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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.

Monday, April 21, 2008

First Comes the Golden Yellow Flowers

My vegetable garden seems to be growing by leaps and bounds daily. Attribute this to the great soil I put in the raised beds. I mixed in blood meal and blood bone with the soil and haven't added any other fertilizer since I sowed my seeds. Other than watering the beds almost daily I can't say I've had to do very much. Is there something else I should be doing? I welcome all tips and help from any of you veteran growers.
One morning this week I noticed the golden yellow blooms on the zucchini and you can imagine my excitment. When there is a bloom I know there is going to be a fruit.

You can see the beginnings of the variety eightball zucchini... seed sown March 13.

As I reached my hand down into the prickly stalks of the plants (I just had to touch that fruit) I was instantly taken back in time to early mornings in my grandfather's garden all those years ago as a child. I had completely forgotten about the stiff bristly feel of squash and zucchini plants. That one motion with my hand made me remember gathering the harvest with him on so many days when I'd visit just for the chance to hang out in his garden. His was much, much larger than mine and he was well versed in know-how. Even so, I think he would be proud of my little patch.

I have to say I'm completely enjoying this new experience of growing a vegetable garden. It is very different from landscape gardening. I'm discovering I have a fondness for vegetables just as much as landscape. It's starting to feel more comfortable and not as foreign to me as it all did initially. I do admit wondering to myself why I waited so long to get started with this vegetable growing thing... AND I DO wish I would have started with 4 beds instead of only 2... but that's something we can rectify in time for fall planting. LOL

Although if there is one drawback it would be the attention it requires. If I'm home it isn't a problem. We went out of town last weekend and fortunately my neighbor watered for me. You can't really leave veggies unattended or the plants would get stressed and that would mean they wouldn't produce as well. And did I mention we did cancel our (planned since last summer) 2 week vacation in May because that's when all the seed-sown veggies are due for harvest? Now that's a funny one... canceling vacation for a vegetable harvest.

Speaking of Harvest

We've enjoyed salads from the lettuce harvest and they were oh so scrumptious. I don't think it will be very long before the tomatoes start to ripen. If all the tomatoes that are hanging on the plants right now actually do ripen ... I'll be giving lots of them away. So if you want some... just let me know.

I've picked some of the sweet cubanella peppers which were tender and tasty.

Overall, I have to say the gratification of watching food grow and the anticipation of the harvest has been worth all the effort.


  1. It constantly amazes me the differences of where are various gardens are at in terms of climate. I have only recently sown my tomato seeds and it is too early to sow courgettes!!! Do you have a very long season or are you heading towards the end of it?

  2. Oh Meems, tomatoes and peppers, and even the cubanelles, my most favorites for rellenos, don't need to be peeled for the skin is so thin! I will be watching your vegetable progress, as this is our first serious year at growing food also. Your eight balls look great, we have grown those before with good results, very tasty. Great post.

    Frances at Faire Garden

  3. Your vegetable garden looks amazing Meems!

    I completely understand the vacation thing! I prefer winter vacations for two reasons - I hate to leave the garden during the growing season. I don't want to miss a thing. And, getting away from here in the winter usually means heading to somewhere tropical. I like the break from our long, cold winters.

  4. Oh, wouldn't it be fun if we could email plants and fruit and veg back and forth the way we write to one another? I bought fresh tomatoes from a nursery with a large hothouse tomato range the other day, and while they're good...they're not garden grown so they're not delicious, just good. I have tomato envy now, to add to my assorted other plant envies!

  5. Your veggie garden looks so lush and healthy.

    I hope to grow my own one of these days too.

  6. Looks great Meems. Makes me hungry. elieg is starting to get ideas about some raised beds for a vegetable patch. It never ends with you girls.!!

  7. Meems, everything looks good and tasty! Isn't it a delight to be walking around and run into a lovely memory?

    I was gone for a week and was just a tiny bit worried that my potted plants would be stressed beyond saving but kind friends remembered and watered!

    One year we went out of town for 3 weeks! Never again!


  8. Your veggies are looking great. Looks like your first garden is a GIANT success! Try laying out a soaker hose around the plants and attaching a timer to it for days or weekends when you're away, or for everyday for a more carefree garden and even water distribution. Enjoy the fruits of your labor :-)

  9. It all sounds perfectly yummy. Taste better when you grow your own. Sounds like you have some nice memories to go along with it too.

  10. OMG, forfeiting a vacation due to veggie harvest. You have it bad girl. I don't blame you reallly. It is fun to grow your own veggies. This being your first season too. I hope the vacation is just postponed. You will need a vacation after you get all your veggies harvested. Will you try canning or freezing your harvest? The plants all look so beautiful.

