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"Possibility and promise greet me each day as I walk out into my garden. My vigor is renewed when I breathe in the earthiness and feel the dirt between my fingers. My garden is a peaceful spot to refresh my soul." Meems






Welcome to my Central Florida Garden Blog where we garden combining Florida natives, Florida-Friendly plants, and tropicals.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Vegetable Garden::Full Spring Ahead


During this season of warmth and rapid growth gardening takes on the all consuming pose calling for even more time and energy of passionate gardeners everywhere. Not only in the landscape but especially in the vegetable garden where those annuals increase in size seemingly from each morning to each night.

Chive blooms glistening with heavy droplets of dew are just one among the many delightful discoveries on an early morning walk about.

The first dawning hours being the best time for thorough inspection and the picking off any tiny worms boldly chewing away at the greenery for their breakfast.

The watering regimen follows. It's best done by hand with the garden hose. Irrigation was installed this winter with its own separate timer and assuredly comes in handy on occasion. But it is not preferred over individualized watering for just what is thirsty at the moment.

This February when it was necessary for me to rebuild the 4 outer beds I reconstructed them in a (rectangular) box shape leaving a trench of-sorts in the middle. It occurred to me to create a place to fill with water which allows it to slowly seep into the roots of the four hilled up sides.

My amateur (veggie) gardening status gives me all kinds of lenience for trying different methods. This one is proving to make sense toward preserving the run-off from the hills as well.

When they are dry I don't mind compressing the interior soil by walking in it to inspect the plants or harvest from the inside.

Spring is the time when all living things awaken to the newness and splendor of the season. Signs of vim and vigor are everywhere we turn.

Succession harvesting of the earliest crops are well underway.

While many others are staked, bushing, or twining their way into exuberant growth with each glorious hour.

Snap peas of the blue-podded sort were planted this year for a try at a new variety.

But mostly for the interest of that adorable tiny violet flower that precedes the sweet blue pod with its little peas all huddled inside in a perfect row.

Handfuls of the most tender and tasty green beans are best gathered first thing in the day. But if it can't be helped a late evening culling works just fine for hungry tummies, too.

Already the flowers placed throughout the veggie garden are over-taking their bounds.

Naturally, that is the plan when situating them among the vegetables to draw in nectaring beneficial insects. The aesthetics they add call out to me to linger a bit longer and inspire me to pull another weed or plant another seed.

New crops of romaine lettuce have come in so fast even I'm surprised.

And small wonders! The onions planted from seed are actually looking as if they might grow ... yes, onions. It was decided in February to give one more go at planting them after two previously failed attempts. Never hurts to try again. Fingers still crossed for onions forming.

Flat leaf parsley from the fall garden is sited in between tomato plants towering to a height almost as tall as me. It's being allowed to flower for the small beneficial bugs such as the parasitic wasps who need tiny flowers for nectar. They will use other garden pests and aphids as a nursery for their young. We wouldn't want them to fly away after that for lack of nectar sources that fit their small mouthparts.
There are at least 6 miniscule flying insects on the parsley flowers. So tiny they were not even noticed until the photo was uploaded.
This is my third spring of growing warm season vegetables. Many lessons have been learned and many lessons elude me still.

Maybe just maybe enough room was provided for the enormously sprawling zucchini and summer squashes this time. It's been my repeated mistake to underestimate and forget how very much room each plant requires.

They were placed in the newest planting bed created this season. Tucked underneath the edge of the overhang from the front oak trees it is afternoon-shaded more than the rest of the garden. Which also explains the debris (from the oaks) still falling onto the wide, umbrella-style leaves.

This site gains them a much better air-flow than previous beds in the back of the garden. It seems they are happier and no signs of that pesky powdery mildew so far!

It's nice that peppers grow easily with no fuss involved. These are the successes that keep us trying! Some come easy and others... not so much.

Only five tomato bushes were planted this season and they, too, seem to be the happiest and healthiest of any other season. I wish I could pinpoint the exact reason(s). It must be the complete switch to organics using Tomato Tone and Fish Emulsion. Previous years the plants got so big, so fast and waited for the fruit to catch up. Too much nitrogen likely. I'm taking diligent notes to figure this one out and praying we don't get too much rain, too fast... or too much humidity all at once ... or the night temps don't get unbearable ... or an infestation of aphids and worms I can't keep up with...
Well, you know the drill. Tomato plants can have lots of issues in the blink of an eye without warning.
No matter. We'll not think about that until we have to. We've plenty to smile about and to keep us busy this beautiful month of April.

