Thursday, May 21, 2009

Is that the sun?

I saw it today. For a few short hours...the sun!

I prepped more squares for fall today as the thunder was rolling, and the wind was blowing a storm this way. I got 7 more squares ready with the kitchen compost.

Everything is looking great because of all of the rain! Add in that sun today and those are some happy plants! But we're looking at rain for the next week so I hope they don't get waterlogged.

My green onions are flowering. They are really a neat looking flower.

Sorry the pic is so fuzzy. It was beginning to rain and I was in a hurry.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Rain, Rain, Rain

I haven't been out in the garden in two days! It just keeps raining and raining and raining, which is great because we need it. But I miss getting out there. And some sun would be good for those plants too :) . I checked the weather and it is supposed to rain every day for the next ten days. At least! I guess tomorrow I'll just have to get out there and get some squares prepped with the kitchen scraps and pick any strawberries that are ready, whether it is raining or not.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Pics of the bunny cage

Today I cleared out the old carpet from the bunny cage and gave him new flooring from an old tablecloth. It looks much more bright and more like Spring! He's in there checking things out right now. I was trying to pull the old carpet out and he would keep coming back into the cage trying to figure out what I was doing LOL.

I think we used 3 boxes of shelving for it. The third column of squares from the left is the door which opens all the way from top to bottom. It is connected with cable ties on one side and then we have some little hooks (like at the end of a dog leash) holding closed the other side. This way we just unhook the door and open it and he can come out and hop around (after we secure the doggy door of course!) and go back in as he pleases. The "shelf" that the plastic container is on is just squares, cable tied together, and then wooden dowels supporting them so they don't bend under the weight. Wooden dowels also hold up the small shelf on the right, which is a real shelf wrapped in a towel, with one end of the towel left draped over the side so he has a privacy area. He loves to chew on the towel and especially the dowels underneath it. We replace those every few months. I'd put in PVC, but he really likes to chew them and it makes him happy. Dowels aren't that expensive!

Now it is time to go work the bunny berries and the kitchen scraps into the next few squares of my garden to prepare for fall. Slowly all of the squares are being emptied of crops and can rest until the fall planting, but they sure look empty and lonely. I'm thinking of trying to plant some lettuce under shade cloth and see how it does. Since I can't plant much of anything else, if it doesn't work I'm only out a few seeds. Whereas if it does work, I have fresh lettuce this summer!!! :)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

It's May!

Hurray, I'm now caught up! Yesterday I went out and checked the garden and found two more wayward sweet potatoes that had been missed last November (more slips were coming up!). Gonna eat those today.

Here's how the garden was growing so far in May.

Celery! Just cleared out the squares around it - finished off the lettuce and spinach.

Oops, forgot to turn this image. Oh well, sideways potato box :) . And some peppers, with herbs around the outer edges.

Harvested my first summer squash :)

More summer squash!

Another sideways pic: Cabbage, Cauli, Lima Beans, Bush Beans.

Corn! I know, I REALLY need to weed that bed.

Jake's huge sunflowers!!

And you'll recognize this one... The same as my header except that the ladybug had flown away and the butterfly had closed his wings. I love that header pic. It was so neat to catch that butterfly and the ladybug together on the sunflower.


The Spare - A - Square Program

Over Christmas & Thanksgiving I brought several salads and fresh veggies to meals. When the family remarked how good they were (that was all God's doing, LOL, I can't make things grow!), I mentioned that they could easily just have one little square box with some things growing. They declined, but my sister did laughingly suggest that I could spare a square for them (little Seinfeld reference there LOL). I thought that was a great idea!

So this year I "donated" squares to my family and they could choose what they wanted me to grow.

Dad took Lima Beans

Mom chose Cukes

Sis chose Cukes

Brother-in-Law chose Zucchini

Plus some herbs: dill, parsley, basil.

So I send them email updates with pics of how their plants are doing :) . And I'll deliver the harvest as it comes (we all live w/in 2 mi's of each other). So either I'll be lending out squares, or maybe they'll decide to have just one box of their own! :)

Still Catching up!

Alright, I've managed to condense the past year into just about a dozen blogs, and I'm almost done catching up to Real Time :) LOL. Then I'll be able to blog current stuff instead of backtracking, which will be nice!

