Tuesday, December 29, 2009

New Year's Resolutions for Gardeners

New Year's Resolutions are not for everyone. I certainly can't be the example of one who keeps resolutions. But it is always good to examine where you have been and where you want to go, so that is the purpose of a resolution. Gardeners seem to be always assessing their gardens' performance, keeping journals, playing with garden layouts, rotating crops, reading seed catalogs for new plants. This year try making a resolution that will improve your garden.
Resolve to:

1. Take a soil sample to your county extension office so you will know what nutrients your soil needs to make a healthy growing medium for your crops.

2. Evaluate how you water your plants. Do you need to add a spigot to easily attach a hose? Would a soaker hose be a good addition? How about adding a water barrel to catch rain water? How about buying a new hose???

3. Plan a location for composting.

4. Find new recipes for using your harvested veggies.

5. Read a book on gardening this winter.

6. Plan a seating area so after all your hard work, you can sit quietly, rest, and enjoy the sights, fragrances, and sounds of your glorious garden.
Wishing you all a good-growing, Happy New Year 2010!!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Update on the Florida Garden

This has been an unusually wet year in Florida. With the nice rains and the horse manure that my DH worked into the garden, the plants are loving it. We have had delicious Romaine lettuce, green onions, and radishes to make colorful, tasty salads. I have added raisins to the salad bowl giving it a sweet sparkle in every bite.

Today my DH started Mighty Joe lettuce, Raptor MI romaine lettuce, Red Derby MI bibb lettuce, Hybrid spinach, and corn salad seeds in a flat. He will transplant the seedlings to the garden in about 14 days. Are you familiar with corn salad? He has never grown this variety of, we think, some kind of lettuce. It is supposed to spice up a salad. Give us 44 days and we can tell you how it is....

The broccoli heads are forming and the cabbage heads look very good. Last summer, after having so many great heads of cabbage, I thought I would never eat another serving of cole slaw again. However, at this point, I can hardly wait to cut the first crisp head and chop it up in the blender to make slaw!

One week from Christmas. Christmas in Florida is very different from the Christmases I have experienced in the northern winters. Palm trees lighted, warm sunny days, and walking around the neighborhood in shorts to view the lights are just a few of the examples of a Florida Christmas. But no matter where you celebrate Christmas, I wish you the joy, love, and peace that comes with the birth of Baby Jesus.

Merry Christmas!!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Birds Have to Eat Too

How do the birds find food to carry them through these difficult days of freezing winter winds and blizzards? Frozen ground. Snow-covered lawns, yards, woods. Many people use birdfeeders in the deep winter to keep their bird population in the area. Click here for bird feeding information.

You can plant your yard with bird friendly plants to attract these colorful flyers. These plantings will offer cover and food even during a harsh winter. Fresh water is needed also, so perhaps in these cold days and nights, you can make sure there is water available in your back yard.

A bright red cardinal on a snow-covered branch is a sight that will lighten your heart even on a dark, winter day.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Cooperative Extension Offices

You have a valuable partner in your gardening adventures. Your county agent through the Cooperative Extension Offices has a wealth of information about vegetable gardening. You can take a soil sample in for analyzing. The tests will determine what you need to add to your garden soil to produce a rich growing environment for your plants. The agents access the state's information about diseases, fungi, pests that could affect the local gardens.

Plan to use the resources of your local extension office to plan and grow your garden this year. To locate the office in your area, click here.