Archive for the ‘The Trouble with Gardening is…’ Category

May News in the Florida Garden!

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We have been busy bees this month.  Online we are excited to have a new cover photo for our social networks.

FL gardening Cover

The new cover photo was designed by creative Courtney from Strong MOD.  Strong MOD is  Florida blog about healthy eating. Courtney offers up some delicious recipes. In fact I can’t wait to try her Pear Squares!

In the Garden…

The bugs are starting to swarm and I know our easy days of gardening are coming to a slow end.

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The beets were destroyed by what looks like pickleworms, and they moved right onto the cucumbers! We must have a healthy population of pickleworm moths in our preserve! Their pupa are hard to organically control!

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Speaking of moths, I discovered this banded sphinx moth while doing a little yard work today.

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It was almost four inches long.  I would love to see it’s colorful pupa. They usually live in burrows and feed on plants in the Ludwigia family (water purslane, water -primrose, etc), so the garden is safe!

Sweet Surprises…

When we removed our winter tomato crop this spring, a volunteer celery was growing underneath! We should have some to eat soon!

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The little gardeners asked for yard beans this spring. They are hoping to see some soon!

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I hope all my gardening friends have a special Mother’s Day weekend!

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Thanks ~Bee

Good-bye January!

Hello February, where did January go!?!

The garden has been keeping my busy since we returned from our travels.

The warm weather is splitting the cabbage and burning the strawberries, but the tomatoes are doing good. Tomatoes?! LOL Feels so funny to have tomato plants producing in January!

Here’s the garden at the beginning of January…

gardenJAN1Lovely Strawberries

gardenJAN8Wild Cherry Tomatoes

gardenJAN2Broccoli

gardenJan3Cauliflower

gardenJAN4Cabbage

gardenJAN5We’re still getting a few handfuls of collard greens. I’ve been adding them to our soups.

gardenJAN7Parsley by the front door.

carrots2Carrots ready for harvest.

And at the end of the month…

imageBurnt Strawberries… too much sun, heat, and not enough water.

I wanted to show several shots of the cabbage…  After much investigation, it seems to have split from the heat and a busted water hose.  We ate it right away and it was still delicious though.

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On a positive note, we planted spring seeds and the verbena is starting to bloom.

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Happy Gardening!

Useful Websites for Florida Gardeners

These are my current Top 10 Florida Gardening Websites. Sites that I have found useful and informative, no other promotion or relationship is involved in these suggestions.  Most are Florida specific but their information can be applied to much of the southern United States, and much of it applies to all of our backyard gardens.

1. University of Florida IFAS Extension: EDIS is my FAVORITE site!!! EDIS is the Electronic Data Information Source of UF/IFAS Extension, and contains a large collection of information on topics relevant to all Florida living!

2. Atlas of Florida Vascular Plants. Great way to research.

3. Florida Association of Native Nurseries. Love the design of this site.

4. Florida Trees. Check this site out before purchasing any trees.

5. Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council. The council supports the management of invasive exotic plants by providing an online forum for scientific, educational and technical information.

6. PickYourOwn.org I’m not crazy about this website’s layout and ads, but is one of the best places to collectively research u-pick farms and farmers markets in your area.

7. Waterwise Landscaping  by St John’s Water Management District. This site is full of data on how to use water carefully, the quality of our surface water, our aquifer and much more.

8.  Florida Wildflower Foundation. You may think of the license plate, but this a great resource. We love the “What’s in Bloom” section of the site, where you can discover what is currently blooming around the state.

9. Wildlife Foundation of Florida.  This is a great website for young gardeners.

10. Pinterest – really? yes.  It has great collections of gardening ideas by some experienced gardeners. Check out some of these boards for ideas on sustainable garden design, container gardening ideas, and more outdoor living spaces:

Authentic Haven Natural Brew is a soil guru that has great rustic taste.

Follow BGgardeing.com’s boards. Bren does a fabulous job with #gardenchat and has collected an array of ideas.

Follow anyone of Karen Sloan’s gardening boards for some beautiful ideas!

Organically Grown by Upcyclers is a fun collection of ways to upcycle things into your garden.

And here’s our collection on Pinterest: Backyard FL Gardening.

Happy Gardening!

Thanks, Bee

oh no Oleander Aphids

One of our summer projects is designing and maintaining a butterfly & bee garden.  Recently we started some milkweed seeds that we proudly harvested and saved from our mother milkweed plant.

Today we realized our new milkweed seedlings have aphids, bright yellow Oleander Aphids to be exact.  When large colonies of these aphids exist they can harm or even kill the host plants.

So what to do?! After doing a little reading, Oleander Aphids love milkweed, butterfly weed, and of course, oleander.

It seems most sustainable gardeners use blasts of water to remove the little yellow guys, and then a natural insecticide soap or oil to finish them off. Some gardeners introduce lady beetles and braconid wasp to their gardens.

Since our milkweed sprouts aren’t very big, and we were worried the blasts of water would cause harm to the plants, we removed the aphids by hand.  We are hoping that takes care of things.  It took awhile to gently remove and squish them. I even got a little q-tip out to get them off the tiniest leaves, while still trying not to damage the milkweed.  We will keep a careful eye on them.  Insecticide soap or oil isn’t harmful and doesn’t leave a lasting residue, so if the little guys return they will be doused!

