Wednesday, April 30, 2008
I went to visit the library and sketched an outline of what the garden looks like. We're also working with our county horticulture agent, Ms. Wendy.
Here are the plants we'll be asking for donations for.
--Snow Square Stem
--Wild Cherry Tree
--Wild Lime or Citrus Tree
I'll keep you updated on the progress of the garden and the learning that my club kids are getting.
Monday, April 28, 2008
I did buy him some bare root sweet potato plants and he finished planting the corn. The tomatoes and peppers are blooming and the squash are amazing. I don't know why anyone would buy squash starter plants. They're so easy to start from seed!
Now, if only we could keep Tebow out of the garden and stop him from chewing through hoses!
Here's what I was able to get this time. I chose a lot of butterfly gardening plants because my 4-H club is getting ready to install a butterfly garden at the local library. I was going to ask for donations anyways, so this works pretty well.
I did get quite a bit of lantana. We won't be putting this in at the library because of the negative views of it. It actually was a plant that I had a really hard time putting in my landscape the first time. I grew up on an orange grove and, in orange groves, native lantana is very invasive and weedy. I spent much of my childhood spraying or pulling up lantana. Now, I love it (when it stays where it's supposed to) and appreciate it as a butterfly plant. We actually have several faculty members working on breeding a sterile version which is very exciting!
I love geraniums. They're so pretty and are great bloomers.
Zinnias for the butterfly garden. I didn't realize there were so many different cultivars and shapes that they came in!
This is the coleus everyone was jealous I got this year. Not sure which cultivar it is, but it's gorgeous! It's burgundy on the top of the leaves and lime green on the bottom. I've been told that it roots really easily from cuttings, so I'm going to to give it a try. Everyone's requesting a cutting once I get them going.
This is the sweet potato vine I was going to put in the container with it. Erin helped me out with picking it out. She's created a lot of awesome containers and has quite an artistic eye for them. I would never have chosen this to go with it, but I think it looks great.
This is the one on the outside of the fence away from Tebow. We're propping it up a little bit right now, but it's doing well. I sprayed a big area around it this weekend, so we can start turning it into a flower bed.
Friday, April 18, 2008
Here's my husband's bed. He's only got tomatoes, peppers, corn, and a little okra planted. He was planning on planting more corn and some watermelon seedlings. But, he's run into a little problem.
Here's the problem. See how the new growth on the tomatoes is curling up? We've been watching it for a couple of days and it's just getting worse. He did a couple of things different in his bed than I did in mine. First, he added composted horse manure. I just added new potting soil. He also planted his tomotoes about a week before me. Mine came from the same six pack, but don't seem to be affected.
Last night was our 4-H meeting and we're lucky enough to have several very expert parents in our group. The UF nematologist is one of the dads and he took the first look at them. Definitely not nematodes, maybe herbicide damage. John hasn't sprayed anything since last fall. One of the moms is a doctor of plant medicine (DPM) student, she thought it could be something viral, soil based, or herbicide also. Our speaker last night was our county horticulture agent. She thought it might be tomato curly leaf (or top - I'm not sure which) virus. They all took samples back and we'll see what they say. I have to say, it comes in pretty handy being in a university town sometimes. The DPM student did tell him that if this is happening to his new growth, then that's not a good sign and he would be best to rip them up and start over (just in case it is viral). So, John did the only thing he could do and ripped them up. He also ripped up his peppers since they also were starting to look a little affected. I don't think he'll be planting anything in the Solanaceae family (tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, potatoes - just about everything that we put in the spring garden) just to be on the safe side. So, he's going to plant more corn and watermelon.
So this means, I'M WINNING!
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Friday, April 4, 2008
His response: "I'll have to weigh her in and then weigh her out."
I thought this was pretty funny. I grew up going to the u-pick strawberry farms down in Tampa and loved this time of year. Here in north Florida, we have a lot more small u-pick sized operations up here. The kids and I are going to try and visit a blueberry u-pick this year and there's a very nice muscadine grape u-pick just down the road from us. If you've never gone u-pickin before, now is the time to try out. For farms in your area, you might check the Local Harvest site.
So, I was sitting at my computer catching up on my blogs and talking about my day with John, and I looked out the window.
Me: "AAAAAHHHH!!! He's eating my plants"
I rushed outside. Tebow had gotten Ichiban off the table and was eating the pot. I was able to rescue Ichiban and quickly replanted him. Tebow got a good scolding. And, everything was good.
Not 20 minutes later, I again looked at the window, and...
Me: "AAAAHHH!! He's eating more plants"
John: "Hurry, get them!"
I rushed out the door and into the backyard with John on my heels with the broom to swat the dog. The corn, eggplants, and Mr. Stripey were all over the ground. I was able to rescue most of the corn and eggplants, but Mr. Stripey bit the dust. I'm very upset over it. John is currently outside potting the corn and eggplants into small containers (outside the dog area), so that they don't dry out before we have a chance to plant them.
John: "It's just a stage. He'll grow out of it."
Me: "He better. Poor Mr. Stripey."
- How big do you want it to be?
- What do you want inside it? Table, playhouse, creek?
- What kind of look do you want it to have? soft, textured, etc?
- Do you want a gate or arbor?
He did give me a good suggestion, though. He thought using wax myrtles (Myrica cerifera) for the walls would be really good. They're native here and I can probably dig them up from the farm. Pluse they make great shrubs or small trees, depending on how you prune them. And, they fill in pretty quickly. All good things when thinking about the walls.
I did a little Internet serching on secret gardens for kids and didn't come up with much. Anyone have any ideas? What other plant material should I think about using? It has to be sturdy enough for the kids and the massive puppy. My kids are yound and could play in this for many years. Should I think about putting a playhouse in with maybe a creek or pondless water feature? How big do you think it should be? Any suggestions would be helpful...
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
"I don't know where it went."
I sat on the porch steps watching her and thinking how free and innocent she is. It's been a long time since I felt that way. But, I do remember being her age (or maybe a little older) and chasing dragonflies also. But, eventually we all have to grow up.
We finally went inside when the mosquitos got too bad.
I actually grew up on an orange grove, so I should now about these things, but instead I asked my mom who was a citrus grower for many years. She told me to use a citrus fertilizer and use one pound every 6-8 weeks. Then she says, "you do remember how to fertilize a citrus tree, don't you?" It's been awhile, but, yes mom, I do. Scatter it like chicken feed; don't clump it up.
I also asked Tom about it and he basically told me the same thing except every 4-6 weeks. He also recommended that I look at Your Florida Guide to Dooryard Citrus - Young Trees. It's a good reference for people with citrus trees in the backyard.
More on my citrus trees in a later post.
On another citrus note, I gave Kim a variegated pink lemon tree for Christmas as her secret santa. Well, it seems that she's let it go a little crispy. I bought myself one, too. I checked it last night and it seems to be okay.
I have a few caladiums from last year struggling to come up. We'll see how they do. Tom's told me that caladium bulbs in Florida get 50 percent smaller every year because of the poor soil.
I'm giving away the last of my lettuce. I brought most of it into work today. I have a little bit left in the garden, but it needs to leave soon. I can't start my garden for the guy vs. girl contest until the bed is empty.
We've got a couple new additions at our house. April and Sawyer, Holland lop bunnies, are joining us. They're going to be my son's new 4-H project. I'll have to keep them out of the garden, but they are so cute!
By the way , I love this idea - cattle panel arch trellis. I'm going to try to talk my husband into making this for me. I think we have all the materials at the house already and it would be a great way to repurpose other stuff.