Eggplants! Or as my littlest gardener would say, “Egg-ants!”
Our eggplant crop was the largest & most sucessful of our late summer gardening efforts this year. The littlest gardener really enjoyed the purple veggies.
We chatted about ways to cook them on our Facebook Page this month & our followers came up with some wonderful recipes for me to try! Here’s two delicious suggestions:
Greek Moussaka (submitted by Mastergardening)
Eggplant, Flower and Haloumi stack (submitted by Caroline Webster, who is also fun to follow on Twitter)
My littlest gardener found she liked to draw with chalk on the egg-ants we harvested each week.
She also enjoyed kissing them!
And she even picked some of their flowers & counted to three for me one morning!!!
We are down to just a few eggplants left growing this season. I plan on making my families’ favorite Eggplant Parmesan (with fresh basil) one last time.
We enjoyed a nice weekend at home, with no agendas, no schedules, no company & nothing too important to do! Our busy little family doesn’t get a weekend like this very often, so we are very thankful for the easy of this weekend.
The garden has been very productive since our last update. We have eaten our first tomato of the season, among other yummy things. I love to update with pictures so here they are!
We have tons of tomatoes!
Our new squash blooms.
The first signs of okra!
We have a row of new sunflowers.
We replanted forgotten lemon grass.
The first of our eggplants are appearing!
Our green peppers are appearing as well!
We removed some parsley from the full sun & planted it in partial sun, under our banana trees. It is doing much better.
Since our Florida weather has warmed up we have taken learning outdoors!
Last month our Rock Bluff Garden gave us some left over pieces of azek. Azek is a PVC material that is waterproof and great for outdoor uses. Our Rock Bluff gardeners used it to build their floating river garden boxes. We decided to use some of the pieces as garden markers!
First we painted the azek pieces with chalk board paint and after they dried, we stuck them in the garden! Our little gardener is learning how to read, so now the azek markers are helping her read outside! We use chalk to write words & messages to the garden. We like to secretly change the marker to surprise the little one with new words each week.
So far we have used the markers to help teach the following words:
- Keep Out
- Eat Me!
Of course the markers could be used for traditional purposes, like marking seedlings & identifying crops. All around, this is just a great way to keep this material out of the landfill!
Happy (Learning and) Gardening!
We’ve been busy bees: planting seeds, harvesting fresh vegetables, composting, and eating! Life in the garden has been fabulous.
Here’s an update in pictures…
Onions & lettuce dominated the garden this winter.
Onions will be ready soon. Granex Hybrid
Lil gardeners love helping me harvest the lettuce with their wagons!
Our Baby Red Mix Lettuce was easy & fun to grow this year.
Still plenty of Bibb Lettuce (in different stages) in the garden.
Rosemary is the only herb doing well & available for cooking at the moment.
So much fresh lettuce, we’ve been giving it to our neighbors & friends!
taking a break…
We also planted the following seeds over the weekend… my little gardeners can’t wait for the sunflowers & carrots to sprout!
Sweet Pepper (Big Dipper)
Sunflowers (Teddy Bear)
Eggplant (Black Beauty)
Carrots (Purple Dragon)
Spring is almost here! Happy Gardening!
This week we found ourselves trying to stay warm indoors. Since we couldn’t get outside to play & work in the garden, we brought the garden inside (well via some painting).
In preparing for spring we had ordered our seeds online a few weeks ago & upon arriving in the mail my little gardener was very curious about the new seed packets. When she found out one of the packets were Purple Dragon Carrots, carrots that were purple on the outside & orange on the inside, she was more than delighted!!! She wanted to know where I had gotten them, how long before we could plant them, how many days would it take to grow them & what would they would taste?! After telling her to slow down, I answered all her questions. :)
Earlier in the day before the seeds arrived, we had been learning about sequences & the order of things in our home & in our world. My little gardener wanted to know what the sequence of the purple carrots would be & I told her to think about it & to tell me what it would be. She went to her arts & crafts table & came back and asked for five pieces of paper & something to draw with. I smiled & dug out the paint (her favorite) & she drew the sequence of our purple dragon carrots for me! I love how she ended the sequence with the carrots on the dinner plate, such an important part of the relationship we have with the earth & the food we eat. Our lesson even got mommy excited about the purple dragon carrots.
