's also an endorsement for 'high-mileage cars such as hybrids and plug-in hybrids.' They advise that you weatherize your home, upgrade to more efficient appliances and even buy carbon offsets. The word 'meat' is nowhere to be found."
Wednesday, October 07, 2009
Radish Cherriette Hybrid
Radish April Cross Hybrid
Pea Super Sugar Snap
Carrot Sweetness II Hybrid
Well, it feels like the tropics out there (minus the rain... BOY IS IT DRY!)... so, a tropical harvest of malanga, bananas, and roselle. I cut out most of my roselles a month ago because they hadn't started forming calyxes yet and I needed space for my cucumbers (yeah, the ones that got destroyed by stinkbugs...). Now I really regret having done that--the roselles are just covered in "berries." Ah,w ell, live and learn. Creating a long-lived annual/perennial vegetable bed should help solve this problem. The roselles were super easy to grow. Seeds available from ECHO.
Monday, September 28, 2009
- It's fall. We have a beautiful week on tap.
- I will never again plant cukes in the fall. The stinkbugs did them in, quickly. I came out one morning to find no fewer than fifty on one plant. And the summer squash. Those, too, done in by the stinkers. I could spray them with Sevin, but I prefer not to spray my cukes.
- I finally found a source for pine fines... about thirty minutes away, but right off of I4, so often enough I could stop by for a carload. $3 per forty-pound bag. Bolling Forest Products.
- Cowpeas and yardlong beans are declining. That means I'll have room for some peas and potatoes in October.
- Did a minor feed today.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Valley View Vineyards
Valley View Vineyards. A really lovely area--"The Alps of Florida"! Located in the hills and valleys that make up the spine of Florida. Valley View has grapes, peaches, persimmons, chestnuts, figs, and pears. All you-pick. I picked a bag of pears, chestnuts and figs today for the whopping cost of $3. The chestnut trees were the real reason I headed down there, since I've never picked chestnuts before. I'm glad I brought my welders gloves! A few miles away, right next to the Yalaha Bakery, we found a you-pick blueberry and blackberry farm. That means that next May we'll be able to pick peaches, blueberries and blackberries all in the same area. Road trip!
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Just Fruits order...
- EARLIGRANDE (peach) New for 2009! Yellow fleshed, small to medium clingstone peach that ripens before all the rest. You'll be enjoying these tasty beauties two weeks before any other variety. Ripens mid April. Self-pollinating. 200 chill hours. Zone 9.
GULF BEAUTY (plum) Still another University of Florida patented release (USPP 11224). Richly sweet, small, red fruit. Heavy producer with excellent flavor. Needs a Gulf series pollinator. 250 chill hours. Ripens early May. Zones 8B-9.
GULF BLAZE (plum) Patented University of Florida release (USPP 10880). Medium-sized, deep ruby-red fruit with yellow-red center. Excellent flavor. Needs a Gulf series pollinator. 250 chill hours. Ripens early to mid-May. Zones 8B-9.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
- POPPY, CALIFORNIA--SINGLE MIX
- POPPY, SHIRLEY--DOUBLE MIXED
- WISHBONE FLOWER, CLOWN MIX
- ALYSSUM, SNOW CRYSTALS
- OBEDIENCE PLANT, CROWN OF SNOW
- CANDYTUFT, SNOWFLAKE
- MARIGOLD, ZENITH MIX
- SNAPDRAGONS, SOLSTICE MIX
- SNAPDRAGONS, SONNET WHITE
- COSMOS, CANDY STRIPE
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Another episode of Alison asks...
Saturday, September 12, 2009
sweet potato harvest
June 15. At the time they were little corms about the size of the smallest ones above. This is my "harvest" from two plants (out of half a dozen). So, in three months, one plant yielded one four-inch "potato" and a bunch of smaller ones. My guess is that they need at a minimum nine months in the ground to produce a malanga tuber large enough to be worth it... That's a long time to take up real estate in my tiny veg garden. Anyway, the whole experiment confirms my idea that I need a farily large, sunny spot where I can plant perennial vegetables like malanga, cassava, chaya, okinawan spinach... and things like papaya and hot peppers--low maintenance, not overly thirsty, sun-loving plants. I have a perfect spot, but right now it's part of one of my butterfly gardens in the front yard. So, I think I'll spend a couple weekends during the cool season clearing out that bed (it's heavily mulched with fabric), moving the plants (I have a perfect spot for a new butterfly garden), running PVC and enriching the bed. I'll probably grow some bananas and limas in that bed, too...
