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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.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

My Edible Garden :: Personal Reflections

Seeds for the fall edible garden were recently sown. Choosing to do this early in the morning promises stillness and uninterrupted tranquility.

The day dawning in softness gradually evolving into brightness in the sunny side of the garden.

A well-worn path through a grassy lane runs the length of the vegetable garden. It serves as the main walkway from the front to the back gardens.

Planning for a new season in the edible garden begins weeks ahead of actual seed-sowing day.

There is clean-up from spring's leftover garden. There is all the prep for the ground soil which has been discussed previously here. Then there is review of the garden layout to be sure crop rotation is done correctly and room is made for combining varieties correctly.

Somewhere in between there are always more seeds to order. Not that more seeds were needed this season. But the temptation for additional seeds is too great given the imagination one has for planting more than can possibly fit into this small designated plot.

There is much anticipation as the predetermined day arrives for seed-sowing. It is a distinctly quiet and might I say ... almost sacred time. Purposely.

Sowing seeds requires my full concentration. But that's probably just me. This task is nothing like transferring plants from pots into the ground. Or designing and building a new garden bed. I find that easy and exhilarating ~~ not requiring mindful consternation.

I should clarify.

It's not the act of seed-sowing that creates a bit of anxiety. It is more my LACK of feeling fully confident in seed choices and siting and how many seeds and timing of when to sow what that still creates a bit of trepidation in me. Sounds silly I know.

An example of how the garden map ends up looking ~~ this one from spring 2010. Scribbly notes are made here for quick reference. An excel spreadsheet backs up the actual data in more detail.

So ... one can imagine... I spend a lot of energy P L A N N I N G.

Every season I'm learning more and more having started my first-ever veggie garden in 2008. At the same time the desire and need for improvement is ongoing. I suppose it always will be. Nothing wrong with that.

One of these growing seasons, I anticipate, I'm going to feel like the edible garden is second nature. More like how it feels to design and create new projects in the landscape garden.

That is going to happen ... one of these days. Right?

For now... this initial step ... getting it started each season ... still feels kind of foreign to me.

So, as my natured goes, I lean towards methodical.

The supplies are gathered and in order.

Seed packets.

Plant labels.

Extra plant labels.


Companion planting book.

Garden map.

Red pen.

Green pen.

At this juncture, it does my soul good to plop myself and all my supplies right down in the heart of the garden.

In these alone and quiet moments, as all the planning comes together, it strikes me. The time is here to gently open up the warm earth, count out the seeds ~~ tiny and so full of promise~~ press them into good soil and let God's masterful creation come to completion.

Then begins systematic planting. One bed at a time. This method helps me keep track of where I've been and where I need to go.

As morning unfolds the solitude and sacredness of this dawns on me. Here I am in complete harmony with what I dream of accomplishing. Loving THIS. Fully engaged in the peaceful quietude and stillness of a new day. Grateful and blessed to abide in the beauty of my small plot of ground.

A keen awareness of the activity stirring around me begins to fill my senses. And from this calm, sunlight streaking through the dawn, the gentle sounds of buzzing and fluttering begin to break the silence. In a delightfully, familiar sort of way.

It is in the midst of intense contemplation, resources in hand, deep into thoughts of orderly seed placement and notations that my attention is redirected from the paperwork, upward.

Stirred from serious concentration. The need now to delay the plans and just savor the freshness of every single bit of life surrounding me. And notice. Notice the tiniest, seemingly insignicant, flying insects whirling about without a care to the most obvious beauties of butterflies and birds busily gathering their nourishment without regard to my presence.

Thankful for the gift of this small reminder to slow down and absorb the essence of every experience in this place. I'm at once wholeheartedly aware once again ~~ this is where I belong. This is MY garden.

Just me and my garden and God's tender nudging.

In these solemn and altogether joyful moments it doesn't really matter if it all turns out according to plan.

Naturally, I know this in theory but to practice it I need these still, small voice encouragements.

There is so much more to be said for personal reflections gained. Lessons. Invaluable truths to experience along the pathway to good (and likely some not-so-good) results.

Planting, nurturing, tending, growing ... a beautiful picture of real life.

Happy gardening, friends! I know you wouldn't be reading this if you didn't know exactly what I'm trying to express.

Seeds planted so far (reference for my Florida friends):
Collards~Georgia Southern ~~ Baker Creek Heirloom
Beans~ Blue Lake Bush 274 ~~Baker Creek Heirloom
Beans~ Old Homestead Pole~~Baker Creek Heirloom
Carrots~ Sweet Treat Hybrid ~Burpee (later I'll plant some heirlooms)
Cucumber ~Burpless Beauty ~ Burpee (haven't tried this one before)
Dill ~ Mammoth ~ Burpee
Leeks ~ Lancelot ~ Pinetree Seeds
Lettuce ~ Heatwave Blend ~ Burpee (later I'll plant some heirlooms)
Onion ~ Tokyo Long White-bunching ~ Baker Creek Heirloom
Onion ~ Red Creole ~ Baker Creek Heirloom
Pepper~ California Wonder Heirloom ~ a gift from Botanical Interests (new one to me)
Radish ~ Cherry Belle~ Pinetree Seeds
Spinach~ Monstrueux de Viroflay ~ a gift to trial from Botanical Interests
Squash ~ Early Prolific Straightneck~ Baker Creek Heirloom
Zucchini~ Eightball ~ Pinetree Garden Seeds

Waiting for cooler weather:
Succession planting of radish, carrots, lettuce will be added throughout the cooler months.


