Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Just can't get enough

I love my garden sooooo much. I think about it all day long while I'm at work. I think the main reason I take lots of pictures.....is so I can garden gander whilst working ;)  I know the best time to take care of your garden is supposed to be early in the morning, and you are "supposed" to let it rest at night. But what's a busy mom to do when that turns out to be her best time to work in the garden. SO around nine-thirty last night I went out to see the happenings and do a little maintenance. I'm glad I did, because I found a nasty little caterpillar trying to destroy my eggplants. It was too little too late for one fallen comrade:
That caterpillar must have been one tough SOB because these plants have some serious thorns all over it
Luckily these plants are loaded with future plants. I plan on putting crushed egg shells around the bases tonight to discourage this from happening...I'll let ya know if it works 
(I went to touch the eggplant above to get a better shot and got pricked by the thorn...so this is as good as it gets for now) 
as you can see, the herbs needed some serious attention. I had thinned the basil a few times, but never got around to thinning out the parsley (or dill or cilantro for that matter). 
Much better!
As you can see I really didn't bother to do much with the cilantro. That is because I am officially over it-cilantro wise. First of all, I'm part of a very elite group of people who cilantro tastes like soap to. Unless it is used very sparingly it is yuck to me. Second of all, it bolts so quickly here in Florida you'd think its other name was Jesse Owens.The only reason I even tried to grow it again this year was because one of our garden goals was to make lots of our own salsa (thereby justifying an entire bed-each-of peppers and tomatoes). 

That stuff that between the cilantro and basil that makes me look like a neglectful weeder is actually marjoram. It has definitely been the slowest grower among the herbs, but it is finally coming along. 

...since we were already talking about peppers.......

Here's some beautiful bell peppers. They are loaded down!

The poblanos are looking quite sexy too 

The carmens are all starting to recover from the previous disaster (when we went out of town and the little neighbor girl didn't properly water the garden and lots of blossom end rot was the result)

Not sure yet what to do with all these banana peppers, so if anyone has suggestions, please pass them along

Here's some more bell peppers. My DH started the garden from seeds this year and at one point in time there was a "spill" and some of the plants identities became a mystery. We marked these in the garden with a popsicle stick with a big ? 

Turns out they were bell peppers! Yesssss! I was so praying they would be BPs and not banana peppers. I really wanna have enough bell peppers to freeze for the rest of the year.

These are either Carmens or Orangecicles. Either way, Yum! 
They taste FANTASTIC! Last night we used some of the peppers that weren't totally destroyed (but still kinda ruint) by the end rot. Husband made sausage and peppers using a mix of bell peppers, carmens, orangecicles and godfather peppers. They were all so delicious and blended together perfectly! 
(don't worry, he cut around the rot) 

I need to take some pictures of the Serranos and jalapenos because they are coming along nicely too. 

Now for the other part of salsa: 
The tomato bed is as jungle-y as ever

But look! This is after we lost about 25% of our tomatoes to blossom end rot, and I picked a few for fried green tomatoes the other night.  Its like looking at one of those out of focus pictures, once you get your eyes adjusted you see that there are tomatoes everywhere. 

The cherry tomatoes we planted are kinda disappointing this year, but I guess you can't expect too much from a $.20 bag of seeds bought in the winter time (the summer garden fever strikes early in these parts) 

Now, onto the "party" bed. This bed is full of all those wild and crazy plants that don't play well with others. Its like they all got put in after school detention together, but somehow they all seem to be hitting it off
As you can see, the tomatillos are the most "strung" out in the whole bed. No matter how much you try and tie them up, they find a way to sneak out and get wasted overnight. Tomatillos are dragging the dirt, but they don't seem to be affected. A small brown bag (hmmm, how fitting) is now holding some we already harvested until they are completely ready to make salsa Verde. 

The melon trellis is slowly but surely getting taken over by the watermelons and cantaloupes. The cantaloupe on the far right side decided it wanted to head to the left instead of straight up so it is crawling all over the other plants sideways. They don't seem affected for now, and it is pretty determined to stay that way too. 

 But there is FINALLY a female cantaloupe! Who knew they were so fuzzy....

Here's one of the watermelons too. I think it just wanted to get away from everyone. My solution will be to wrap a knee high (pantyhose) around it once it starts to get a little weight to it. 

The beans are climbing....anything they want. They are training nicely up the strings, but are also climbing up the center pole AND reaching backwards for the fence....which is NOT a good idea with this fence.

^cow peas 5/22/2012

^Blue lake green beans 5/22/2012

^okra time! 5/22/2012. Can't wait for these plants to get out of control 

^summer squash plant 5/22/2012. I thought for sure this plant would be done by now.

^my DH pollinated this one this morning, so there should be new zuke in my life very soon. 

After we were away, I gave the 8 ball zukes one week max, and yet here they are. They have actually been the biggest producers. 

^8 ball zucchini 5/22/2012

^cucumber bed 5/22/2012

This year we planted lots of flowers in the garden beds in hopes of bringing around bees, and look: 

I don't think I saw one bee last year, and this year there is almost a daily sighting. Squeeee  bee

and what do we have here...

Thanks bee, I owe ya one! 
These cukes are gonna be awesome! 

^the accompanying dill is doing fantastic. Its not the scraggly variety that I've been unfortunate enough to have before. I will be buying this exact seed every time now. 

The Bay Laurel tree is kickin it and taking names

I'm just not sure about the lettuce. In the winter time it literally grew like a weed-we had a couple of seeds drop in some sand and they became huge heads. I think the Florida heat (May = already summer) is just too much for lettuce. 


  1. I love your garden!!! I too am in Florida. I attempted to start a patio garden but am having bad luck. My strawberries runners have died and jalepenos have been infested by those small white bugs (forgot there very popular name). Do you have any tips ?

    1. Thanks! You mean aphids? Yeah, they suck. Especially if you are like me and don't want to put any kinds of chemicals on your plants. They LOVE peppers though! Aphids are always going after the youngest most tender leaves around. So, you can try some sort of "distraction" method. Like plant some basil and put that next to your peppers. However, once everything is big they do seem to still hang around, but at that point the plants are strong enough to withstand it. Here's something that may be helpful: http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/pepper/msg0603201621329.html

    2. A few drops of blue dawn soap in a gallon of water and spray! Spray! Spray! Be sure to get the undersides of the leaves too. You'll have to do it a few days in a row but it works and is not a pesticide. Another thing to try first if its not too bad is water from the top (when the sun isn't blasting them,you don't want wet leaves in the sun). It should knock them off and most aphids can't fly. These things work for me, and I had a huge problem with aphids on my roses... you could see them from about 2 or 3 ft away... blue dawn every day for about 2 weeks until they were gone.

  2. Your garden is beatiful! I pinned few things for future:-) What dill seeds do you use? You have so nice bushy dill plant or a dill bush:-) I never had a success with dill and I love this herb.

    Thanks, Elena

  3. We like the banana peppers deseeded and stuffed with mozzerella cheese, or just sliced into bites and layered with mozz. cheese. I cook it in the microwave for about 4 minutes and it'd ready!