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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, April 2, 2010

Rebuilding the Vegetable Plot and Making it Pretty!

The thought of starting over was not one that appealed to me. Not in the least. The thought of not starting over wasn't even an option.

In the last days of January construction crews and their trucks came rolling through my thriving fall vegetable garden in order to dig a water-well in the back garden. Most of my cool season veggies were compacted under those big tires right into that beautifully amended, hilled up soil I had worked so hard to cultivate only a few months prior.

The moment the crews were finished with the new well it was time to stop bemoaning the situation and get on with the work at hand.

Steps began immediately to put things back together again. New soil was hauled in one yard at a time and hilled up again~one wheelbarrow at a time.

Edging plants were added to the additional bed that was acquired out of the ordeal. Each of the curvy beds are bordered with either Tulbaghia violacea society garlic, Liriope muscari 'Variegata' or Bulbine frutescens 'Hallmark'. These perennial borders remain the same year-round and serve as foundations to the garden .

With the new additional bed that makes 6 beds of planting area all together now. 2 framed beds (which we began with in spring 2008) and 4 raised beds with the soil hilled-up. A perennial border frames the entire fenced-off garden.

Additional stone paths were laid for navigation between each bed. Typically two feet of space is what works best for me between the beds. Pine barch mulch was placed on all the pathways.

With an emphasis on creating an environment that naturally attracts beneficial insects, necessary for organic gardening ~ pots of annuals, herbs, and perennials are placed throughout.

When they aren't placed in pots they are planted in the ground right along side and in between the rows of vegetables.

Some of the crops from the fall garden that were living in the two raised beds (not affected by truck tires) are still hanging on nicely.

Tender lettuce lasting from seeds planted in November 2009 is an interesting turn of events due to the extra days of unseasonably cooler weather working their way right into March.

I continue my efforts at being more comfortable with mixing up the 'right' herbs, annual flowers and veggies that best support the principles of companion planting for my central Florida potager.

But I've stopped stressing over getting it just right and I'm learning to go with my instincts in the vegetable garden ... just like I always have in the landscape.

Seeds for the spring garden were planted a little earlier in February this year by at least a week. During an-all-things-being-equal season these things make a difference. :-)

Even so, it is easily noted when looking back at my journal and photos from last spring we were much further along in the growth rate than we are this year.

This spring garden looks very immature comparatively. It's worth noting the soil has not completely warmed to optimal growing temp due to our lingering chilly nights.

Vegetable gardening for the novice is, for certain, a hit and miss proposition.

But there can't be anything more rewarding than figuring a few things out each season even if it means some hiccups along the way. There will be hiccups.

There's no question a veggie garden requires some special attentions. It is fast growing and needs tending daily in some capacity. All the nurturing required for a veggie garden is invigorating and inspiring! Newness of life and changes by the day ~ even from morning to evening in some cases!

In my view... nothing says SPRING like walking out to my little potager first thing in the morning to inspect the tomatoes or thin the carrots or pull a weed trying to disguise itself among the herbs, or clipping a handful of lettuces and radishes for lunch. Hand watering each little seedling with just the right amount of liquid while the flutter of birds' wings and the buzzing of bees and insects are the only other sounds to keep me company.

No, it wasn't an option to let some unforeseen circumstances get in the way of the joy that comes from daily exhileration in the spring garden.

Happy spring and happy gardening to you all! Meems


  1. Your photos and garden demonstrate
    the principle of composition.

    Size, textures, contrasts,focus, perspective and color. Excellent showing of careful planning,
    aesthetics all around.


  2. Your morning garden walks sound so wonderful. I look forward to your veggie progress to see all the colorful, healthy bounty from your potager.

    I was reading about edible flowers last night and I grow quite a few and didn't know it.

  3. Meems: Reading your post is always so fun and educational! You really put the beauty into the veggie garden, I love how you mix the different annuals, prennials, and veggies together. Those border plants really tie all things together into a harmony. Oh, I saw your bulbine, they look pretty!

