September in the Garden

Bugs, Bugs and more Bugs should be the title of this post!  I have had most of the garden attacked by bugs, specifically little caterpillars. Sticking with my organic gardening rules I have only hand removed them or sprayed with them water. I’ve noticed the lizard, wasp and assassin bugs have been helping me as well!


The radishes are starting to come back with new leaves growing everywhere, and some of the seeds I replanted have sprouted.


The Seminole pumpkins have been left alone by the bugs and it’s looking like we will have our own pumpkins for Halloween and Thanksgiving this year!

The summer’s sweet potatoes are also blooming! I even dug one up to show the little gardeners they were growing under the soil!


And this is the garden’s mystery plant… in all the replanting we’ve done I’ve lost track of what has been planted where. Partially because of my little gardeners “helping” me. 😉   Guess we will see what this turns out to be… 

Lots of wildlife in the garden while I was taking pictures…


Happy Gardening!


Lazy Summer Update

Gardening is very slow this time of year.  Instead of fighting the heat, bugs and storms, we take some time to nurture our soil.  We have one eggplant left to eat, sweet potatoes trying to fight off bugs, and most of the garden under cover for a little solarization. Here are some photos from the the end of July:

Lots of mushrooms from the afternoon thunderstorms.
Lil gardener watching the last space shuttle take off.
Our first attempt at sweet potatoes.

Some news to report:

We had a hungry paper wasp devour a green caterpillar in front of us. I read they will kill the caterpillars and bring them back to the nest for food for their larvae, but we watched the little guy eat the caterpillar bite for bite. Maybe it will be regurgitated when she returns to the nest? The research wasn’t clear. It was amazing to witness though!!! I’ve never seen a wasp sit still for so long.  

The Crape myrtles are also heavy with blooms and bees this year.  Better enjoy them while they last!

Happy Gardening!

July’s Garden Outlook

Summer in our Florida garden is full of humidity, heat, bugs & thunderstorms.  Our sunflowers have completed their growing cycles, but they were still beautiful on their way to seed.


There is still an abundance of eggplant in the garden. I’ve been chatting on our facebook page about how to cook them & my followers have given me some awesome recipe suggestions!

Our tomatoes, green peppers, okra & squash have all either been defeated by disease & bugs or have completed their growing cycles.   However, the parsley, sage, oregano & comfy herbs are doing quite well. Here is some potted Italian parsley that has been delicious to cook with this summer.

Pineapple mint is also on its way out.  The blooms are beautiful though. I will need to dry some for my winter teas soon. 

Afternoon thunderstorms are frequent now. My avocado plants are loving this tropical weather pattern!

Can’t have too many thunderstorms without seeing a rainbow!

The swamp lilies are next in line to bloom in the backyard. I love their white blooms in the summertime!

Happy Gardening!

June Gardening Update

It’s hot in the garden these days! I refrain from using the term ‘miserably hot’, as I’m saving it for a later summer garden post, but it is hot here in Central Florida! So hot now that it is affecting our garden.

To be honest I have additionally neglected the garden the last couple of weeks. Life has been busier than usual lately & full of its blessings & problems. When I finally got to the garden, I realized it is one of those problems now.

The pepper plants are wilted & dying. The okra & marigolds are covered with white spots, (which I hope isn’t Botrytis Blight) and the tomatoes have fruit worms loving them from top to bottom. Even the sunflowers seem to have black & yellow on their leaves. Boo!

Every time I try to extend my gardening season, this is what happens. I do not like gardening in Florida in June & July. I should let this be a lesson (or a reminder). I should wrap up spring gardening in May. Then, solarize & improve the garden soil in June & July, while getting ready to start planting in late August.

After taking a closer look at the peppers, I’m just not sure what is going on there. There is no sign of pest or infestation. All six big beautiful peppers & the plants’ leaves are all wilted. A few days of watering didn’t improve anything; a few days of no water didn’t improve anything either. I opened up one of the peppers & it is crisp on the inside but leathered & wilted on the outside. Oh well, I pulled them up, along with the okra & made sure they didn’t go in the compost. The marigolds might go next. I will need to do some more research on the spots. Hoping it is nothing major in my soil. 😦

Even my Vicky’s plant was by the potted basil & getting too much water this month.

I am thankful for the eggplants. They look great & there is purple all over the garden. I could also note the tomatoes are not a total loss. I’m removing the fruit worms & the three big plants are producing more tomatoes than I need…so far.