Let's move into April. By this time I have been able to plant for Spring, which I missed last year. Last year the gardening bug bit me a little too late.
So as I was out planting, and watering, and checking things, I saw something in Jake's box. It was very familiar. It was.... a sweet potato slip! So I dug down, down, down... yep! Last November when we harvested these (or maybe it was October for his box), we missed one! It was perfect. We cleaned it off and ate it that night. It made the ones I'd just bought from the store seem completely tasteless. After this season I'm just going to take one of the potatoes and dig down into the box that I'll use next year and bury it. Then it can just do its thing naturally for next spring's season.

Here's some pics on what's going on in the garden in April 09.
Squash! It's growing great. I'm actually going to be able to harvest some this year. This is Jackpot summer squash.

Bush Beans. These are nice slender beans. I did pole beans last year but they were the big bulky ones. I didn't care for that. I did plant those again this year, but I'll like these better :) .


Monday, May 11, 2009

Fall / Winter

More stuff growing in the garden now that the weather is cooler.

Green Onions
Salad Bowl Lettuce
Ithica Lettuce

To the right:




Salad Bowl

Celery (tiny tiny sprouts you can't see here!)


Salad Bowl Lettuce


Look who's visiting! He has quite a harem of females that he brings over every day. I love listening to them all sing and chirp in the mornings. They like to chatter all day actually. :)

Uh-Oh, there's another male around (that other red blur)! That day we had 2 males and at least 7 females flitting in and out of the yard.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Color Blind Gardener

My son is red/green colorblind so working in the garden for him is a little different. Things that are red or green look brown to him - or any colors with those hues are quite different from what we would see. Here are some comparisons of how the world looks to him.

As you can imagine this makes it hard to determine living from dying just from a glance. Once he can get a comparison of green against brown it is easier for him to determine. Plus I caught on to his being colorblind when he was 4 so he's had a long time to know he has to pay a little more attention. Still, I forget at times. It isn't as if being colorblind is an obvious thing.

Harvesting Sweet Potatoes!

It is finally time. Today we'll dig down into the dirt and find out if anything actually grew these past few months. I've cut back all of the vines, what will we find??

Here's what we pulled out of Jake's box. Not bad!

We pulled about just as many out of my box the next day. Check out that long one that looks like a snake! They're a little long and skinny. I read that happens when the soil is too full of nutrients. This year I'm giving them a more sandy soil and see what happens.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Corn, Corn Everywhere!

But not mine. My ONE piece of corn that actually "grew" (we'll use that word loosely here), made it to about 3" long. I ate it raw and it was incredible. So SWEET. Made me feel even worse that the rest didn't grow. Not enough water? Not enough nutrients? Too much damage from the worms? I don't think so on the worm thing because the corn would start to grow and put out the silks. Then I would go and pollinate them by hand to help things along. I had green beans growing right with the corn to help feed nitrogen into the soil, and nothing had been planted into the beds prior to the corn. So I guess we'll go with not enough water at this point.

Ok, so where was the corn? At the Corn Maze of course!

We spent about 2 hours or so going through the corn maze - lots of fun! :) They had little places to answer questions and do pencil rubbings - all in an effort to keep you from following the right and going through it quick :) . Yes, that is something I learned in my geeky D&D days (alright, I'm still a online gaming geekette) - in a dungeon always follow the right.... or at least pick a side and always turn that way. I just prefer right to left. Not that I have ANY sort of direction sense, but still... And now that I see that pumpkin picture I realize that today I actually wore the exact same shorts and shirt when we went blueberry hunting (no picking since we didn't find the place, but that's a story for a later blog, remember, we're only in Oct 08 still).

Planting time!

Whoohoo, time to plant some...plants! Or seeds that is. What is going into the garden for fall??
Here's the list: for late summer/fall 2008
Beans (pole)
Bon Bon Squash
Raven Squash
Brandywine & Beefmaster tomatoes
Watermelon ( sugar baby)
Green Onions

So what happened to my corn?

This nasty thing attacked it - a cutworm or army worm?
It curled up in the whorl in the mornings. I did a few things to get rid of it. One - I pulled them out and stomped on them. Two - I poured black pepper into the whorl. Yep, just regular black pepper and they died.

July & August in the garden - not much going on!