    What is that deep pink flower in the second picture behind the bird bath? I love that! Oh, that bird bath looks so nice! Is that a real bird in it, or a stone bird which is part of bird bath?

  4. Your veggie garden is going to look spectacular when mature....very organized...I love it.


  5. What a pretty garden to check on every morning. What do people do in the morning who don't garden? I have learned a lot from you and your gardens, both veggie and landscape. Right now, my veggies are just a few containers of grape tomatoes and some bell peppers. I think I'll be adding a container or two of marigolds now. Maybe edge with society garlic. You always get my wheels turning:)

  6. Oh, Meems, you and your pretty vegetable garden!!! I'd settle for pretty flower beds personally. I absolutely LOVE that first photo of the red flower with the reflecting water. Great photo!

  7. You are so NOT a novice gardener...your gardens are beautiful..the nights may be chilly but girl, it was 86 here yesterday...

  8. I love looking at your lovely gardens. Your hard work is definitely paying off!

  9. i love that we are both experiencing this together. when i see your garden i know what i have to look forward to in the next few months. it is exhilerating and so worth it. i am so proud of you that you just dug right in after such devastation. i am not sure i would have but it is all looking and "tasting" so good, i am sure.
    i hope you and your family along with (my girl) enjoys your easter, garden, food and the love of Jesus.
    happiest springtime to you.

  10. wow, everything is arranged so beautifully! your careful planning shows!

  11. Antigonum Cajan,
    Welcome ~~ so happy you stopped by ~~ and thank you for the kind comments.

    I just heard someone say the other day they eat their weed leaves in their salad. Not me... I'll stick to lettuce. But it is amazing how many flowers and leaves are truly edible.

    Thank you for your always thoughtful comments. The border plants are the saving grace of any garden IMHO. The pink flowers are hollyhocks behind the bird bath. It is one of the oldest bird baths here and those cute little concrete birdies haven't budged an inch in all these years. :-)

    I always say that even if I don't get the harvest I wish ~~ it sure is fun trying.

    Love those morning walk-throughs. I applaud your container gardens, Kay. Growing veggies in any way your garden allows is what counts. We live and we learn and every ounce of it teaches us something. If you go with society garlic, remember to divide them right at the outset if you want to save $$$.

    You HAVE pretty flower beds so you should be a happy camper!!
    That gazania was full of water that I tried to dump out before taking the photo. I didn't realize it still had a bit in the bottom but it turned out kind of pretty.

  12. Darla,
    I do consider myself a novice veggie gardener ... constantly realizing how much more there is to hone. It was only 80 here yesterday but climbing this weekend. I have to say, I'm loving the cool nights because it takes an hour or two to warm up in the mornings... so nice.

    What a sweet thing to say. Drop by anytime... hopefully I'll have more for you to look at in a few weeks.

    So true... you will be just enough behind me that I can really enjoy seeing your harvest as it comes up after mine. Looking forward to Easter Sunday with the whole gang here. The little one and I got the eggs colored yesterday. He's looking forward to seeing your little one, too. It should be a really pretty day for an egg hunt and good company.

    Planning and mapping it out is key. Then once the seedlings pop up I start filling in the gaps with more herbs or an annual or two.

  13. It is difficult to believe that your garden is behind in any aspect It looks beautiful in these photos. This winter put everything behind in one way or another. Happy Easter. I sure the easter bunny will be hopping around in your lovely garden.

  14. Meems, You are an amazingly talented gardener. Your photos are just delicious. Your veggies and flowers complement each other beautifully. I love the wire obelisk ... the pink hollyhocks and bacopa and the tiny rows of seedlings... just heavenly, Meems, a real treat.

  15. I love the water collection in the first flower... so sweet!

  16. Everything looks so lush and lovely! Our gardening season is just beginning...with cool crops and seed sowing.

  17. Your careful planning shows, Meems. Your veggie garden will soon be as gorgeous as it was before, I'm sure.
    I'd love to do one of those peaceful morning walks through the garden with you :)
    Wishing you a blessed and very happy Easter, Meems. I know you'll enjoy having your family there!