My sweet potato harvest--not bad for a ten-foot long row. There are several varieties there, including white japanese.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
A September bouquet...
Let's see... The color of September is... PURPLE.
Flowering artemesia, Duranta erecta, Achimenes, Alternanthera, yarrow, and some cool purple salvia...
Have I defeated the pickleworm?
Special Japanese cuke... seems to be invisible to pickleworm radar... Pretty exciting, eh? I'll post the results and seeds if my luck holds out. Right now, though, the pickleworm is all over my seminole pumpkins, but not a single egg on this secret japanese cuke...
Tuesday, September 08, 2009
"They" describe the Ele Ele as a mix between a dessert and cooking banana. Perhaps that means that I can pick it unripe and use it for fritters, etc. But, really, who can eat fifty pounds of fritters? (OK, that was a stupid question.)
Saturday, September 05, 2009
An update in slides...
The winged sort...
Sunday, August 30, 2009
To replace a couple of my southern highbush blueberries that have died:
- SUNSHINE BLUE
- Izu persimmon
- 4-N-1 LOW CHILL PLUM COMBO
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Goings-on in the garden...
Every day I'm tempted to dig up my sweet potatoes, which have run rampant all over one side of the garden. I know, though, that another couple of weeks will really increase my harvest, so I wait.
And wait for the bananas.
I've tried a couple of times to get some salad seeds started, but it's just too hot for them to germinate. So I made a sterile mix of coir and Truface and I'll give it a try inside--if I can just get them started, I should be able to grow them in pails, in the shade, until it cools down a bit.
Decided not to put polebeans in this fall and save the space for peas instead. My limas, cowpeas, and yardlongs are all still producing heavily, and will continue to do so until I rip them out to make room for fall crops.
Peppers are suffering a bit from fungus (maybe anthracnose, maybe mildew... can't tell), but they're so well established and big that I think they'll push through and provide some nice harvests in November.
Oh, and aphids... Lots of aphids out there, giving new growth a hell of a time. I guess I'll try some neem and soap.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Southern Exposure Seed order...
- 51103 Poinsett 76 CUCUMBER 2g seed
- 62803 Bronze Arrow LETTUCE, LOOSELEAF .5g seed, USDA Certified Organic
- 35106 Scarlet
Nantes(Coreless, 1/2 ) CARROT 3g seed, USDA Certified Organic Nantes
- 45601 Turkish Italian Orange EGGPLANT .13g seed, USDA Certified Organic
- 69108 Star of David OKRA 5g seed, USDA Certified Organic
Saturday, August 22, 2009
More fall seeds...
- Beefmaster tomatoes
- Green Gala cantaloupe
- Dolma Kabak (Turkish summer squash)
- Apollo Rocket (arugula)
- Lucullus and Bionda di Lyon chards
- Pot marigolds (Calendula)
Willow-leaf lima is still producing very well. It's my favorite new plant this year--three vines planted sometime in late spring have taken over TWO ten-foot trellises. It produces in big bursts, nice full pods with three or four beans in each. Peppers, especially Sweet Spot, continue to bear heavily, even in the heat and humidity. I transplanted several tomato seedlings into the ground. Mississippi Silver cowpeas are kicking into high gear; the yard-long beans are finally setting beans. I planted both of these very late in the season, but should still have plenty of beans.
Always a dilemma this time of year--where to put plants for the dry season while wet-season crops like malanga, cassava, sweet potatoes and pumpkins ripen?
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
August in the garden...