  11. Your garden is way ahead of ours, Meems - just had the first radishes over the weekend. Our yard isn't big but the vegetable patch is by the fence, away from the house and in other years was touched by frost even when the clematis and pink rose were blooming on the house wall.
    Nothing like a young, small, raw zucchini - yum! It's hard to find any time when I want to be away from my garden! It was easier in the north when everything went dormant.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  12. Your vegetables make me envious. I've tried them, but have not had any luck down here.

  13. Wow. Your post really shows us how stark our contrasting seasons can be. Snow is still melting here and you're already getting to the harvesting time. I want to have a vegetable garden here at my new home, but I'm going to make sure I do it right. I want lots of luscious vegetables like you have!

  14. Hey Meems, I thot I would check in since I haven't been in for awhile. Your blog is becoming a showcase. (; I have to say the vegetable garden is wonderful looking. My mom always had a veg. garden. In PA it was huge and had rows of corn, cucumbers and every other imaginable vegetable. She was very frustated with her Florida garden but finally perfected it after a few years. How wonderful to be able to eat the fruit of your labor.

  15. Everything looks great! I know you are excited about getting those veggies in the house and ready to eat. Looks like all that hard work is paying off. And since no one else volunteered, I'm up for some tomatoes. I'm sure yours are much better than what I saw this evening at the grocery store!

  16. Patient: It IS amazing how we are connected with people all over the globe and yet we are in different climates and time zones. I'm glad we can visit via internet. I'm not sure if you are asking about just the veggies. In general we don't have a dormant season... we garden all year long. As far as veggies we can sow seeds in the spring, summer and fall. What I've published on this post will harvest out in May and June. I can keep sowing some seeds for repeated harvests. Hope that helps.

    frances: I wasn't even sure what cubanelle peppers were when I bought them but they are mmm,mmm yummy and sweet. Did you want to share your recipe for rellenos? Sounds like a good idea!

    Linda: Thanks. I love winter vacations too except I like to take them in Florida. LOL Only problem is so do all the northerners so it can get kind of crowded down here.

    jodi: what a great idea if only it would does make me kind of sad I can't share with all my blogger pals.

    nancy: It is a blessing to live in a warm climate where growing is a constant. No down time here.

    robin: Thanks. YOU would be so great at it with all your seed sowing experience. You should try it... what a great homeschool project. It is something I always wanted to do when I was homeschooling and never got around to it.

    NT: It would be so easy for you to build her some beds, too. I think she's onto something... maybe for the fall!

    Gail: We've always gone out of town every May for 2 weeks. It is always hard to leave my garden but my neighbor is great to water for me. I just didn't think I could ask him to do the veggie garden with harvest scheduled...
    Wow. 3 weeks would be really bad.
    Welcome home BTW.

    Susan: What a great idea. I need soaker hoses everywhere. Are they legal with all of our watering restricitons? I'll have to check on that. This week I'm reminded how hard it is in the summer to keep everything watered. Already with this dry weather and so many new plants/seeds getting established I am hand-watering like a mad woman.

    anna: I have to say the taste so far has far exceeded my expectations. So exciting.

    lisa: I guess I do but I didn't see any way around it once I calculated when my veggies were due to harvest... wants a girl to do? Yes, postponed... we are figuring that out now.

    Canning or freezing? Oh if only. My grandmother tried to teach me those things and I just didn't pay attention as a teenager. So I'm not sure what I'll do about that... probably just give lots of it away... at least this season.

  17. Hi Annie: Hmmm... I'm kind of surprised. I was under the impression we were very similar in climate. I'm not sure what zone you are though. I'll have to try that young zucchini out. I admit to being a little bit in a hurry to do a taste test. You are right down here there is never an ideal time to be away... someone always has to take up the slack for me. Dormant? What's that?

    Sara: How wonderful... another Florida blogger... I'm so excited you stopped by Hoe & Shovel.I'm sorry you haven't had any luck with your veggies... I adore Sarasota.

    Cinj: It is a big contrast. You will love it when you can get to the veggie garden but you probably have lots more things to think about first with your new home. :-)

    PRINCESS!!!! HEEEEYYYYY! That was me with a great big welcome. Look at you coming out of hiding.I'm so proud of you. How cool that your mom mastered gardening down here after doing it in PA. I would think the adjustment is huge.

    Jane: And you are close enough that I can put you on the list... good ... tomatoes it will be. We can only hope they are better --- that remains to be seen--- you may want to take yourself right back off the list. LOL

  18. Oh my goodness, I haven't even sown my veggie seeds yet, except for some tomatoes and peppers that I started inside!

    I've got so much catching up to do in the way of reading and commenting on blogs. Jenna's wedding is in a few weeks and with my training and getting very busy in the gardens, it seems it's all I can do to even post on my own blog! But I'm trying!

