Sunday, May 22, 2011

Ladybug larva having an aphid snack...

All this dry weather, I have a bit of an aphid infestation. I'm away from my garden for a few days, and a friend is looking after it. She tells me that the #$%*(#$^* pickleworm has arrived, but so far the invasion is pretty limited. Dozens of tomatoes every day, peppers, loads of cucumbers... The traditional squash season is over. I might plant some Tromboncino squash when I get back.
Posted by Picasa

A quick update in pictures....

My beans are suffering a bit from some nutrient deficiency... note the cucumber to the left. This is my smallest cuke!


The hive with its new super.
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Answering some questions from the comments

Lisa, gardenias are exceptionally difficult to grow in pots. I can all but guarantee you that your gardenia was suffering from over watering this winter. I recommend either planting it in the ground or planting it in a small pot with a fast draining medium. Try googling "garden web Mel's mix." If you are serious about growing gardenias in Florida, there is one absolutely crucial secret for success: you must get a gardenia grafted on Miami rootstock. Plant it in a mostly sunny spot, ideally somewhere with some afternoon shade. Take good care of it for the first one or two years, and then forget about it.

Farmer Dave my fig trees are in full sun. They are planted in a very thick covering of mulch, which I think is crucial for fig culture here in Florida, with all our nematodes. Contrary to most information I have found about figs, I think please require quite a lot water and they like a rich soil . This year I gave my fig trees a significant feed of phosphorous in early spring. This seems to have done the trick, because my fruit set is large for a relatively small fig tree. (My fig tree has been in the ground for about three years, and is approximately 10 feet tall by 6 feet wide with several trunks.) In any case, I have a good gardening friend with five or six fig trees growing on her property. Each of these big trees produce at lease a bushel of fruit per year. So, fig trees can certainly thrive here given the correct conditions.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Juliette tomatoes

Hmmm... Well, they aren't exactly cherry or grape tomatoes, though they grow in long clusters. The flavor and texture is very reminiscent of Roma tomatoes, as you might expect by their appearance. A little dry, very balanced between sweet and sour, medium skins, not a lot of seeds, all of them in a narrow cleft in the center of the fruit. 

I like cherry tomatoes--great to snack on (my daughter loves them), and a nice addition to a lunch salad. (My favorite: Fresh cucumbers, tomatoes, herbs, and feta, dressed liberally with olive oil and a big pinch of Aleppo pepper...) 

I suppose these are all-purpose tomatoes--good enough for salads and sauce. In any case, they live up to the descriptions when it comes to vigor, productivity and disease-resistance. I've never grown a more vigorous tomato, and the vines are just covered in long clusters of 10-12 one-ounce tomatoes. 

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Busy bees

My kids' 4H group has placed these hives all over town in community gardens, local growers, and convenient backyards, like ours. They harvest the honey and sell it at fairs. Not bad money, really...

Between this hive with thirty-thousand bees, and the one living in the south corner of my house (our apiarist estimated fifty-thousand bees)... I don't have a lot of problems with fertilization!

First full-sized tomato of the season

Tomande. A superior tomato. In the past I've grown it as a cool-season tomato. 

Wednesday, May 04, 2011


I picked up a bunch of this stuff last year, when Lowes was clearancing it. Yes, it really works, and it's organic. I used it last year, and it made a difference, though I don't know if it made a "50%" difference, as advertised on the label. 

I sprayed it in the garden and yard on Sunday, and noticed an immediate improvement in late-afternoon wilt on my cucumber plants and what little St Augustine is in my front yard. It's pricey (it retails for around $25, though I think I paid less than $10), but a quart is enough to treat twice all my beds and the in my yard. And I only spray it once a year, in spring.