Busy Bees in April

Spring has been flying by. We love all the excitement in and out of the garden!  Spring is such a wonderful time of year to be outdoors. Above, we took a trip and brought our new wagon to the farmers market in Deland, FL. We won this awesome wagon (and some other cool stuff ) from #GardenChat and Subaru on Twitter in March!  

In April, we were also published on EcoEtsy’s blog: Gardening with Kids and Books. On May 10th, our next EcoEtsy article will talk about rhubarb and even include a yummy recipe!

Here’s a photo gardening update of our backyard efforts in April!

Success in the Garden:

Green onions have been fabulous this season!

The fennel has been smelling (and looking) lovely!

The sweet peas are in bloom all over the garden!  We are very excited about this crop!

Failures in the Garden:

Our celery, didn’t quite make it. We have one lone plant left, but I’m afraid it’s too hot now.  First I had trouble starting the celery seeds, then I planted them too close, AND then our fat cat decided that they made a lovely bed to lay on. She sleeps on a few border grasses in our front yard, but has never slept on any of our vegetables before.  I learned all sorts of lessons with this first celery crop. ;)

Garden Future:

The last of this spring’s crops will be cucumber and peppers. The first of the peppers are arriving.

After this season, we plan on removing all the dirt in our largest raised box garden, and replacing it with new gardening soil.  We have been gardening three or four times a year in this box for four or five years now. Even though I add organic matter to the soil each season, it is just time to start over. The old gardening dirt will be used in various places in the yard, like to continue a stepping stone pathway.

We also have plans to build another box while we are taking a summer break from vegetable gardening. Well, a break from everything but sweet potatoes and herbs that is. ;)

Happy Gardening!

Garden Inventory

Our weather has been in the 80s here on the East Coast of Florida, making it a little unpredictable as to when to start Spring gardening this year.  Since we are heading to the beaches and wearing tank tops, I went ahead and planted our spring seeds.  If the weather turns cold in March then I will just have to cover the crops and hope for the best.

Today, I thought it would be fun to make a list of our gardening inventory. I saw another blogger do this once, and I really enjoyed reading it, so I wanted to share!  

Our Backyard Edibles:

  • John Baer Tomatoes, a few have already arrived.
  • Carrots, long imperator
  • Onions, evergreen long white bunching

  • Green Ice lettuce, a few heads are still left from winter gardening.
  • Celery, Apio 
  • Chives
  • Sugar cane
  • Lemon grass
  • Rosemary
  • Parsley, Italian
  • Oregano, Greek
  • Comfrey
  • Vicky plant

  • Mint: spearmint, orange & pineapple. The mints are currently making their spring comeback. I have missed them.
  • Pineapples
  • Banana trees
  • Aloe Vera
  • Lavender
  • Basil

  • Seeds we are waiting to sprout: red & plum radishes, sweet peas, carrots

I could go on & on with a list of our trees, flowering plants, and native landscaping, but the sun is shining and it’s Friday so I’m going to go outside and play with my little gardeners. ;)

Have a great weekend!

October in the Garden

  

Since we last posted we have lots to report!  I’m so happy Fall gardening has finally started. I was so over the heat and bugs of the summer!  We added a tiny garden box for my littlest gardener. She is very excited for her own personal gardening space. ;)  We also had a school project that involved the classroom mascot doing a little gardening with us.

We have pulled up the sweet potatoes after having a second caterpillar attack. The vines had taken up more space that I wanted them to, so next year I will plant them in a different area. I was able to harvest a half-dozen sweet potatoes for dinner.

We had to start seeds twice this season, partly because I think I started them too early. The second round is going well! Here are pics of our Bibb lettuce, purple dragon carrots, and collard sprouts. Sprouts not shown: celery, green leaf lettuce, and orange carrots.

   

Our mystery plant turned out to be a pumpkin. Still not sure how it came to be, or what type of pumpkin it was!?!  The pumpkins were quickly attacked and eaten during our second caterpillar attack.  So I pulled up it, plus it was not planted in an area where it would have had enough room to grow. 

  

We do have Seminole pumpkins in our backyard, see below. They have recovered well from the caterpillar attacks and we are hoping for Thanksgiving pumpkins!

 

We do have TWO more mystery plants. I let the little gardeners plant wherever they pleased this season, but I didn’t take the time to label them.  The one below on the right is a seedling from some guerilla gardening seed balls, made by Wall Flower Studio.  I have a seed list of what it could be, but I still don’t have a clue at this stage. Current Guess: some kind of herb. My oldest gardener thinks she planted milkweed in the red pot below.  I do not.  Current Guess: ? It isn’t strawberries.

 

Some Gardening Troubles:

Our avocado plant is having problems.  I’m looking into brown spots and wilt. I’m thinking I should get it in a bigger pot or in the ground soon.

I have also lost some thyme that I purchased at the farmers market, and some potted parsley that got too dry! Here is a little ICU section of my garden. These are plants that I need to keep an extra eye on. ;)

Lastly, I am happy to report some garlic that has sprouted, almost forgotten from last season. It will be an additional bonus in this season’s harvest! Yum! :)

Happy Gardening!

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