Happy gardening and happy spring days to each dear reader! Meems

26 comments:

marmee said...

good afternoon meems,

i love seeing your veggie garden so well underway for the spring. it is so encouraging for me to see all the gorgeous flowers and vegetables living in harmony in your garden. i am excited to get ours started. beds are almost ready to plant...we are a bit behind due to my allergies and a immediate need for a duck coop.
done a bunch of new containers to feed my need for dirt.
happy gardening in april.

islandgal246 said...

Hello there Meems,

Your veggie garden looks spectacular and very healthy. Your whole garden is a sight to behold and I wish I can see it. It is still unusually hot and somewhat dry down here. My garden is just about coming to life from the brief showers we've had earlier this month. Still a long way to go though. Take care my friend and hugs to you.

Wicked Gardener said...

Wow - Looks great already Meems!

Ami said...

Meems: I envy you can make the veggie garden look like flower bed, so beautiful! You already have so many going on in the garden! Happy harvesting!

Susan said...

Fresh veggies really are the tastiest. Glad to see your vegetable garden has made a recovery from the well drillers trucks.

Rusty in Miami said...

Your garden looks great, I can only dream of a vegi garden like yours. We are done with our vegetables here in South Florida; the results this year were mix due to the unusually cold weather. I will be following your warm weather vegetable garden, may be I’ll try it next year.

Cameron said...

You have such skill with design and your veggie garden looks like a work of art.

Anna Flowergardengirl said...

Your gardens always look so good---and they are lush. I hope you don't get the mildew or other aggravants we so hate to deal with.

Sunita said...

Your vegetable garden doesnt look amateurish to me. Those are spectacular plants you've got there. And I love your experiments. The beds with the water basin in the center makes so much sense.
And I love the flowers threading through your vegetable garden. Again, great aesthetics and a load of common sense!

Andrea said...

I love the composition of your photos and the brightness they seem to exude. I seem to have the idea that pests or diseason dont like them! How i wish they are like that in the tropics. Somehow maybe winter was able to cut the cycle of pests, unlike in the tropics where they have something always to eat all throughout the year, so they proliferate to the disappointment of not so good gardeners, like me!

Carol said...

Wow, I don't think I have ever seen a bottlebrush tree that large anywhere! It is enormous! I know that they emit a natural herbicide and many underplantings do not survive. Do you have any problems?

Connie said...

Gorgeous looking veggie garden...so lush and beautiful!!! I have a love affair with flowers and often let them outgrow their bounds, at the expense of the veggies, so I have had to be ruthless in weeding out the self sowers and giving preference to the FOOD crops. ha.
We are just coming into our growing season....about 2 weeks from our last frost date now.
What is that spikey pink flower? Is it called Joey?

Janis said...

Meems, I like seeing the flowers with the vegetables it make the beds look so pretty. That you again for the inspiration. Janis

NanaK said...

Your veggie garden is so PRETTY. I know that it is much more than just a pretty face though because of your wonderful harvest pics. I love those blue podded snaps. I'll have to look for some of those when I gear up for my fall garden. Sugar snaps did well for me in my limited space and with succession planting (learned from you) I was able to have lots of harvest. Good luck with those tomatoes. My 'sugary' grapes are not ripening yet but the vines are loaded. This season has been a race to get the plants big enough and bearing before it gets too hot for them.

Annie Schiller said...

Your style of gardening appears organic in shape and look and philosophy - experimentation and looseness of form and environmentally-friendly. And your blog! - gorgeous photos! You are an inspiration and I look forward to seeing more. Thank you, - Annie from The Florida Native Plants Nursery (in Sarasota).

Meems said...

Hello dear Marmee,
Somehow we find a way to feed our need for hands in the soil.Containers are perfect! And you know my addiction for them, too. Before you know it you'll be in the middle of the intense time that is the veggie garden with planting, watering, and nurturing and then of course there is harvesting and preparing all the goodies. Enjoy every minute, dear sister, as it awakens your soul to the season of all things new! <3

Hello dear Helen,
So glad your garden is giving every effort to make use of the liquid from heaven. It is a wonder how much good that natural rain will do and I know you need more. Praying for a break in the drought for your wonderful island. *hugs*

WG,
It's a fast growing thing and amazes me once it gets warm like this.

