This is one of the varieties I bought. I went with more traditional colors this year. This one is really unusual and I like the way the bracts seem to form flowers.
Thursday, December 6, 2007
Today was the UF Poinsettia Open House. I arrived at 8 am and it was already crazy. I bought 3 poinsettias for myself, 2 for mother-in-law, and a Christmas cactus (since I didn't get my to bloom this year).
I also took a lot of pictures and practiced with the macro lens. This was one of the best shots I got. The lighting looks really good. White poinsettias are not my favorite, but they were very pretty today.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Here's a picture of the garden growing nicely. The lttuce have taken off. This is really an experiment year for me - trying to figure out what I can grow and what I like to grow. Lettuce and greens do well, I'll have to stick with them.
I've expanded my garden into some old containers we had. This is a mineral block container for cattle that we've repurposed. My husband drilled wholes in the bottom of it for drainage and filled it with composted horse manure. I planted the grape tomatoes that I started from seed in it. I think the manure maybe too dense and doesn't allow drainage. The plants don't seem to be growing. We'll see. I may paint the container next summer to give it a little color for the garden.
I added some bare root strawberry plants. I lost a few in the first cold snap of the season, but since they come 25 in a bundle for $5, it wasn't too big a deal.
Here is the squash. I love growing squash. They do great and it's one of my favorite vegetables. I was hand pollinating for awhile, but the bees have discovered my squash patch and so I no longer need to hand pollinate. I picked my first crop out of there this weekend and made a squash casserole. It was yummy.
Also in my squash patch was the giant pumpkin that my dad brought me. The key word here being was. I killed it with the first freeze. I didn't cover it. Totally my fault. Unfortunately, my dad came up the day after the freeze and all he got to see were the mushy remains of the pumpkin plant.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Recently, a co-worker dug up some of their 4 o'clocks and shared them with the office. I put four by my back porch. They're amazingly hardy and have taken to their spot. And, they've already started blooming! I'm really excited to have these plants. They remind me so much of my grandma.
Monday, October 15, 2007
Tomatoes in the Earth box - they always do great in this.
Bed #1 - mostly root vegetables - radishes, carrots, rutabagas
Bed #2 - mostly greens - lettuce, collards, turnips
Squash rows - they've exploded in growth this last week
John's cutting the wood for the frame here. The saw is a little too loud for the kids.
Screwing the frame together. Kaity's helping with her blankie. It goes everywhere with her - even wood working projects.
Dressing the scarecrow - I bought the shirt from Goodwill for $2.50 and used some of John's old jeans.
Stuffing the scarecrow
Almost finished - just headless!
Making the face - we used an old pillowcase and Will drew the face. He did a pretty good job. The first time he did it the smile wasn't big enough. Here he's making it smile bigger.
We love the scarecrow!
Made it to the garden. "Uncle" looks great (Will named him). The only problem is I keep thinking someone is standing outside my kitchen window. It's a little freaky to see him there all the time!
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
John hates snakes. Since he grew up on the farm, I find this very funny. But, he can't stand them. He's actually bought Snake-Away (which I think is just a gimmick) to spread around the house. It's just crushed up moth balls, but it makes him feel better. Whatever works for him.
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
RAIN!! - It finally rained this last week. We got 4.3 inches over 5 days. In comparison, we probably got 8 inches all summer! So, even though we're thankful for all the rain. It's also a lot of rain at once. I was really worried about my vegetable garden. My seedlings were close to being flooded. But, they survived and it's all good now.
Worms are eating my veggie plant! I planted my pumpkin seedlings Sunday a week ago. By Thursday, they'd been eaten to the ground. We finally discovered the culprit - little green worms. I was really upset when I discovered they were also eating my squash seedlings that were just popping out of the ground. We've dusted with Sevin dust a couple times (it keeps raining and washing it off). That should help keep the pest problem down a little. John also has put a little fertilizer out and some pelleted dolomitic lime. Our soil pH is really low and the veggie plants don't really like this. (I'll have more on this in another posting later this week.)