  19. kylee: It seems tomatoes and peppers are the first veggies everyone sows.

    Don't worry, Kylee, I've been feeling that way all year. There is so much gardening to do in every spare hour... I just catch up when I can and write when I can... no pressure.

    Congrats on Jenna's marriage. I know what that's like to get ready... I'm proud of you for keeping up with your training during this busy time... I've got to get over there and see how it's going.

  20. I haven't even thought about planting vegetables. The garden has just dried enough to start working in it. I've already scratched off one of my 'to dos'. I was going to build raised beds but I can see I just don't have the time for it. My wife is standing at the edge of the garden asking 'can I plant now? can I plant now?'

    Your veggies look great. I won't pull the envy out of my pocket since I know you'll soon be getting some horrible heat and humidity.

    Just beware of the Zucchini. You may soon find yourself having to abandon them on people's doorsteps.

  21. I am glad to see you are enjoying your vegetable gardening experience. I am done for the year; the summer heat in Miami is too much for the plants. I got to try that blood meal and blood bone, may be that is what I am missing. I was not very successful this year. Good luck and I can wait to see the results in May.

  22. I am so anxious to see tomatoes in my yard now...yours look wonderful! i hope you've got some basil's not too late! There's nothing like caprese warm from the garden. My tomatoes are in but it will be a while before we're close to picking anything.

  23. I SO want to be invited over for home-grown salad. Looks SO GOOD, and probably tastes even better. I'm sure your grandpa would be well-pleased with you.

  24. You're doing such a great job - everything looks so green and lush! I feel hungry just looking at the pictures! This will be my first year growing veggies too - I've got some seeds to start in the next day or two and my husband set up more lights since I've already run out of room under my first set of bulbs.

  25. WiseAcre: You're probably right about the zucchini... I've heard that from others... and still I couldn't bear to thin out one more plant and probably should have. So when do you plant way up yonder where you are?

    Rusty: I remember when you planted your tomatoes... I hope you got some from those plants at least. Thanks and I will keep updating my veggie progress.

    Leslie: Thanks... yes, I do have basil and I think it was you who said to put it in salad... I tried it and it is oh so yummy... adds a wonderful tangy-ness to every bite.

    MLM: I'm hoping now that I thinned out the lettuce we will get an even heartier crop... so there will be more to share. It's getting kind of hot for it so we'll see.

    For your first home-grown salad how does Thursday about noon sound?

    oh, Amy, YOU are the gardener! To start seeds inside when it is so cold outside says to me how very dedicated you are. I don't think I could do it... I am just so used to being outdoors all year long. I look forward to seeing your veggies too.

  26. I found one Zucchini is plenty. It gets funny when the family tries to pawn off zucchini on each other. We often find a years supply on the kitchen counters with no clue of the source.

    Planting time varies. Peas are already planted and sprouting. I swear my wife plants through the snow. Generally the main planting of warm weather crops doesn't happen until the very end of May. I have a cold wet spot but planting before May 15th can be risky since that's our average date of last frost.

    I am now racing to prepare the garden before my wife puts all my plans to waste. She has a habit of planting cold crops before I can prepare the garden. This year I'm trying to form 'raised' beds and I'm only a half step ahead of her. And that's only because I've had a truck break break down and I'm stuck at home and actually worked on the garden the last two days. I'll have some more info on that posted by the end of the week. That is if I can sit up straight after all the digging I still need to do.

  27. wise acre: Me thinks I will have zucchini coming out my ears... that is if every plant produces. HA
    (I'll make notes for next year- only one needed)

    It is so interesting the differences in regions... I guess I'll be harvesting when you are getting your garden going good. Well, I'll have lots of time for blogging in the hot summer when I go into maintenance mode and can only bear to be in the garden very early mornings.

    I hear ya on the digging thing as I sit here with an ice pack on my back.

  28. Would you mind telling me what size your raised bed is that is pictured? It looks like it might be a 4x8? That's about the size I want for my herbs. It will help out Duane in the planning and building. Thanks so much.

  29. jane marie: Hi and thanks for stopping by... Yes, my beds are 4 x 8 built with 1) 6in board and 1)4in board on top... to make 10 inches in depth. You can read the entire post from when I first had them made ... you'll have to copy/paste...

  30. Thanks, Meems for responding to my question about how to make this bed. It seems I had left a comment here before about your tomatoes but I had not bookmarked the page, which I have done now.
    Now, we'll see how much time and energy Duane has. It's getting a little late in the spring to get started.

  31. Jane Marie: you are very welcome... I DO hope 'Duane'can get you set up properly and hopefully you still have time.

  32. The garden is looking great. Your veggies are getting so big.

  33. Mike: I'm having the time of my life with this vegetable garden... a totally new experience and challenge.


Have a blessed day,

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