  18. The garden looks lovely and has a classical look thats uncommon in florida gardens! Glad you've recovered it!

  19. Memms, If you ever need an intern, I would love to help you. You can call me grasshopper. As always your garden looks beautiful. Janis

  20. This is, of course, my favorite section of your blog :D I have to say that, while I'm incredibly envious of how productive and beautiful your garden is, I'm more in awe of the pure artistry you put into the planning and execution of it. Jardin potager is probably my absolute favorite type of gardening as it is, like reflected in your post, rewarding aesthetically, emotionally, and physically. I know for sure it makes *me* happy looking at the pictures! Happy, and inspired for sure :D

  21. A cup o' cawfee and a early mornin' stroll in yore paradise is a happy thought.

    Happy Easter Meems. As ususal, it were an enormous treat to peek in ehah to see how thangs is goin'--an they's goin' splendidly!

    Is I makin' up a memory or did ya put in some blueberry bushes awhile back? How is they doin'?

  22. I really felt for you Meems, back when the well project was underway. Especially considering all the work you've put into your veggie beds, it must have been pretty hard watching it get rolled over by heavy equipment.

    Our shade garden, and my first veggie bed went through something similar late last summer and fall as we had some brick and foundation work done and new walks and patio installed. A lot of plants had to be moved, most of the veggie garden dismantled, and clay soil and rock dug from under the foundation ended up in the gardens. It was a mess.

    Like you, I could hardly wait to clean up the mess, fix the damage, and put it all to rights again.

    Looks like your garden is coming back strong - bigger, better, and even more beautiful (is that possible?) than ever! Kudos for all that hard work. It's looking great!

  23. Lisa,
    Funny. The Easter bunny didn't even notice things were behind schedule. :-) I hope your Easter was wonderful, too!

    You made my day with your kind words. We have a mutual admiration organization between us. I am in awe of your beautiful gardens and your creative gardening design eye. Thank you for your always generous comments.

    Sometimes nature gives you bonuses for the camera lens! Thanks.

    Good to hear you are able to get started on your lovely garden this early.

    Dear Kerri,
    It is ME who wants to walk with you to your beautiful barn and about your acreage! How delightful that would be. But if it ever happens that you could join me here I would be ever so pleased.

    We had a beautiful Easter celebration with the entire family here. Gathering them here together is blessing enough!

    It has been my goal to create a not-so-typical Florida garden... thanks.

    Ha! I'll call you whatever you like if you come over and add some helping hands to my day! You are too sweet. :-) Looking forward to spending some time with you on Earth day.

    Dear Hanako!
    By the time you are my age you will have mastered so much more than I could even imagine. You are well on your way to developing the heart and soul for the exact type of garden you want to create. Life is all about preparation. Whatever we do today prepares (and affects)us for the next phase. I hope I'm privileged to see the production that comes from your special hands ... you've got it going on and you are going to do great things. Thank you for your kind words. *hugs*

    Happy Easter, Aunty!
    Thanks for stopping by for a peek. I did plant blueberries last year and not a heap of produce came from them. I've planted more of them in the berm area this year and though they are small they are loaded with berries. If the birds don't find them first we should have a few to enjoy. Still hoping for the ones I planted last year but they got damaged in the construction. Just recently I heard they like really poor soil and low PH (like 3.5). That's an environment I'd have to create for them so I'm not sure how well they will ever do here. I'll keep watching and recording results so I can decide if bluberries are something I want to pursue with greater diligence.

    In general, I'm not at my best when things are 'out of order' on any level so getting the veggie garden back in place was paramount. :-) Like you, the trucks hardly pulled away and I was already working with shovel in hand. I know you are going to enjoy your vegetable garden again this year as soon as it warms up for you. Happy spring!


Have a blessed day,

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