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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.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Helping Hands in the Veggie Garden

This job should have been done a few weeks ago. It's not one I've been eager to tackle. Not to mention I've been a little distracted with other projects. But in order to get the soil ready for the fall garden the time table can't be put off any longer.

It's interesting to note that sweet peppers are still being harvested. Sometimes the branches so full they break under the weight of the fruit.

Let's see now... where to begin in this messy place?

A quick perusal of what's become of spring's vegetable garden will quickly reveal only a smattering of food. What has happened is Scarlet Sage or Salvia Coccinea and Blue Porterweed, Stachytarpheta cayennensis have self-seeded in so many places. The tomato plants are dreadfully wilty and the beans and peas are dried up vines on the trellises. What a difference a couple of months and about 20 degrees increase can make.

Today my littlest helper (and most willing one to boot) and I got out very early to make a dent in the task of dismantling the veggie garden.

There are still carrots to pull out. They will be too bitter to eat at this late date.The heated temps of summer have stolen their sweetness. But there was good reason to leave a few in the ground.

They are one of the host plants for Black Swallowtail butterflies. Barely any stems left on them since the larva feasted on them to their hearts' delight a few weeks ago.

Our first task is to clear the remaining carrots. A perfect job for curious and busy hands. He gets the biggest thrill from reaching to the root and pulling up carrots.

The Salvia guaranitica, 'black and blue' will stay in its container pot and keep blooming through the fall.

Digging up the Blue Porterweed and Salvia Coccinea to pot up for placement elsewhere is the second order of business. We can't let all of those self seeded plants go to waste and yet they do need to come out of the veggie beds.

My little guy uses his kid-sized John Deere trowel and hand rake to help with the task of tilling the soil. At least that's what we say we're doing. It's more like making holes and throwing dirt. What abandoned fun he has discovering the earthworms all tangled up with each other in that fertile soil. He doesn't mind handling them gently as we talk about how God gave us the earth to take good care of.

As a three year old will often do ... he makes up his own plan as we go along. Hmmm... let's deposit some of this dirt in the rain gauge. No harm done. As long as he is having fun ... I'm having fun.

And there's that birdbath he can't resist splashing in like a happy little bird.
It was getting hot outdoors very fast. Who am I kidding? It started out hot ~~but temps were increasing quickly as the sun came up over the trees.

It's probably true we didn't get a lot accomplished. It was a start though. Sometimes just getting started on an unfavorable task is key. And most importantly... happy times and good memories in the veggie garden.

When I return to that job again tomorrow ... without my little fellow... I'll remind myself of today and with a smile on my face I'll go at it again.

Soon the entire veggie garden will be dismantled, tilled, and amended with some bone meal and mushroom compost. Seeds need to be sown soon.


  1. Your little helper is getting so big!

  2. Aw, he is so cute! May not get much done, but he will remember it for the rest of his life. I credit my Grandma with turning me into a gardener...

  3. mjm,
    It is SO true... so my little MAN! In the blink of an eye...

    You are reminding me it was my Papa that put the veggie garden bug in me in the first place. Precious times even if not much gets done. Thanks.

  4. Oh how sweet... Life is always so good when the grands are around!!!!! Looks like you have a gardener in the making.


  5. I remember those times in my grandmothers veggie garden... that's where my garden bug comes from. He is so cute your little helper!

  6. Meems, he looks like he's having so much fun! You certainly have the right attitude, let them have fun and they'll come flocking to the garden year after year. I'm sure we have a master gardener in the making here!

  7. Meems,
    My grandparents on both sides had enormous gardens to feed large families. I never got the impression that they or any of their children felt growing and harvesting vegetables and canning them or storing potatoes, celery and apples in the cold celler were even chores. Tending the chikens and rabits was pure joy. Everyone just joined in and we were all happy. Of course at the end of the day we could watch their COLOR tv's which was a real treat compaired to the snowy black and white screen on our tv that was always 1 tube short of getting a clear picture. My eyes are bad from either trying to see Superman flying through the snowstorm on our screen or sitting to close to Grandma's color tv watching the Wonderful World of Disney. Grandma's and gardens had a huge impact on my life. Grandma Brown will be 100 on March 1st.

  8. I would have to say, making memories like that you accomplished quite a bit Meems.

  9. Oh, these are the best times in the garden, aren't they, Meems? I have two garden helpers--with another one in training--who love to help Grandma in the garden. We don't always get a lot accomplished, but we sure do have fun. Your little helper will remember this day for a long time.

  10. Hi Meems! I love your post! This is one of the best times when my boys come to the garden to help or just to pick up and eat berries or veggies. They also like to show the garden to their friends and always volunteer to take extra tomatoes, cucumbers or squash to the neighbors. You have a very good helper!

  11. It was so good to see the "little guy" in your garden. After visiting with my IN-laws who are at the other extreme of the aging process it was wonderful to see happy healthy life progressing. Did I mention I really like your new header photo?? Beautiful colors, forms and of course the Beeautiful bee.

  12. meems...everytime i see photos of i it always brings me back to watching jng when he was little. i am sure it is just pure joy to have that little guy around helping you...instilling such great things in him is what grandparenting is all about. he will surely have an appreciation for all things in the garden and what a blessing working out there is. i love the photo of him with his newly pulled prize(carrot). he is adorable.
    here's hoping all goes well with the dismantling and the hard work of getting the new soil ready for the fall seeds/harvest.
    happy august!

  13. Love seeing little kids in the garden. Hope for the future!

  14. Trying not to be I read about your time in the garden with your grandson. My 3 year old granddaughter will be moving closer (3 hrs away, as opposed to 7) in the fall, so maybe we will be able to spend more time together doing fun stuff like this.

