Friday, December 28, 2012

A compost turning = happy gardening in 2013!

The old compost pile by the shed was last turned in midsummer.
Last summer I turned this compost pile as part of the shed-moving project, and I've continued to add alternating green and brown layers* to the top since then.

Now, it was time to turn it again to access the bottom of the pile, which I guessed would be finished by now. I also had some old, mostly composted arborist woodchips to mix in with the unfinished compost to add some extra nutrients and more volume.

I cleared out the space for the new pile where I'd recently worked down to the bottom of my last compost pile.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Winter Solstice and more...

The Mayan Calendar ends 12/21/12 6:12 am EST.
Winter solstice has been a cause for celebration (both pagan and religious) since man's earliest days for now is when the days start to get longer. And isn't that reason enough?

This year the day has new meaning, though, since the experts tell us that the Mayan calendar, which has been in effect for more than 5,000 years, will end.

Over on the Florida Native Plant Society blog, I posted a plea to plant a tree, because when you plant a tree, you believe in the future. So if the world does not end as predicted, it will have been because all those gardeners planted so many trees that the future just had to be there for them.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Scrubjay Trail Winterfest

A mocking bird surveys its space. Does it see that bug?
I did see some scrub jays, but they did not pose as well
as this mocking bird.
I attended the Scrub Jay Trail Winter Fest in Clermont, FL on Saturday. What a great event and the weather was fantastic. All for a good cause: the preservation and conservation of the habitat in and around the Scrubjay Trail.

All day long wonderful musicians filled the air with festive melodies, people took rides on the big cart behind two gorgeous work horses, kids were entertained by Ranger Rick and a slew of activities, people bid on the vast array of silent auction items, and more.

And oh yes, I was there talking to folks about my books, Sustainable Gardening for Florida and Organic Methods for Vegetable Gardening in Florida and also about the upcoming Florida Native Plant Society's conference in Jacksonville in May.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Bokashi Composting, a fast, anaerobic, fermentation process

Gainesville Compost Chief Engineer & Inventor Steven Kanner
mixes bokashi grain into UF Krishna Lunch food waste.
A guest post by Chris Cano

(I ran into Chris recently at Porter's Community Garden. You can read about this at The Gainesville community behind Porter's Garden. He talked about this different type of composting, so I asked him to educate us. Thanks, Chris.)

Upon running into Ginny at Porters Community Farm, I was excited to share with her about our Gainesville Compost initiative, particularly about a new food scrap fermentation solution called bokashi which we have been experimenting with at the Porters plot.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Gainesville community behind Porter's Garden

I saw a notice on Facebook that Porter's Community Garden in Gainesville was looking for volunteers to plant donated fruit trees on Wednesday Dec. 5th. I was going to be in town for a couple of other meetings on that day, so I stopped by. What a great community project!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Recipe for Failure: Long-day Onions in Florida.

I love winter gardening in north Florida. We can grow cool-weather vegetables including, lettuce, onions, garlic, cabbage and the other cole crops right through the winter despite the fact that we get 10 or more killing frosts. The soil never gets particularly cold, though because between those frosts we are likely to get some warm days--even up to the high 70s. I've started many of my cool-weather crops this year, but I hadn't started any onions yet. So it was time to start some.

On December 1, most of the onions for sale in a Home Depot here in North Florida were long-day onions! Any grade-school kid can tell you that the days are getting shorter until Winter Solstice, when they will slowly get longer. So if you plant onions now, you will not have long days any time soon and while those onions may grow, they will not form bulbs before our weather gets too hot for them. Long-day onions are for northern gardeners in places like Maine, who plant onions in the spring and leave them in the ground until the days grow long. So what is Bonnie Plants thinking?