Saturday, August 08, 2009
"Sand" pears at Keene Acres
An Anna Apple (tropical). Miles also has Dorset Apples. Both are tropical apples, suitable for Central Florida. My Anna has grown well, but my Dorset had fungal issues and is recovering slowly. Miles reports that he had tons of apples this May on these small trees. (Annas in particular are know as heavy bearers.)
Miles has a lovely place--eleven acres. In addition to landscaping trees and plants, he raises peaches, nectarines, persimmons, pears and tons of citrus. Much of the fruit is available for you-pick.
Tuesday, August 04, 2009
If I had to choose...
Tomatoes: Sungold, Tiffany, Bella Rosa (determ.)
Peppers: Sweet Spot X3R, Fat 'n' Sassy
Pole Beans: Rattlesnake
Limas: Willow-Leaf Lima (no contest!)
Southern Pea (Crowder): Mississippi Silver
Chard: "French" Swiss Chard (hard to find...)
Carrots: Carrot Sweet Treat Hybrid
Cuke: Cucino (traditional)
Eggplant: Little Fingers
Monday, August 03, 2009
i'm only an ok pepper grower--this year's better than most.
here's my accumulated wisdom: 1) pick the right variety. for sweets, i've had great luck with fat n sassy, flexum and sweet spot (all from tomato growers supply). hot ones--tabasco, habanero, anaheims. 2) plant them as early as possible. when you plant your tomatoes--i.e., probably the beginning of march in n fla., maybe earlier. you might have to protect them from frost. for fall planting, they should probably go in now (mine have). 3) plant them CLOSE together for support and to protect from sun scald. stake them or grow them in cages. (i don't have room for cages, so instead i use multiple bamboo stakes--as many as 4 per plant.) 4) hot peppers do very well in pots. use a loose, well-drained mix that includes pine fines, perlite and peat. i use equal quantities if i can get fines in bags; otherwise i use a mix from my local landscaping co that is 1/4 hardwood fines, 1/4 pine fines and the rest peat.
on this forum, search for "post hole method" or posthole method. it's how i plant them in the ground--essentially, dig out a cylinder of "dirt" and replace it with dirt.
i haven't sprayed mine. they're under attack from stinkbugs (leaf-footed) and flea beetles, but they're healthy enough. i fertile monthly with a small amount of balanced fertilizer, and every once and a while a handful of epsom.
i just got a BIG bag of peppers from happy_fl_gardener. my own plants have tons of fruit on them, and will produce another crop in the fall, as soon as the light changes enough and it cools down (sometime in september).
it CAN be done. but it takes some practice and luck.
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Why meat is wasteful...
Though I wasn't particularly aware of this question turning in my head, it must have been doing so for some time.
Pressed every once and a while (I'm not the sort of person people press often) to explain why I don't eat meat, I usually respond:
1. We don't need to eat meat.
"One farmer says to me, "You cannot live on vegetable food solely, for it furnishes nothing to make bones with"; and so he religiously devotes a part of his day to supplying his system with the raw material of bones; walking all the while he talks behind his oxen, which, with vegetable-made bones, jerk him and his lumbering plow along in spite of every obstacle. Some things are really necessaries of life in some circles, the most helpless and diseased, which in others are luxuries merely, and in others still are entirely unknown. "
2. In any case, we American eat far too much of it. (The average American eat nearly half a pound of meat a day!)
3. It is deleterious of our health; of this there can simply be no doubt. I distrust all of modern nutrition, but I can point to the indubitable fact that every culture that has gone from eating a vegetable, grain, oil and fish diet to a diet that resembles our own American "diet" has grown steadily less healthy, more obese, and stupider.
4. Furthermore, you can have a varied--even more interesting--diet without meat."
In fact, I really like meat. You name it, I like it. Even offal and liver and sweetmeats. Beef. Chicken. Birds of all sorts. Horses (yes). Lamb. Wild beast. Pork. I used to eat--and occasionally, I still do--all of this with quite a lot of relish. And sometimes ketchup.