  15. And that is what it is all about! I love the special times in my garden, great idea using them to keep you going in a not-so-fun task! He's quite the cutie!

  16. Meems you have been nurturing a budding master gardener on your hands. Lucky you, I have to pay for my help LOL.

  17. Wonderful helper! He will always hold these memories so dear. I'll bet he grows up and has a garden like yours! :-)

    My grandmother was my garden influence. Her front and one side yard were all flower gardens. Sound familiar? :-)

    PS My son is home for awhile, so I'm not getting to the blogs as frequently. Helping him with a project or two.

  18. Looks like you have a great helper!

  19. Betsy,
    They make my whole world a brighter place! Sweet life for sure.

    Thank you.Great memories at the grandparents growing up is a heritage to be cherished.

    This one knows how to make fun out of every thing. I'm learning from him. LOL

    Wow. You brought back so many memories in your few sentences. Only one side of my family but all my childhood memories revolve around great times at my grandparents. Even as a teenager I drove "out" to Brandon to get to spend time in the wide open spaces of their acres. Ahhh... the wonderful world of Disney... they don't make 'em like that anymore. Congrats to Grandma Brown... 100!!!See what gardening will do for you!

    The most important accomplishments for sure... can't buy them with money... only with time and attention!

    I have two other helpers, too. They are both so appreciative of the garden... even learning to grow some things and so hungry for knowledge... the best of times.

    I wanted to grow veggies when my own kids were younger but with all the other responsibilities of life I never got around to it. Now their children are willing participants with me experiencing a dream come true. And the fact that they want to be a part adds to my dream come true.

    The realities of life I suppose... both ends of the spectrum. Young life always puts my perspective in order... they are so full of vigor for the simplest things.We should be more like little children in our hearts... great lessons learned from them. Thank you for mentioning the header... so summery for this hot month of August... glad those Gaillardias like it.

    Thank you.

    You know my joy is in having my little ones around to share the joys of gardening, butterflies, birds and even the simplest life forms earthworms. E made getting started on that unfavorable chore a whole lot easier and instead of tackling the entire job at once it is coming down by section. Happy August ... it's a hot one for sure.

    compost in my shoes,
    Little ones with all their innocence and purity... somehow always gives us hope... for all things.

    So happy your granddaughter is moving closer. You'll be able to get her for weekends and you can wake up with excitement about going out to the garden for some fun too. Those morning times are like nothing else on the planet.

    He did get me going on a not so favorable project. Mostly because it is so hot out there... that's why we worked until the sun came up over the trees... then it was time for pool fun.

    He is growing up so fast. As good as he is... I think I need some of that paid help, too.

    Your love for flowers is in your genes. Your grandmother did a great job teaching you... you have such a beautiful garden!

    Enjoy your son and planning fun times with him. No problem... I'm not getting around too much either... my biggest excuse ... gardening and my little helper. Family times are more important.

    We work together really well... I learn as much from my grand-kiddos as they do from me. Thank you for stopping by.

  20. "and most willing one to boot"......I love it when someone is most willing to help in the garden! Of course my wife is always most willing, but my kids? Well.......not so much! lol.

  21. He is so adorable. I just know that our grandchildren will remember us for many things, but the love of the garden will surely be passed down. I remember my grandmother giving me rides in the wheelbarrow and her huge dahlias. I was so little, yet I have never forgotten. I hope things are going well on all fronts my friend...


  22. Great post Meems. Seeing the little helper reminded me of how my little helpers {ggs's} reacted to where carrots came from. That is a memory I shall never forget. I also have pics of them eating corn that the oldest at 3 grew, tended & harvested. He even had to shuck it after he pulled it off the stalk. Aren't we fortunate to have these little helpers in our lives so that we may learn from them?

  23. I love your blog. We travel to Sanibel/Captiva as we have family members with homes there. I what to have a house on the Island someday and experience a new phase of gardening. You will see me visiting often.

  24. Dennis,
    Willing is key in all of life isn't it? I imagine if he lived here he might get tired of it. But for now he's enamored and I'll take it for as long as it lasts.

    Oh, what would the garden be without rides in the wheelbarrow! What a joy and privilege it is to enrich their lives with a gardening experience. So many lessons learned in a garden ... for me and for them.

    I can tell we are most alike in our love for family as well as gardening. Your grands are very blessed to have you. Hope all is well up there in your neck of the woods. I see you over at my sister, Marmee's, too. She always has quite a lot going on at her farm.

    Oh, I am definitely envious. Love, love Captiva!!! We are always trying to figure out how to move to the on the beach. Taxes alone would eat us alive. LOL So... I visit often.

  25. Fostering a love of growing things is so important at a young age. I think my parents kitchen and flower gardening is what distinguishes me from most Caribbean islanders-who see gardening as "low class", a thing to be performed by the poor and uneducated.
    Those pics sweet peppers and blue salvia look delectable.

  26. Blogs of other Florida gardeners are SO inspiring. Yours is wonderful ! I 'discovered you' through your home page on the Garden Web Florida Forum. Your photography is also a delight. Back to the side track of reading some older posts on your blog
    Linda in Lakeland

  27. Meems, maybe when the little helper grows up, he will recall stories of "driving out to the country" to visit his grandparents. The big yard, all the flowers and plants (and creatures!), the garden he loves...I'm SO glad he gets to experience these things - things that his mom cannot offer him but always wanted him to have. He's blessed by you!


Have a blessed day,

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