Friday, May 31, 2013

Bye-bye Broccoli: Hello Summer!

Good-bye broccoli! What a bounty we've enjoyed. From the initial harvesting of the main curds (heads) at the end of November through the endless come-again spears until last week, there have been more than 40 harvests!
Broccoli sprouts from the root. I'd never seen or noticed
 this behavior before.  I separated them out and planted
them in a large pot that I put in the shade by the potting
bench.  It will be interesting to see if I can carry
them over until fall.

Transitions in the garden

There's always something going on in the vegetable gardens. I finally removed the old broccoli plants that had been keeping us supplied with all the broccoli we wanted for six months. When I removed these gnarly plants, I noticed that two of them had produced a bunch of sprouts from the roots. I have separated out the sprouts and have planted them in a large pot, which I placed in the shade. Will they last through the long, hot summer?

Friday, May 24, 2013

Only two public events left on the book tour

Talking to people at the Wildflower Festival in Deland
about my vegetables and my books. A fun event.

The "Flowered Shirt" Book Tour

June is upon us and that means that this whirlwind book tour is almost over, and of the six or seven dates left, only one is public.

June 10th I'll be speaking to the Cuplet Fern Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society in Sanford, FL at 7pm at 200 Fairmont Ave. 32773. My presentation is Ecosystem Gardening and it's open to the public. I will, of course, also be signing books afterwards.


Thursday, May 16, 2013

The last cool-weather crops

It's my opinion that the best growing season here in north Florida is the winter because the cool-weather crops that grow right through to late spring. But now that season is transitioning to the warm/hot weather and those lovely crops that we've enjoyed through the winter are ending their cycles. I've loved that my husband and I have been eating from the same six broccoli plants since November! After harvesting the large curds (heads) shortly after Halloween, they've sent up side shoots with abandon--if we don't pick them every second day or so, they'll bloom, which would signal that they can slow down. I planted a second crop of broccoli in January that are now sending up their own side blooms, so we've been eating lots broccoli!
A harvest earlier this week created ... a whole meal salad.
In the photos above, I created a whole meal salad from this one harvest. Starting with the knife at the bottom and moving clockwise: butterhead lettuce, garlic chives, purple lettuce, curly parsley, chive flowers, come again broccoli. broccoli flowers, and carrots--both orange and cosmic purple. I fried some 7-grain bread in olive oil and wild garlic for croutons and then we created our own oil and vinegar dressing and topped it all off with some Parmesan cheese. Very nice meal. In my presentations, I mention that my husband and I have reduced our food bill by about 15%--whole meal salads are one of our favorites!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

An Edible Gardening Convert

A nice collection of lettuces.
A guest post by Claudia Graves, a college friend and now a new and enthusiastic gardener.

Zero to sixty in three years

My mother could grow anything. It seemed that her touch could bring a sickly plant back from the brink or encourage a healthy one to thrive. “The greenest of green,” is how I used to describe her thumb, but she passed that trait along to my brother only. His plants thrive. Entrance into my house is the kiss of death. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that I kill them with kindness and too much watering. No – I kill them with neglect and abuse. Why use “dirt” other than what lies right outside my door?  Why fertilize except for an occasional blast of some chemical so potent that it produces instant wilting… followed by a high probability of death. And watering? Once every few months should do ‘em. So I have “grown” a lot of lush “plastic plants” in my lifetime and not much else.