Sunday, March 31, 2013

A review of "Organic Methods for Vegetable Gardening in Florida"

This thorough review in The Daytona Beach News Journal by Karen Gallagher is five pages long--Karen said it was 34 column-inches. I think it captures the essence of our book. It includes an interview with me, a notice of my appearance in Daytona this Wednesday, and it includes one of the many recipes in the book--Ugly Carrot Soup.

When you grow carrots, some of them may be less than perfect, but they taste terrific when you use them in this unusual soup. I've been using this recipe for years and it's changed with the times.  Now it's vegetarian using an olive oil stock made from scratch instead of chicken broth.

So now that vegetables are more expensive than ever, why not let us help you get started with "Organic Methods for Vegetable Gardening in Florida"?

Green gardening Matters!
Ginny Stibolt

Monday, March 25, 2013

And so the tour begins...

My vendor display includes a basket of
edible crops and a vase of wildflowers.
My three-month-long manic book tour consisting of 32 events, including 5 two-days events, started this Saturday with the Annual Wildflower Festival in Deland, FL. I'm on tour to promote my new book "Organic Methods for Vegetable Gardening in Florida." I think people are so ready for this book, that it will outsell my "Sustainable Gardening for Florida" within six months even though the sustainable book has done very well.

It's great to have both books to talk about at an event like this because they each cover different aspects of gardening. I sold a lot of the vegetable book and a few of the sustainable book to folks who were more interested in getting rid of their lawn or building rain gardens.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Old gardeners' tales

Old gardeners' tales are rampant, even these days.

Companion planting advice as shown in this graphic is freely passed along as gospel of the garden. But most of the companion planting pairings (compatible or incompatible) have not been verified with scientific methods.  Nevertheless, books have been written about plants with human emotions such as "love" or "hate" used in their titles.
  
Don't fall for these old gardeners' tales.

In my research for "Organic Methods for Vegetable Gardening in Florida," I found that the more important thing to keep in mind is the botanical family of the plants so your crop rotation from one season to the next includes different crop families for at least two rounds. This keeps the specific pests guessing and allows the soils to be replenished.

One of my go to resources for garden myths is Linda Chalker-Scott's website, The Informed Gardener. She's an urban extension agent in Washington State and she has access to the professional journals where she researches various gardening traditions to find if the science proves them to be true or not. She's also published two books listing some of the most common myths.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Is native gardening a fairy tale?

Grassleaf Barbara’s Buttons (Marshallia graminifolia)
are beautiful Florida natives suitable for any fairy tale garden…

Once upon a time, a gardener decided that she wanted more butterflies and more birds in her yard. She read books and oodles of online material and then she attended classes, conferences, workshops, and garden fests. After all this education, she found that she really could make a big difference by installing native plants that attract butterflies and birds with their berries and delicious leaves that caterpillars would eat. As a bonus her landscape would be easy to care for since native plants have lived in the wild for eons with no care at all.

After a great quest* far and wide across her realm, she found a local native plant nursery that had the native plants she wanted. She paid the small bounty for the plants and brought them home and everyone (and every bird and butterfly) lived happily ever after. 

NOT! 

Saturday, March 2, 2013

The first rain lily of spring

Three days before this lovely rain lily (Zephyranthes atamasca) emerged, we received 1.8" of rain. Hence the common name...

These lovely native plants are in the amaryllis family and mostly grow in damp ditches. We often see them along roadsides because that's where people and damp ditches most frequently come in close contact.

A couple of years ago, I initiated a rescue of some of these lilies along a roadside near my house. The road was slated to be widened and these lovelies would be buried. I applied to county for a permit, but it took so long to receive permission that by the time I could get a crew together for the rescue, with permit in hand, the ditch had been mowed and the lilies were no longer obvious. I had paced out the the location, so we had somewhere to start, but we were shooting in the dark.  We did find some bulbs and later we planted in local parks and wild lands.