Welcome to my Central Florida Garden Blog where we garden combining Florida natives, Florida-Friendly plants, and tropicals.
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Early Tomatoes or Late Tomatoes?
The edible garden finally got some much needed attention this weekend. Every spring I'm reminded of how much time is required to do things right in this part of the garden. It can only be neglected for a short time and lack of attention will be evident. The start of April looks more like May. I'm guessing proliferation is due to our very warm February. Checking back to last year's records (just to be sure) reveals that truly every plant is ahead of schedule. There have been a couple of odd twists in this spring garden. With tomatoes and green beans that made it through all the freezes of winter we've had ripe tomatoes since late January and fresh green beans since February. That's odd. The first ripe tomatoes are ususally in May. In truth they were fall tomatoes. You see, they were covered and uncovered with drapes of freeze cloth many times in December when they should have been giving us fruit. That cold delayed their production until January. Odd. New plants of tomatoes and seeds of beans were planted for spring ~~ they are not ready to harvest. The snap peas (planted 11.10.10) are fizzling out now that the soil has heated up. Romaine lettuce is looking scraggly after the combination of all the rain last week and days of high temps . I'm culling most of it this week before it gets too hot and turns bitter. The last of the broccoli and cauliflower were eaten (such good stuff while it lasted) so I'll rip them out and plant my okra and eggplant in their stead. Everything got another dose of either Tomato Tone or Peruvian seabird guano fertilizer. I've been pleased with the results these organic mediums provide. With the heat comes more bugs ~~but so far they haven't been terrible. I know it will get worse as time (and heat) marches on. The fresh scents in the edible garden of herbs and vegetables are unquestionably delicious. Another pot of collard greens were cooked up just tonight~~ straight from the garden. Still supplying yummy goodness. Mammoth dill from seed ... it really is mammoth... and already flowering. And now the flowers of the confederate jasmine clambering over the length of the perimeter fencing is blooming. Early by a few weeks. Sweet, lemony fragrance is filling the air. Speaking of the perimeter. I've utilized 'Snow Princess' Alyssum and Sedum Florida-Friendly Gold as ground cover on the backside of the edibles . That chartreuse has a way of drawing the eye right to it. Thunbergia erecta King's Mantle was added this spring in place of the purple firespike that was yanked out. Also, just for fun, a Louis Philippe rose. The firespike was taking up way too much room. Harvesting a handful of whatever the mood calls for at the moment is often all that's needed. Other times a basketful is harvested... the beauty of having fresh vegetables at your fingertips. Gaillardia pulchella reseeded everywhere in the edibles this year. It is not easy to pull up perfectly good plants that are taking up too much ground. Soil is needed for edible species but flowers draw in the pollinators. Do you see the damselfly again to the left of the bee? Such a pretty and delicate thing. It is so rewarding just to walk through the garden and see all the life flitting about in streams of light. Such delightful sensory-goodness as the sun signals the critters to awaken each day. These are the critters we invite. We want them to visit and to take up residence. These are the critters I wish never would have found my garden. This colony is but a smattering of what I typically find each morning. Smashing ensues and I can only hope I'm finding the clusters as they hatch. Carrots were hiding under some tomatoes I pruned. Sweet Treat hybrid from Burpee. They were added to stir fry of squash, peas, broccoli, cauliflower and sweet onions last night. Large containers of oregano that doesn't melt in our heat has been a great performer for several years. Black and blue salvia is mixed in for color that comes back each spring. Yarrow in the foreground of the container has pushed out its first bud. Yay. This spot must be getting enough sun. I've mentioned previously how my yarrow is just a pretty fern-like green plant. But now! Flowers will join in the fun. There are never-ending surprises in this part of the garden. So much life! Always drawing me closer. Beckoning for a touch, a pinch, a nose-dive into a fragrance, a dead-head, a watering... it's a glorious place to be!