Friday, September 19, 2014

Well here we are half way through September and I have nothing but peppers and sweet potatoes growing right now in the garden boxes.  This summer was brutal for us Florida gardeners.  I have avoided working outside but need to get those fall seedlings in the ground so I guess I will be sweating it this weekend to get a couple of beds weeded for the transplants.
In the meantime, "What have you been doing all summer Bekah"?  Well I have been working on the inside of my house getting my two kids bedrooms painted and remodeled.  They are just about magazine worthy if I may say myself.  It has been a saga restoring furniture and then getting it all set up to have a restored bed split down all the side rails of the sleigh.  Now my daughter is thrilled because I replace the twin sleigh with a queen sleigh, installed wood laminate floors in her room and just about killed myself doing a custom wall in her room that is pretty amazing I must say.

Here is Cassie's room:

Here is Orion's Room:

Now I have been working on my office in preparation for working from home and needing to be organized.  Next project for Monday is to start on my bedroom and bathroom with purging, cleaning, painting, and mini-makeover.  After that I should be done for a while and can go back outside and start pulling plants and weeding my landscape.

I am trying to decide if I want to replace my dying jasmine with edibles rather than replant the area with pretty but useless ornamental plants.  Trying to make up my mind.  As soon as I figure out Pintrest I will get these pics up there as well.

Everyone have a beautiful weekend and welcome Fall!

Friday, May 23, 2014

May 23rd Harvest

Today was a good day in my garden.  I worked all morning harvesting vegetables and clearing out some of the garden boxes.  I harvested the pitiful end of our broccoli and cauliflower, white onions, sweet yellow onions, radishes, amarillo carrots, French market carrots, and one sweet pepper.
 The squash box was a total disaster area.  I pulled the dead cucumbers, scallop squash, crookneck squash, and zucchini as well as hundreds of weeds.  I can't seem to grow any type of squash and make it work.  I am getting frustrated but forging forward with new cucumbers, crookneck, and zucchini seedlings.  I have scoured the internet reading tips from all kinds of gardeners and I am hoping that I have found the correct method.  I added a ton of compost and made small mounds.  I ran string from the top cage arch to stakes in the ground for the vines to grow up. I started some pots of seeds using sweet peppers, Amana orange tomatoes, Great White Tomatoes, Cape Gooseberries, Chocolate Habaneros, and Francesca habaneros.  Tomorrow I will add the hay to mulch the box replant my last crop of radishes, plant more green beans
The caterpillars have started to get into my tomatoes and we are out several times a day picking them off and feeding them to the girls.  We seem to be staying on top of them without the use of nasty pesticides. 
It will be a busy weekend out in the gardens.  Our tomatoes have some orange color to them and I cannot wait to taste one of them!  I will take some more pictures of the actual garden boxes tomorrow so you can see the results of the days work.
On another note I encountered a huge water snake in my back yard.  Of course I had to get close to it's face to see if it had round pupils or slitted pupils.  Luckily it turned out to be a Banded Water Snake.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Happy Hump Day Gradeners

 So I learned something very interesting this weekend.  We had some severe weather here on Friday with a lot of rain.  It pretty much fell from Friday morning through Saturday afternoon.  My okra has not been making any impressive growth this spring and I was starting to suspect that they would not be a strong crop this year.  However, after 2 days of rain and NO sunshine they have exploded!  I mean these things were maybe 8 inches tall maximum and then yesterday I checked on them and they must be 18 inches tall and already have okra growing on them.  That is the amazing miracle of nature. 
This prompted me to wonder what made fresh rain so incredible versus my rain barrel water and such.  Here is the best information that I found out there.
Does lightning enhance nitrogen in soil?
Nitrogen is one of three important fertilizer elements used to support plant growth, together with Phosphorus and Potassium. Lightning does enhance nitrogen in soil. It works by breaking down Nitrogen in the atmosphere, so it can combine with Oxygen; the resulting molecules dissolve in rainwater and falls to the ground. About 5 to 8% of the Nitrogen used by plants (or available in the soil) originates in this way. By the way, Master Gardeners tell me it's important not to depend only on chemical fertilizers-that organic substances found in compost, for example, and other sources are also critical to plant health and growth.