Notice that I have no compunctions about eating meat on the usual moral grounds. I like animals well enough, but I don't think they have souls and I have no guilt issues involved in their slaughter, so long as it is done well and as painlessly as possible. (That said, I don't like the idea of anything suffering needlessly, and so in particular I avoid meat the provenance of which I do not know.) In fact, if you know my story, you'll know that I have slaughtered plenty of animals, and I don't feel any guilt whatsoever.
I am an avid fisherman and really love to eat any fish. That said, I mostly only eat the fish that I catch. Our seas have been roundly abused, and I want as little part in it as possible. Moreover, I will not eat frozen fish of any kind, nor farmed fish--they taste like shit, and life is too short to eat shit. (I will eat frozen squid!) I am fortunate to live in Florida, a state that has some of the best, most progressive, laws around regarding commercial fishing. I only eat locally sourced fish that I know is taken from grounds that are not overfished. (Like I said, I don't eat much fish!) I imagine if I did not live in Florida, I would not eat fish at all.
In the end, for me the most compelling reason not to eat meat, or to eat much less of it, is the incredible waste involved. If you do any reading, you will be astonished by the amount of water, grain, labor, oil, fertilizer, concrete, wood, wire, electricity, herbicides, pesticides, antibiotics, legislation, oversight and carbon dioxide involved in manufacturing (and that's the correct word) a pound of meat.
Four-hundred gallons of water, lord knows how much fossil fuel (but lots of it), seven pounds of corn and all the concomitant fertilizer/herbicide/pesticide... to produce a pound of beef, much of which goes into eating that shitty shit people wolf down in fast-food restaurant. Shameful.
And then you have to deal with the enormous impact of fantastic amounts of shit. A hundred-fifty pounds of shit A DAY for a cow!
(Many will rightly point out that grass-fed, pastured cattle are far less resource-intensive, which is true. But the amount of "free-range" beef produced out there is a fraction of what's consumed.)
Yes, resources are used to produce a pound of vegetables and grain, but a small fraction compared to meat of any sort. And a pound of veg and grain is far tastier and more varied than your chunk of beef, and probably lots cheaper. (I try not to think of food as nutrition (for reasons too complex to explain here), but, there can be no doubt, that pile of veg, fruit and grain is of far greater healthfulness than the beef.)
The world is getting smaller, flatter, hotter, drier, more unpredictable.
Choosing not to eat meat makes sense.
Plus, I have a kick-ass garden.
I'm not an adamant vegetarian, but I am very careful to limit the animal flesh that I eat. One of the many reasons that I have chosen this diet is that eating meat is prodigiously wasteful.
Friday, July 24, 2009
Another bell to try
A very productive large bell pepper especially well suited to the Southeast. Uniform, bright green fruit is 3 to 4-lobed, thick-walled, and matures to red. Tobacco mosaic virus resistant and sets continuously. Medium-tall plants. 75 days.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Monday, July 20, 2009
added...TGS=Tomato Growers Supply.
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Added.... Ooops... I think I got the Burgundy Okra from Southern Exposure... Anyway, it's a fairly common variety. I like it because 1) it's a REALLY beautiful plant; 2) no spines! no toughness! no goo!
This one gets added to the short list of sweet peppers I grow that includes Trinidad seasoning pepper and Sweet Spot X3R (and plenty of open-pollinated hot peppers)...
Sweet Spot X3R Hybrid #9660 (30 seeds) $3.35 Click Here for Large Quantity Pricing.I'm trying out Flexum from TGS this year, too. It's a very interesting plant--the leaves are much broader and darker than most peppers, and it sets fruit that points upward (tips to the sky, base to the ground) from axils (where the petioles meets the main stem). The fruit is pale cream, almost white. Exotic looking--when I first saw the fruit, I thought I'd mislabled it as a pepper. Haven't picked one yet (got it in very late), but it looks to be full of potential, though not particularly vigorous. We'll see how the flavor comes out.
This high-yielding banana type pepper produces an incredible harvest of mild, sweet peppers about 8 in. long and 2 in. wide with much better size and thicker walls than open-pollinated banana types. Peppers may be enjoyed at any color stage-yellow, orange, or bright red. Tall plants resist 3 races of Bacterial Spot. 70 days. (More Sweet Peppers)