  1. AMEN. This post really touched me; so beautifully written and a reminder to always appreciate the little things. Thanks.

    Trisha (SW FL gardener wanna be)

  2. Hope that your Fall garden does well. I am about a Month behind but your post has given inspiration to catch up.

  3. Today I was fed up with trying to be patient while my arm heals and generally feeling sorry for myself. Can I just express how grateful I am for your words and pictures that helped me to get mentally centered again. Thank you. And I wish you all the best with your edible garden!

  4. Simply poetic, Meems. All of your hopes are fully communicated in your post.
    As I often remind myself, process, not product, is what matters most.
    Let's hope for rain!

  5. Well said. Planning and dreaming are fun to do but stopping to enjoy the moment that is now, is needed too. Your special moments in your garden are so well captured by your camera. Love the butterflies. Thanks for the list of seeds you used. Are your onions from seed? My onion seed didn't germinate :( I think I'm going to use the container for more carrots!

  6. I love those early morning quiet times in the garden too. You have expressed what I feel from time to time. I am sure you will soon feel the exhilaration and not the trepidation when planning and planting your veggies. Obviously you do a marvelous job and you are so organized. Well done.

  7. Trisha,
    Always a pleasure when you visit. Thank you.

    Isn't it okay if you are behind? You are so far south I think you're still good to go with your planting.

    Sweet nanamoo,
    I so wish you were all better and didn't have to wait for your shoulder to heal. Isn't it amazing how we all need each other. Thank you for taking a moment to visit. I'm praying for you.

    I wouldn't trade the process of developing this garden for anything. It has been years of work and every ounce worth the sweat. I am working on a post that will illustrate (hopefully) more of the process. Never be discouraged with small beginnings. Every garden developed with your own energy has more rewards than regrets. A little at a time... and before you know it ... results that make you smile. Blessings!

    My onions are from seed. They did okay in the spring... not great but okay. The onion sets I got from Colorfield did great. Chris (Great Wall) says I can get them closer at Shell's. I'm going to try to get there in the next few days to get some of them in the ground, too. They are very easy to grow. I just realized I completely left out my tomato varieties... oh well... I'll blabber about them later.

    Gardening is full of wonderful moments. I know every gardener has them and appreciates them. Wrapping words around the emotions of it is not easy.

  8. Very nice! Beautifully written and love the photos, but I am KNOCKED OUT by how ambitious you are at the end of summer, when I just want to lie on the couch with a glass of ice tea! My hat's off to you and I think I'll get out my seed catalogs now.

  9. Meems, I'm unbelievably impressed with your planning efforts and your organization. WOW!! I consider myself an organized person, and a perfectionist about certain things, but my efforts look sad next to yours. I'm certain your work will pay off for you.

    I've not been successful with a veggie garden here in Florida, so I understand your angst. Again, I'm impressed with your seed sowing. I, on the other hand, purchased a young tomato start the other day. It'll grow in a container on my pool deck. That's my veggie garden this year. I might be brave and purchase a few more starters. Who knows?! :D

  10. Well said, Meems...gardening is a sacred and personal to be savored. And, I think as we grow older we relax into it and find our own peace and solitude. I feel truly blessed to be a gardener!

    Our fall garden is well under way here and I look forward to enjoying some squash and cukes very soon.

  11. Elizabeth,
    One thing about edible gardening is timing ... it serves as great inspiration to get out there and keep moving even at the end of summer. So even when my body says no ... my head reminds me it needs to be done. Have a glass of tea for me!

    For years I WANTED to have a veggie garden and didn't. The whole idea loomed large as if it were too big a dream. I didn't think I could manage it when the kids were growing up.

    You are doing the right thing. Grow what you can/how you can. Don't let all my geekiness scare you. It doesn't have to be this methodical.

    Each experience with growing veggies is invaluable... whether it is success or failure. Always more to learn!!! Never ever think it has to be done like anyone else is doing it. Just be sure to enjoy what you do attempt and there will always be reward. Thanks for the kind words... and all the best to your tomato growing! Blessings.

  12. Susan,
    Maturity is a factor that helps us overcome the failures and keep the successes in balance. I knew you would know just what I was trying to say... the love of gardening is a gift!

  13. Whoa, my brain hurts just looking at your diagrams. There's my whole gardening problem there, I think. I've never written anything down. Well, there was that one time back in Atlanta, around 2002, where I tried to sketch out my garden and build a plant database. Never really came to fruition, though.

    Anyway, your planting list/schedule is certainly appreciated. Here at PITV, we don't have much room, but we do throw a few seeds in the ground after reading those dates they put on the back. It is so haphazard and so spontaneous that we are truly excited when things really do grow! And even more thrilled when the stuff tastes good! Maybe someday we'll get it together here....

    Enjoy your beautiful veggie garden!

  14. FG,
    Not to worry your head about my methods... it's just the only way I can keep the edible straight in my own head. I didn't start keeping written records until I started the veggies a couple of years ago... especially when I started expanding it. I'm also making attempts at keeping up with plant profiles spreadsheet. It is never kept up to date as I forget to update it.

  15. I am really touched with your words. I was about to quit gardening because of all of my plants are not doing well. I will really want to try to make them good. You are right that every hard work can have well exchange to you. Thanks for making us realize that small things should also be appreciated.


Have a blessed day,

September 2010

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