Ami,
Making the veggie garden fit in with the rest of the landscape has been my inspiration since last year. That squared-off section of just veggies just wouldn't ever work well for me. Integrating the veggies into the landscape is much more practical.

Susan,
Nothing tastier for certain... which is one of the main things that encouraged me to build back the garden.

Rusty,
Our weather has proven to be a challenge each season... and we never know what it will be like. We take the good with the bad and try to learn as we go.

Cameron,
I don't know about skill... more like sheer trial and error. But you are a dear to appreciate the finished product.

Anna,
We had such unusual cold weather in March and some in April that it was a guess if the veggies would ever take off. Now that it's warmed up they are rocketing to harvest. Thanks for stopping by... it's good to hear from you.

Noelle said...

I am still learning a lot about vegetable gardening. I think by hand-watering, you are able to view each plant closely and see any problems before they get too big. I love the blue snap peas. I definitely need to try those someday :-)

Meems said...

Sunita,
It has been very interesting and fun trying new methods and venturing out a little further each season in the veggie garden. Even so, I feel there is so much I have left to learn. I'm not anxious about it because I know that time will teach. The basins are really helping to soak the roots on these very warm and sunny days of spring.

Andrea,

It did get very cold here this year but not long enough to freeze the ground or very many insects. I DO think it held them up from reappearing for a little longer than usual. I'm glad you like my photos.

Carol,
The bottlebrush is my neighbor's tree. And, you are right, it is ginormous. There is nothing growing under it. I've not heard of them producing a natural herbicide.

Ah, Connie,
I know just what you mean and the struggle never gets any easier. There are some Gaillardia that needs trimming back right now to allow a bit more sunshine to the pole beans. So hard to do.

You have a good eye. The conical fuzzy flower is Ptilotus Joey. It's been a fun annual for spring in the veggie garden and the back garden.

Janis,
Even though the veggie garden is closed in and secured by a fence mixing the flowers in with the veggies blends that area in with the rest of the garden. For that reason I have also put some herbs out in the landscape.

Meems said...

NanaK,
You know I like to hear PRETTY. It's a personal challenge of sorts to make the garden so pleasing I don't want to miss a minute ~~ even when it's miserably hot. LOL I need to try the sugar snaps in the cool season garden... they like that better. Already with the last week they are not producing like they should. I know what you mean about the race. I'm in the same one. :-)

sanddune said...

Your garden is truely amazing. It's a one stop blog to get encouragement.

Meems said...

Hi Annie,
I've visited Fl Native Plants Nursery and loved it. I still wish I would have bought a White Indigoberry when I had the chance. Haven't found one since I was at your place. Thanks for stopping by. We are doing our best to be organic and native where possible.

Noelle,
You are right about being close up for observation. It reminds me of mowing ... I do it myself for the same reasons. You just can't miss what's happening everywhere when you mow.

Sanddune,
That is such a kind thing to say. I hope you DO find encouragement here because we all need each other and we need each other's stories and experiences to share and learn from. I always appreciate your insight and following you as you learn things I haven't even started to think about. Happy gardening.

sb158 said...

Gorgeous as always. It inspires me to see the possibilities, and think "outside of the box" a bit.

Belle said...

Simply amaaaaaazing! Your vegie garden is truly an inspiration, I working on my peppers now.

Orlando Realtor said...

I just love how you mix your flowers and veggies. I don't seem to have the room to do that, but I am going to work on it more. Thanks for sharing your wonderful gardens...just love the photos.

Carol said...

Hi Meems,

Here is a link to some more information about underplanting bottlebrush trees:

http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/south/msg081237096458.html

Meems said...

sb158,
Hmmmm... thinking 'outside the box' is not always my strongest gift.I have to try really hard but I'm usually pleased when it happens. Thank you for stopping by.

Belle,
I really hope your peppers do well!

O.R.,
Mixing the flowers in helps with the transition when the veggies are losing their fervor. The flowers make that time period a little more bearable.

Carol,
Thanks for the link... always a wealth of helpful information you are!


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