So get your rain makers out and do a rain dance.  I would love to have 1-2 rainy days a week!

Here are pictures of my habanero pepper plant last Thursday and then again on Monday this week!

Uh Yah......gotta love that rain.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

May 3, 2014

Safety Tip 1:  Well since it is raining I seem to have a little extra time on my hands inside today.  I thought that I would share my first safety tip today.  If you are like me you don't like to see any animals suffer.  So you can understand my disappointment when I found a black racer snake dead in my yard tangled in bird netting.  I had it placed over my koi pond to keep out an annoying heron that was having breakfast daily on my goldfish.  So I removed it from the pond since I haven't seen the heron in over three weeks now.  I have animal fencing around my gardens to keep out the animals that love to snack on my veggies.  However, I ran out of fencing and decided to use the bird netting on the back side of the box against the hedge.  A week later there was a HUGE black racer stuck in the netting and it was cutting into his body pretty badly.  It took me about 15 minutes to get him free of the netting.  I had just bought another roll of fencing that very day so we took down the netting and put up the fencing.  My husband put the netting on a chair and we forgot about it.  Well the other day I found it on the ground with another snake stuck in it.  I took this video for all of you.  This stuff is terrible and the black racers are one of a gardeners best friends.  The following day my neighbor had one stuck in her netting.  I highly recommend that you not use this stuff if you do not want to be handling these guys.

Oh my Butt Egg

Okay, so this is the biggest egg I have ever seen come out of a chicken!  The dark brown egg on the left is what you would buy at the grocery store in a jumbo carton.  My friend Donna gave me a duck egg to try a while back and this egg is the same size as the duck egg if not a little bigger. Sunday breakfast should be interesting with this beauty...a double yolk most likely.
So I woke up to downpours yesterday morning and they tapered off to steady rain to drizzles all day and through the night.  Today I wake up and it is still drizzling and the weather man says we can expect this until early this evening.  My gardens are very happy with all the natural rain water.  My squash is struggling to pollinate and I think that they are lacking nitrogen.  I am ordering bat guano for them today.  Hopefully, I will get out in the garden later today so that I can tend my beautiful heirloom tomatoes.  I ordered some new seeds from Pepper Joe that came in the mail yesterday and I will be soaking them overnight.  They are chocolate habaneros, Francisca peppers, and they also send you two free packets of pepper seeds of their choosing.  So I also have Takanotsume pepper seeds (never heard of them before but they are HOT) and Pasilla Bajio Pepper a mildly hot pepper that grows to 7" long.  My haitian husband loves habaneros so perhaps these will be good in his pickley.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Well I am home recouping from surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff and bicep.  Before I went in yesterday I was able to finish transplanting most of my plants.  I am building a fun little corner that I have named "My Boudoir Garden"  I have secured 2 toilets, and a bathtub.  All I need is a pedestal sink for my pineapple.  The tub is for my artichokes and this beauty below is my white eggplant and my black beauty eggplant.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

March 15, 2014

Today we picked our first radish harvest and they are so tasty!  We now have almost everything in the ground and growing well.  Today I will be working on our "Toilet" planter for an eggplant and some herbs.  I will post a photo when it is complete.  While  much of the U.S. is feeling the full brunt of winter we are very sunny here today and about 79 degrees so the plants are just going crazy.  Here is what we have harvested this week:
This is the last tomato from our winter plant.  This single plant gave us over 50 tomatoes.  It was an heriloom brandwine.  The sweet potatoes I had thought were all harvested and I found these just turning the soil for the coming spring planting.
Here are the radishes that we picked from the garden today.  They are cherry belles and they only take 22 days from the date of sowing to harvesting.  They were my 4 year old's first gardening attempt.  I think we will have to nickname him Farmer Boy!
We are on Spring Break here in Pasco county so we are really enjoying this weather.  We are planning to go strawberry picking this week and then making jams, pies, and shortcake this week.  Probably going to get blueberries as well for pies and fruit empanadas.  I should have plenty of pictures for all of you this weekend so you can see how things are plotted and growing.  Until then...