Sunday, February 26, 2012

Rainy end of February...

Gardening in the rain today... A week or two early, I got some smallish tomato seedlings into the beds. Mostly Juliette (hands-down the best, most prolific, most "usable" tomato I've ever grown), Jetsetter and Magic Mountain. I have forty or fifty more seedlings--at best I'll use a quarter of those. Tomatoes get so large here in Florida.

Noticed that my red onions that I grew from seeds have started to swell. Beets are nearing harvest. Carrots look good. Broccoli is providing a lot of side shoots now that the main crop has been harvested. I have a few more cauliflower out there--as I clear them, I'll replace them with tomato seedlings.

Yesterday I started my cukes and squash for the spring: Slick Pik squash and several kinds of asian long cucumbers. I need to plant my beans now!

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Didn't feel much like normal...

Surprised to see that January in Florida wasn't particularly warm... particularly compared to the rest of the contiguous US. (Alaska, with the jet stream stuck fast, is experiencing a record-setting cold winter.)

Monday, February 06, 2012

Spring flowers... Disjointed thoughts on winter and spring.

A quick note... I've planted my spring flowers, a couple weeks early... Typically I wait until late February to start messing with tender annuals, but I'm going to bet on a continued very mild winter, and hope for no cold spells. (I might have to deal with fungus issues if it's cool and cloudy.)

Anyway, I already had zinnias and snapdragons planted, and so yesterday I added the following (some direct-sown, some in nursery pots): Zinnias, marigold (yellow and red), California poppies, and some new cosmos. (Most of these are from my recent Parks seed order.) I've already got pansy seedlings (still small), geraniums, and tons of calendula in full bloom. (All of those started from seeds back in the fall.) I "over-summered" some snapdragons, and they are in magnificent bloom right now. Oh, and borage--not yet flowering, but getting there.

If we don't have any cold snaps my garden should be in full bloom in six or seven weeks, so mid-March, with lots of flowers coming into bloom through the end of spring (more or less the end of April/early May). The zinnias and marigolds will bloom through June along with the gaura, phlox, and roses; for late summer, the cosmos will reseed and continue to bloom, though the orange and yellow cosmos will crowd out and outlast the other colors.The cosmos will mix it up with milkweed, cannas and alternanthera and see me meagerly through until early fall...

I'm always struck by calendula and pansies. They bloom from November until the end of April, and don't give a hoot about frosts. Tough little plants!

Oh, the vegetables in the front bed are up--I noticed today carrots, mache, cabbage, beets, chard, and potatoes... The back bed is in overproduction mode with broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and cool-weather herbs.

I need to find some space to plant peas...

Friday, February 03, 2012

A quick update in pictures... An early spring in Florida.

What happens when you have more broccoli than the family can eat... Sprouted broccoli tastes fine...

Often cauliflower will "rice" (get mushy) when it gets too old (like this one)... but fortunately mine haven't yet. There's only so much cauliflower four people can eat...

Honeybell tangelo on Flying Dragon rootstock. This six-foot tree bears extremely heavily. Great fruit. I love its size. 

Plum, about a month early. I just pruned the things. Sigh. 

Peach, ditto. 

Why don't more people grow calendula in the States? In England, it's a standard spring/summer flower. So easy to grow from seed, absolutely indifferent to frost, and blooms continually until, say, mid-May, maybe later. 

The bed my daughter and I recently cleared, expanded, enriched, and seeded. Everything's up!

Tomato seedlings for March 1. 

Onions, beets and carrots vie with weeds for preeminence!