Sunday, August 30, 2009

Bay Laurel

Things I'm thinking of ordering from Bay Laurel...

To replace a couple of my southern highbush blueberries that have died:
  • Izu persimmon


Saturday, August 29, 2009

Goings-on in the garden...

It's really a big PAUSE out there right now... I've got tomato and pepper seedlings in the ground and in large containers; the tomatoes are about twenty inches. Brassica and chard seedlings are doing OK... I might have started them a bit too early, but if I can nurse them through the next few weeks, I'll have an early harvest. Things slow down so much in December--if you aren't at harvest stage for chard, broccoli and cauliflower in November, you end up waiting until February for things to get going again. But still waiting to put them in the ground. Transferred a couple of melon seedlings into an empty bed. Trying out some Turkish summer squash, too. Japanese cukes, metkis--both in pots and twining up strings. Vigorous buggers... we'll see what the pickleworm thinks.

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, Nantes 1/2 ) CARROT 3g seed, USDA Certified Organic
  • 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...

Over the past few days I've planted...
  • Beefmaster tomatoes
  • Green Gala cantaloupe
  • Dolma Kabak (Turkish summer squash)
  • Apollo Rocket (arugula)
  • Lucullus and Bionda di Lyon chards
  • Zinnias
  • Pot marigolds (Calendula)
  • Nasturtiums
Shishito peppers are finally up, and I noticed that the atemoya seeds that I planted a month ago germinated. Japanese cukes and Metkis are flourishing. I spent the morning doing a hard prune on my trellised Anna apple, preparing it for the next wire, I cleaned up the main line of my Nesbit grape, which has almost finished fruiting. And I pruned my Flordabelle peach. I've had to trim the peach every month to keep it in bounds--nine feet tall. It's a rampant grower, so I've been cutting back all green growth above nine feet. But next years harvest should be excellent if the weather cooperates--so much two- and three-year-old wood on it!

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


I don't want to exaggerate and say that it was cool out there, just now, while I was picking limas and checking out my brassica and tomato seedlings, but... it was surely less hot, and a bit more comfortable, than the past few months. The sun's angle is decreasing (which is good, because my garden is shaded to the north and as the sun tracks lower to the south, my garden gets a good deal more sun), so the colors are less washed and muted, and it's not quite so baking to stand in the open.

It's fall.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

August in the garden...

Mississippi Silver crowder pea. Picked my first bunch today.

Japanese cucumber seedling.
Nesbitt grapes ripening...

August colors.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

"Sand" pears at Keene Acres

Mr Keene himself...
A six-year-old pear tree, full of Pineapple or Sand Pears (Pyrus communis). Hard, sweet, somewhat gritty. $5 per bucket of twelve or fifteen pears.

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.


The first Nesbitt grapes of the season have ripened. Mmmmmm... Sweet. Not at all muscadine-y, though for me that's not necessarily a plus. I'll have 50 or so this year, and thrice that number next. The vine has really put off some impressive growth over the last month.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

If I had to choose...

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
Lettuce: Jericho
Chard: "French" Swiss Chard (hard to find...)
Carrots: Carrot Sweet Treat Hybrid
Beet: Cylindra
Cuke: Cucino (traditional)
Squash: Cucuzzi
Eggplant: Little Fingers
Okra: Burgundy

Monday, August 03, 2009


Here's a response I wrote to a question on Garden Web about pepper growing...

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.