4-H and Vermiculture - My 4-H group is meeting tonight. We're starting a vermiculture project. I'm really excited about this project. Tonight we're building the earthworm box and next week we'll put earthworms in. Billy Crow, one of our 4-H dads and a UF nematologist, is helping us out with this project. I think he's more excited than the kids are about it.
Butterfly Festival - The Florida Museum of Natural History has a Butterfly Festival this weekend. I'm going to take my kids. It looks like it has a lot of fun activities and a lot of teaching opportunities about pollinators and butterfly gardening. We should able to come up with some 4-H projects about it also.
Thursday, October 4, 2007
Some of the team is going out to lunch today to celebrate. I think we deserve it after a year of production, awards, and compliments. Congratulations, team!
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
We put up a traditional swing and a twirly swing a couple of weeks ago. They love the traditional swing, but they may still be a little small for the twirly swing. Here they are sharing a ride while I try to get a picture of them together.
A couple months ago, we also cut down a pine tree that could have the potential of falling on our house. The tree was about 60 feet tall and we now have big 6 foot sections around the yard. My kids love these. It's like climbing a tree - only horizontally instead of vertically. It makes me nervous, but I know other than some probable scraped knees, they're pretty safe. Eventually, I want to roll these sections into a circle around the fort and swing area to kind of contain the play area.
Our office coordinates the Florida School Garden Competition. We recently were redoing the poster and needed a child to be the star. Will was the perfect candidate. You can see how he's the "earth mover" here and just about the right age for the school garden competition. So, 4,000 elementary schools in Florida are going to have a big poster of my son on their walls. He's quite the superstar!
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
On Saturday, I got John to till for me. This is the finished tilled area.
John then measured out the boards (with his helper). Our beds our 8 feet by 4 feet, so we used 8 foot 2x6s. He also anchored them on the corners about 8 inches into the ground.
Here, John cut the boards. He wants me to mention not to use him as an example for safety.
Putting them together - again with help.
Beds set in the garden.
Me actually working. We got bulk potting soil(actually borrowed it from my mother-in-law) and composted horse manure to fill the beds in with.
The finished product!!
We planted mums in the front of the bed to add a little color. We also planted the seedlings I had started - tomatoes, pumpkin, broccoli, beets, lettuce, and collards. We planted seeds of (more) pumpkin, three squash varieties, two pea varieties, turnips, rutabagas, mustard, carrots, and radishes. I started some cabbages in seedling trays. We have tomatoes in the earth box and we still have more tomatoes to plant.
As you can see, we have two beds and then rows in the ground in back. We decided to start small with the beds to see if they work for us. I put the vining vegetables (squash, pumpkin, peas) in the rows in back to give them more room.
We also mulched with some of our yard trash (FYN principle #4). We had a pine tree come down recently and we still had a bunch of pine bark and yard trash on the ground. I used that and oak leaves to start filling in around the beds and in between the rows. I'm going to get some old hay from the barn to fill in the rest.
Check out our Raised Bed Gardening in a Minute show. It's got a lot more links and info about gardening with raised beds. Which by the way, I already love! It looks great and I'm hoping it keeps the weeds down.
This is Kaity - my own personal garden fairy. She's two and a half and absolutely loves flowers. She's been helping me garden the last couple of days. While it can be really frustrating gardening with a 2 year old, I know that she can't hurt anything either. I have to remember that even though I can maybe do it better or prettier than her, she's having a great time and learning something about plants.
Her brother, Will, is the earth mover. I'll get some pictures up of him and his amazing ability to move dirt, rocks, and sticks.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Tom's giving an overview of plants here.
One of our older members was a big help showing the younger ones how to plant.
All the kids with their finished container gardens.
Originally, we had wanted to do pineapple plant containers with the kids. Normally, we go to the local grocery store and ask the produce manager to save the tops of the pineapples they cut up. Unfortunately, Dole no longer ships pineapples with tops on them. We tried two other grocery stores, but guess who supplies their pineapples? Dole. So, I guess this means no more pineapple containers for all the classes and 4-H groups who do this. I am going to write a letter to Dole and ask them if there is anyway we can get pineapple tops another way. Kids love this project and it would be a shame to never be able to do it again.