Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Have you been there? You need to get planting........the season is NOW! You've got a window of a few weeks to get it done so, of course, you lounge around the first week......."I'll do some planting during the week after work, and finish it up next weekend" goes the usual logic.
Then the weekend comes and you forgot you promised a friend you'd attend their wedding. Bummer. Church on Sunday and another weekend is gone.
"I'll do some planting during the week after work, and finish it up next weekend".........again.
Then it rains all weekend. Bummer.
"I'll do some planting during the week after work, and finish it up next weekend"........It has to happen!
Then your Mother/Brother/Sister/Wife/Son/Uncle needs you to (fill in the blank) and thinks it's ridiculous that you'd say no so you can take care of your stupid garden! The pressure builds...........Sorry, but it's now or never Mom!
That's how I've felt the last couple weeks as I've gone from being ahead of schedule in the garden, to barley hanging on as October approaches fast. But I did get some work done during those weeks after work. Check it out............
As the gardens up north start to wind down, the Florida autumn garden is just getting busy. Like these beans...........just ate the first one this morning! Delicious.
68 tomato plants......and they were definitely started on time. I'm continuing to use rebar stakes for my tomatoes, as they worked great during the spring. I buy a 20' piece of 3/8" rebar and cut it in half. I push the rebar in the ground about 2-3 feet deep, by hand, right behind the plant. As the tomato plant gets bigger I just tie it to the rebar. What's nice is the rebar is strong enough & long enough to support the plant without bending, yet light enough to move around to other beds when needed. A great way to pack 17 plants in a 10' x 5' bed.
Cukes.......my first time using a net trellis.
A full bed of onions. A lot of people are surprised that onions grow in Florida, but they actually do quite well during the cool months. You just have to make sure you use "short day" seeds. Because they take a long time to grow (some varieties take 160 days.......51/2 months!), the bed I grew them last year got covered by shade as the winter progressed. So this year I moved them to a bed that gets full sun all through winter. I'm looking to harvest about 200 onions in this 5' x 10' bed. They store.........so I grow.
Hot & Sweet peppers (up top), Tomatillo (bottom left) & Okra (bottom right). All grown in the same bed. I've never grown Okra or Tomatillos before........I hope there's enough hot weather left for them. It's possible it might get a little cool for them by the end of next month. We'll see.
It's Florida......you've got to grow some citrus. My first citrus tree.........kumquat. I love kumquats!
On the left is some squash I think I planted too late.......and on the right some peas that I'm growing for the first time.
Notice the rolled leaf........middle-right?
Well, this is the rascal that wraps itself in the leaf...................
...............and this is the proper pest control technique for the situation. I bet I've squished 75 of these guys over the last couple weeks.
I've still got 4 beds to plant yet...........for the real cool weather crops. Broccoli, Brussels, Lettuce, Beets, Radish, Celery, Cabbage and some others I'm sure I've forgotten. I have been asked about the mulch I use in the beds. I use straw that I buy from a local farm supply company for about $10 a bale. It definitely keeps the weeds down and helps keep the soil from fluctuating wildly from wet to dry all the time. Don't use hay! All it takes is one time and you'll know why............it'll start to grow!
That brings me up to date. Now to get after those cool weather crops...................I've got to get them in this weekend.