Friday, October 29, 2010

Florida Garden Update Fall 2010

I am happy to report that our Florida garden is growing very well. The plants that were a snack for the bunny are continuing to grow and look very healthy. Hmmm. maybe rabbit saliva is good for plants??

The garden consists of three raised beds each measuring 6' x 10'. In the foreground are the hardy, cold crops of Winner, Golden Acre, and Charmant cabbage, Gypsy broccoli, Snow Crown cauliflower, Early Vienna kohlrabi. My DH planted Red Derby lettuce and Romaine, Ruby Queen beets, and spinach.

In the background is a bed of plants which are not so cold hardy and can be covered when the frosts come this winter. And yes, nights get cold north of Tampa in December and January. Last year was a disaster. You can see the green, red, and purple bean plants looking so healthy now. The Crista tomato plants are taking a set back, so keep your fingers crossed. My DH also planted German radishes.

He reports that about half the garden is planted.

The weather has been very warm for a week into the 90's during the day and only cooling off to the low 70's at night. This is unusual weather for this time of year and has broken records for the high temps. Maybe that's why everything is looking good and popping up quickly.

Here we go again planting with high hopes for a successful growing and harvesting season.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Planting the Florida Winter Garden 2010-2011

I have missed posting to this blog because we were on the road to Florida where we spend the winter. Endeavoring to keep my DH's dream of gardening twelve months of the year, he again started the plants for the FL garden while we were in Michigan this fall.

Cabbage, broccoli, lettuce plants ready for planting in FL Garden. Cover crop of perennial rye growing in the MI garden in the background.

The day after we arrived in FL, my DH put the plants in the ground. The soil in the garden is so improved after all the horse manure he dumped in before we left this spring. This is the third season for our FL garden.  He brought the electric fence along to string around the garden after laboring on the small plot.

They snatched the heart of the Romaine lettuce right out of it.
 Just as the rabbits in Michigan loved his plants, so it goes with the Florida rabbits. Not even the electrified fence stopped the hungry bunnies from eating the delicious broccoli and Romaine lettuce plants.
Rabbits munched on the broccoli plant.

DH added a fence, but again the bunnies got over or under the fence and around the electric fence to get their evening meal. He is going to raise the wire and try cayenne pepper to stave off the attack.

Do you, dear readers have any suggestions? Keep your fingers crossed...

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Community Gardens

More and more people are discovering the pleasure of gardening because of the opportunity to grow vegetables in a community garden. Gardeners enjoy harvesting, preparing, eating or preserving the fruits of their labor. Many gardens are planted to help feed the hungry. Often, low income people work the gardens too with the help of the experienced gardeners. It is fitting that we can share our knowledge and skills with others, because in this land of plenty, there is no excuse for people to have to go hungry or to be unhealthy.

The cost of fresh vegetables at the grocery store are out of the reach for those who are low-income or on a fixed income. Poverty can lead to obesity because moms can feed their families cheaply with the fast food value meal. If community gardens are established, they can provide healthy vegetables inexpensively when those income folks are taught how to garden and raise their own food.

I would like to share an article with you about the difference made in a community that operates a community garden. In this example folks pay $5. to become a member, then they work at the garden, and receive the delicious vegetables wrought from their labor.

Is anyone involved in such a community garden? How did you start it? What is your source of funds? Are you having success or failure? Are you interested in establishing a community garden? With just that small bit of hope and vision, great things can and DO happen.