Happy, errr, Gardening.

A Mini Florida Vacation

I recently posted about having to leave my garden for a little vacation.  I am happy to report that almost everything survived my absence!  The leek sprouts didn’t make it.  I later read that they grow much better in the Fall here in Florida, so it is probably for the best. I will try again in September. 

Here are a few photos of our vacation to the Gulf of Mexico. It was the first time we had visited since the oil spill last year.  Man, do I love that ocean!

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My 101 on Lilies

When it comes to stepping out of the box, the vegetable garden box…I am a novice gardener.  However, I have been slowly developing a love for lilies. Maybe it’s because two close friends in very different circles, had babies they named Lily. Or maybe it’s because every year on my daughter’s birthday, our Amaryllises bloom. Whatever the case I have been learning more about them and looking for ways to carefully incorporate them into the garden.

Our Amaryllis Lilies bloom just once in March and April and bear cluster of four red flowers.  These lily bulbs were given to be my hair stylist over seven years ago. I have transplanted them everywhere we have moved.

Next in line to bloom will be our Swamp Lily. When I moved in with my husband over ten years ago, he showed up with a house plant. Once we moved into our first home, I moved that house plant outside and within a few weeks we had a Swamp lily that was huge and blooming (which it never had done before)!  That following summer the four foot lily gave me more than twenty baby lilies. I dug them up and gave them to some of my gardening friends. Swamp lilies will start to bloom in April or May, depending on the weather, and will continue to bloom until it gets cold again.

New to our yard this year are Gloriosa lilies.  A friend gave me some of these tropical lily bulbs.  I researched what they looked like and how they would need a trellis for assistance. I had an old one lying around, so I thought I’d throw it up in a bare spot and plant these free lilies. One of them is close to showing us its first bloom!

One important thing to note…most lilies are toxic!!! Even my Easter lily is toxic, which I moved outside as soon as I realized this.  I am thankful it never made my children or animals sick since it took residence in my living room for the last five years. With a wild toddler age gardener, a cat and a dog to consider, you can never be too careful.  That’s one nice thing about vegetable gardening…you never have to worry about eating something poisonous! 🙂

Happy Gardening!

Spring Update 3/20/11

Hello Friends! We are busy bees in our garden right now! We are trying to enjoy every minute of spring, as we know the heat & summer will be here before we know it (or want it). I decided to let the pictures guide our update this afternoon. Enjoy!

The first of the spring radishes are popping up everywhere!

Lettuce was in abundance this year. We have let a few heads continue to grow in hopes of harvesting our first seeds. Boy, have they gotten tall!  If I have read correctly, they will bloom & then produce a seed head. (If any of my gardener readers have suggestions here that would be great). I thought it would be cool to plant my own seeds next year and of course I felt like some of the lettuce wasn’t going to go to waste. We just had way too much!

The first strawberry of the season! It seems our switch from growing the strawberries in the ground to growing them in containers is going to be successful.

These Teddy Bear Sunflowers were our first organic seed purchased on Etsy. We have about 8-10 sprouts along the garden wall right now. Something has been enjoying a taste of them though!

Our French Dwarf Double Mixed Color Marigold seeds are sprouting! This is the first time we have tried to grow marigolds from seeds. They were also purchased on Etsy from a fabulous master gardener! My little gardening girls are always excited to grow flowers!

 Tomatoes are one of our favorites but I have had terrible luck with them all my gardening years.  They didn’t even make it into the spring garden last year.  However, I like a challenge every now and then, so I purchased these celebrity tomatoes from a local nursery. Four of them were added to the container portion of our garden space.  Fingers crossed… 

No matter how much it is neglected, this aloe grows great in our backyard.  My grandfather gave me some of his aloe crop years before he died. He’s now been gone almost nine years.  I have it growing everywhere and have given tons of it away.  I’m always getting new aloe shoots, like the ones shown above.


The Herb Garden. After another cold Florida winter I have decided to grow some of my herbs inside next winter! We missed having fresh, easily accessible cooking herbs. For now, they are starting to return.  From left to right: rosemary (we’ve never seen it to thick), Greek oregano, (forgotten) sprouts of lavender, and pineapple mint.

Our final photo for this update… our Florida Avocado sprout. We made several attempts before we successfully sprouted one.  My oldest gardener has nicknamed it “Roots,” as she was quite impressed with all the roots that first appeared from an avocado she ate and then stuck in water with toothpicks. 😉

More updates soon. Happy Gardening!