One of our 3 banana plants that we purchased. I think this one is the "ice cream" banana. Here's a little tip. Write it down! If you don't write it down you will forget. I have 3 banana trees, in 3 different color pots to tell them apart. Do you think I can remember which one goes where a year later? Uh, no. I can't even remember the 3 types of banana plants... one was ice cream, another was misi luki, and the other was, was, was. Ugh, I can't remember! It was a more normal name, unlike Misi Luki. I mean, c'mon, I can remember Misi Luki but not Grand Nain! It was Grand Nain. And how is that more normal than Misi Luki?? Ok, whatever. Obviously I've lost my mind. But there you go. 3 banana plants, 3 different color pots. Wonder who goes where? They actually survived all of the freezes this year but they are not very big now.

What's next? Oh, the compost tumblers. I've spent all of my money already at this point on the beds and mulch so for compost I attempted to build a thing...a sort of wall/shelter thing and pile it in. No, that doesn't work well. So Ted made me some compost tumblers out of garbage cans. Yay Ted! I'm still trying to get the hang of making compost. I'm on my 2nd batch in those now.

Here we have some future veggies getting ready for the August/September planting. I can't wait! It is getting boring just having sweet potatoes. Actually, it really isn't. Maybe for you all reading these it is, but I went out and checked on them every day! :) I think I have some squash, watermelon and tomatoes getting ready here.

And then a few weeks later, here is my squash with a beautiful flower - and a really neat looking moth hanging on inside. He looks like a stealth bomber in there.

And that's all going on for July in the garden (and part of August)

What's going on in the garden?

Alright enough side tracking with birds, bunnies & Bok! What is happening in the garden itself? This IS a blog about my garden, right? Well, I get sidetracked easily :) .
Let's see how the garden is going.... Hmm... Ok, I have some pics of... Oh! Ok, I have to go because my mom just called and we're going blueberry picking. I will come back and edit this and add pics later this afternoon. (Not that anyone even KNOWS I have a blog going since I just started it yesterday - But just in case someone, somehow, stumbles upon my blog, that's the scoop!)

Ok, I'm back after driving around looking for blueberries! LOL. That story can wait though.

Here's my bed that has a few sweet potato slips and some bell pepper plants that I bought at Lowe's.
Now just a few weeks later those sweet potato vines are growing insanely! I learned that summer that sweet potatoes need their own box...and they don't like to stay in it! :)

Those pepper plants wilted away rather soon and that's another thing I learned. Summer is TOO HOT and TOO HUMID in FL for pepper plants - even if the store IS selling them. Don't fall for it. Or at least maybe you can try to shade them? I didn't want to spend the money on shade cloth if I wasn't even sure I would end up liking gardening. Ah, and here we have some little radishes popping up!

>>>> over there >>>>>, see >>> :)

And then just a few moments later! A radish! (Ok, it was really more like almost a month...

There's those crazy sweet potatoes! They eventually take over the world you know...

And that about sums things up for June 08. June is a very boring garden month in FL when you're just starting. Now this year (09) I think I will have some things finishing up around June and it won't look as barren and boring.

Garden Adventures

Jake & I took a few trips to some gardens nearby (and not so nearby). We drove up to the Botanical Gardens at USF. It was okay. I guess I wasn't sure what to expect. I liked the Thyme Bed (right).
We also made a trip to Historic Bok Sanctuary in Lake Wales. Ok, I wish I lived there! That must be the most peaceful place I have ever been. While we were looking over a small pond with a swan swimming in it Jake said to me "It is so beautiful that I could cry". I gave a little chuckle and nodded my head and he said "No, I mean it. I am tearing up and it is so beautiful my heart hurts. If this is just a little taste of what Heaven is like I can't even imagine the real thing". I thought I was going to cry right there because I was so proud of him for 1. appreciating the world God created for us and 2. recognizing that it is only a shadow of the real thing. It is my desire to instill in him a love for the natural beauty of our world - at 11 years old for him to say that...well I feel that I am succeeding.

Here are some more pics, from my camera which does not do the place justice.

Do you see the size of those lily pads below? They are 4-6 feet across. The flower in the middle (at the very back of the photo) is huge. Maybe a foot and a half high and it is just the bud at that point. I wish I could have seen it bloom!

Fountain behind the old mansion.

The tower in the reflecting pond.

I have more. But I'm tired of uploading and moving the pics where I want them! LOL.