Purple Dragon Carrot Info (I will report & post pictures in the spring garden)
Gloriously sweet with the richest, most intense purple color.
Slice it, shred it, love it. This gloriously sweet carrot is the richest, most intense purple. We love to make a cool summer carrot salad of yellow, orange and purple varieties, delicious and a treat for the eyes. Carrot aficionados (and who isn’t) will delight in this unique, yet tasty, variety with its purple skin and light yellow core. 65-70 days.
Sun: Full Sun
Height: 4-8 inches
Days to Maturity: 65-70 days
taken from: http://www.burpee.com/vegetables/carrots/carrot-purple-dragon-prod000637.html?catId=2009&trail=
Current Garden Contents:
cucumbers, radishes, corn, cubanelle peppers, cherry tomatoes, okra
For this months post I took pictures at the beginning & at the end of the month. I think this helps show how quickly things can change & how a garden can entertain!
The garden is a buzz with life! The cucumbers are climbing well & looking healthy. Ants have been bothering my yellow cucumber blooms though so I’ve been sprinkling cinnamon & white pepper. However, this just made the ants move to another cucumber plant. I plan on reapplying & hope they won’t do too much harm. I have dozens of baby cucumbers!
My cubanelle pepper plants are the most mature. One is giving me two beautiful peppers that should be ready any day! Cucumbers & cherry tomatoes are next in maturity. Both are showing us lots of tiny veggies & yellow flowers! Okra, corn & radishes are in the earliest stage of growth & all have been under attack by bugs. I had to spray Organocide (an organic insecticide & fungicide) & will have to again this week. I’m a bit worried about the corn. I have never had success (or space) for growing it but my four year old daughter really wanted to grow it this season so were giving it a try. I hope I can get a few ears big enough to excite her!
Check out the rest of the garden blog for updates too!!! Backyard Gardeners are sending in picutres & reports & I even had a chance to update the farmers market page!
Port Orange Intracoastal Sunset
The first month of summer has arrived! June 22 is the summer solstice however because of Florida’s close proximity to the Tropic of Cancer our summer starts earlier & lasts longer. As we look to the long months of summer here are some hot weather tips:
- It is important to fertilize your garden in the summer time, especially if you have sandy soil &/or a garden plot. Florida’s afternoon thunderstorms & consistent watering can leach away nutrients in the soil the plants needs for food.
- Insects will stay on the prowl this month & all summer long. We won’t get a break from the chance of infestation until the cooler weather sets in. (One of the many reasons I think winter gardening in Florida is awesome!) Our best fight against pests is to catch them early so check on your garden daily. Look for ants near flowering cucumbers or caterpillars under leaves. Leave spider webs intact! Garden spiders are beneficial predators & great for the garden! They just need to be left alone. We garden with children too & most garden spiders don’t bite! There are only a few poisonous spiders in Florida (http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in011) & all enjoy undisturbed dark areas, not backyard gardens!
- A common black and yellow argiope spider with lots of bugs in her web.
If you’re interested in vegetable gardening this summer, despite the pests & weather, I have found that onions, sweet corn & snap beans do wonderful in the summertime!
I am so excited to be online & starting a sustainable gardening blog!
I think it’s important to grow your own food & to support food grown in your own community! My blog will cover Florida gardening practices & specialize in local backyard gardening for Central Florida. I hope to support other local farming efforts, like u pick farms, local produce stands & area farmers markets!
I hope those interested in gardening, especially vegetable gardening, will find inspiration, encouragement & knowledge here, through the awesome backyard gardeners I support!
7 Reasons Why You Should Grow Your Own Food