Tuesday, January 26, 2010

This is my DH's new idea for our Florida garden. (Do gardeners ever stop trying to improve their gardens?) He traded some handyman work for these steel planters. He is planning to use them as raised gardens next year. Before we leave for the North this spring, he will clean out this year's garden, then fill the planters with a mixture of soil and horse manure.

We have two 6'x10' planters with 10 inch sides with a walkway between them. DH painted them Rustoleum hunter green and they are shiny and attractive.

BTW, he installed the planters around the present garden. As you can see, the plants held up pretty well under the freezing temps. We have cabbage, romaine lettuce, several lettuces, and onions in this planting. The other planter has tiny lettuce plants that he just transplanted from the cells and cauliflower and broccoli.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Freezing Florida Temps and Gardens Update

It will be weeks or months before the orange farmers will be able to assess the extent of damage done to the Florida orange crops by 13 days of freezing temperatures.
In our garden the freezing Florida temperatures killed off the sprouts of carrots and radishes and mature cabbage heads. We have been enjoying broccoli, a bit discolored, and onions and radishes, and nice heads of cauliflower. Many of the large leaves were burned, but evidently the heads were protected enough not to be ruined.

Enormous sinkholes opened up as result of the farmer's watering their strawberry crops. The wells are now dry in the surrounding property. They had to water too long. Never have the farmers had night after night of spraying their crops to keep them from freezing. The freezing temps lasted all night, so the farmers kept the water going every night. This was an unusually long cold spell. Now the farmers may be liable to replace all the dry wells in their neighbors' property---a very expensive proposition.

I must tell you the cold snap froze our enthusiasm for gardening this winter. My DH lost cabbages that he had started the seeds in August. At the end of the season, as you all do, we will have to re-visit the gardening experience here and the timing for crops. I know this is an unusual occurrence, but right now it is very disheartening. I am sure I will feel better when I bite into the cauliflower and cheese sauce tonight.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Freezing Florida Temps and Gardens

Yep, that's right. Freezing Florida temperatures. And not for a night or two. No-o-o-o, it has been over a week of below freezing temps in Florida. The orange, strawberry, and blueberry farmers are getting no rest because they are up all night monitoring the temps. They turn water on to spray the plants and cover them to make a thin layer of ice which somehow, is more safe than letting them freeze. I need to do more research on this because I know the farmers do this up North also to save the apple crop, etc.

We have covered our little garden, and yet, the lettuce (Romaine) froze. Icy leaves under the cover. However, they thawed and returned to edible lettuce. Yes, we ate them and they tasted fine and fresh. Our neighbor pulled his radishes, frozen, put them in water, and they were fine too. Incredible isn't it?

Dec. 21 my DH planted carrot seed in the ground. During this cold snap, we were amazed to see the little green sprouts in the row. Evidently the ground is warm enough for them to germinate. However these last few days will be the test to see if the above ground small leafy plant will continue to grow or to freeze and die. If the plants make it, we also are curious to see if the carrots will be stunted by the cold temps.

This is our first attempt at raising carrots in Florida. We're probably nuts to try it, but that's what gardening is all about--experimenting, improving, always trying something new. I'll give you a report in about 60 days.

Last night was the coldest night yet--we had 10 degrees on our thermometer low and we are about 40 miles north of Tampa. However it is going to warm up to 52 today and by the weekend it will be 72. Hurry up weekend!