Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A beautiful cover and progress in the gardens

Organic Methods for Vegetable Gardening in Florida
Big news! The front cover of my new book.

I think it looks fantastic, don't you? I love the way the designer at University Press of Florida used the purple color from the eggplants in the top photo to edge the tomato-colored title box.

Thanks to Nell Foster for permission to use her photo of that wonderfully chaotic farmers market display. I'm mostly done with proofing the galleys and am now working on the index.

It's due to be released in Feb. 2013. I can hardy wait.

I'll be on America's Home Grown Veggies radio

Kate Copsey, the host of this weekly web radio show, contacted me to see if I'd be interested in appearing on her show. Well, of course--I am always ready to talk about gardening. We had a lovely conversation about what it's like growing edibles in Florida, which will be broadcast on Saturday 9/29/12 at 10am. Later, it will be available in the archives.

The last okra harvest of the season.
In the edible gardens...

The okra has done very well this year. We've enjoyed jambalayas, okra/cabbage soup, fried okra, okra in stir fries and more, but they were at the end of their useful lives. Time to yank them out and make room for some cool weather crops.

Root-knot nematode damage on okra roots.

Since they'd been so prolific, I was quite surprised to see that the roots were totally encrusted with root-knot nematode damage. I'm planting a lot of marigolds this fall to turn into the soil and will make sure that these beds have a cover crop of marigolds next summer.

Fall tomatoes are setting fruit.

Back in August I purchased three solar heat tomato seedlings from Home Depot with the hope that we could have fresh tomatoes for Thanksgiving and maybe even Christmas dinners. One of the three plants didn't make it but the other two look pretty good and have begun setting fruit. So as gardeners say, "We'll see what happens..."

The carrots, radishes, sugar snap peas and other cool weather crops have sprouted.

And in the front meadow...
Progress on the de-lawning. I finished removing the rest of the turfgrass and I'll be planting an assortment of native wildflowers in this area. I also created a spur of the cart path to provide good access to the left side of the meadow area. My husband and I pulled a lot of tree saplings that were growing under the overhanging branches here, which opens up the whole area. See my last post Changes... for more details on this project. More to come...
For a broader view of how the front meadow fits into the landscape...

Beautyberry seedlings need to be relocated.

Located between the pollinators' garden and the newly de-lawned area in the above photo, a medium sized beautyberry (Callicarpa americana ) has produced some seedlings that were growing too close the the mother plant. I guess there were a few berries that the birds missed last year. I transplanted them while they were small to locations in the area that will give them more room to grow.

The string lilies will also need to be transplanted away from the expanding beautyberry. I may get to that this fall, but maybe it will be a spring project.

I just love the beautyberries. The berries are so unbelievably purple and the birds love them. Some people make jelly from the berries, but I prefer feeding the birds. The graceful vase shape of this shrub is pretty any time of the year. Plus, they are hardy, easy-to-grow plants. What more could you want?

Fall asters
Another purple note in the garden is this lovely fall aster. It's a native, but I don't remember which one. When I go to the Wings and Wildflower Festival on Friday down in Lake County, I'll be looking for some more of these. I'll also be signing my books at the evening social at the Lakeside Inn.

I'm looking forward to see how this event plays out. It's a combination birder & native plant enthusiast gathering. Doesn't that sound like a good idea?

Loblolly bay (Gordonia lasianthus)
And speaking of native plant functions, I was on location of the May 2013 Florida Native Plant Society convention at University of North Florida. The campus is landscaped with many native plants and the loblolly bays were blooming at the edge of the wooded areas.  This is a beautiful narrow evergreen tree may look like a relative of the magnolias, but it's in the tea family along with the camellias.

I trust that your fall gardening is keeping you happy. Remember, gardening is a form of functional fitness.

Green Gardening Matters,
Ginny Stibolt


  1. The cover awesome, Ginny; and symbolic of the bounty within!

    Functional fitness - love it.

    Enjoyed the whole tour through your garden and yard; you are one prolific woman!

    1. Thanks Sue. Yes, the top photo on the cover does look sorta like a classic cornucopia. I think that this cover will help it to fly off the shelves in the Florida bookstores and at the spring garden fests.