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With a little help from us, you too can be a gardener, or a farmer!

  • Flower Garden in Florida

    It's the perfect time of the year to visit our greenhouse! This is the month when we get the prettiest flowers for your garden.  Walking into the greenhouse and seeing all of the beautiful hues of pink, lavender, red, orange, yellow and blue put a smile on my face everyday.  In order to have a successful flower garden, you must know your garden's sun pattern.  Does the flower garden area get the morning sun or the afternoon shade?  Let's start with the sun-loving plants for your flower garden.

    Sun Loving Flower Garden

    If you love yellow flowers, then you can't go wrong with these Bush Daisies in your flower garden.  Make sure to give them enough space when planting because they'll definitively spread into a beautiful bush.  Very easy to take care off, they just need to be regularly watered when first planting.  Once they are established, they'll be fine with weekly waterings.  They do love sun, so make sure they get plenty of it.

    Flower Garden Bush Daisies

    Another showy flower is the "Cleome" or Spider Flower.  Cleome is available in white, pink and beautiful fuscia bringing amazing color to your flower garden.  This flowering plant is an annual and it will bloom from now until fall.  They are native to South America, which makes them great drought tolerant plants for Florida weather.

    Flower Garden Cleome or Spider Flower

     

    Once you decide where to put your flower garden, make sure to figure out how much sun that area gets daily.  The amount of sun your garden gets will define what type of flowers will survive.  Make sure to water your newly planted flowers daily until they are fully established.  Depending on flower type and the soil conditions of your garden, after two to three weeks, you may need to change your watering schedule.  Here are some resources for gardening in Florida:

     

    Bed Preparation is the key to successful flowers and vegetables

     

    Florida Yards and Neighborhoods Handbook

  • Plants to grow in your backyard

    I've only been using our container vegetable garden for about 2 years.   I'm always wondering and researching what plants to grow next.  Last year, most plants were starter plants either from the market or from our local Lowe's store.  Some came from seed packets.  This year, I decided to grow everything from seed.  Piper helped me pick out our seed packets back in December.  We picked the following plants to grow: broccoli, asparagus, black seeded Simpson green lettuce, rainbow swiss chards, eggplants and cauliflower.

    Plants to grow Photo taken January 14, 2013

     

    So far, I'd say the seeds have done wonderfully.  I say this because I just started with the same soil that was used last year.  Yes, I should have added more potting soil and I will definitively do that when I start my next bed.  I'm what you might call a "hands off" gardener.  I am not good at watering the container garden every day.  It's too much pressure, and honestly I don't have the time.  Even my daughters had to chime in when I planted new seeds and didn't water them right away.  I figured, it was a watering day, so the sprinklers would water them soon enough.  I also do not add fertilizers or pesticides to my container bed.  If it's going to grow, it will grow.  That's my motto.

     

    Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce Plants to grow Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce

    I've had great success with the Black Seeded Simpson Green Lettuce.  The Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce is very tender with a beautiful green color and has a nice taste.  It's an early lettuce, so it will take about 45 days or less to grow from seed.  Since planting it back in December, I've harvested it twice.  Both times, I filled up 1 1/2 one-gallon ziploc bags.

     

    Rainbow Swiss Chard plants to grow Rainbow Swiss Chard

    Another great plant to grow in your backyard garden container is the Rainbow Swiss Chard.  I grew these from starter plants last year and was so successful, I decided to grow them from seed this year.  Not only does Swiss chard taste amazing, the beautiful mixture of fuscia, gold, orange and red looks wonderful in any garden.  The leaves will mature into bunches in about 50 to 60 days.  I harvested mine a few weeks back when we had a cold front coming in and I was able to  fill up 1 one-gallon ziploc bag.

     

    The broccoli plants are looking really good.  They have grown about a foot and a half and have the most beautiful grayish blue green color.  Broccoli takes 50 to 60 days to mature, so mine should be coming up soon.  The cauliflower plants are also doing pretty good, but they have only grown about a foot.  Cauliflower matures in 50 to 70 days, so I have a bit of time to go.  As for the eggplant seeds we planted, those have not come up.  I believe they didn't survive.

     

    Plants to grow Asparagus Fuzzy "cat tail" like Asparagus growing.

    The most interesting seed packet out of this bunch is the asparagus.  We decided to grow it mostly out of curiosity.  These cute little "fuzzy trees" started coming up and I couldn't figure out if it was asparagus or just some weed.  After searching through Google, I think I have some asparagus seedlings growing!  Let's keep our fingers crossed and maybe in two years, I'll actually be able to harvest it.

     

    Here are some good sources to help you decide what plants to grow:

    How Long Until Harvest

    Fall for Broccoli

    Renee's Garden

     

     

  • How does your garden grow?

    About a month ago, I finally had some time to clear the weeds out of our vegetable growing box and decided to plant some seeds for the winter growing season.  This is something I started to do with the girls last year just for fun.  I think its important for kids to know where their food comes from.  After looking through our seed packets, my assistant picked broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, lettuce, eggplant and swiss chards.

    After choosing the packets, it was time to get to work.  My assistant insisted she had to be properly dressed in order to begin her garden. :)  Who am I to argue with her?

    Carefully selecting the seeds.

    A gentle pat on the ground to cover the seeds.  Around the gardening box we went.  Last year we had great success with the cauliflower and broccoli plants we bought from Lowes.  So, I'm really curious to see how we do with them because this time we are starting from seed.  So far, with very minimal care I must add, the chards, lettuce, cauliflower and broccoli seem to be going at full speed.

    This picture was taken about 20 days after planting.  Previously we've had problems with snails and slugs.  After a quick google search, I learned that ground coffee beans have been used to combat slugs and snails.  So, off to Starbucks I went!  It seems to be working so far.  I've also learned that ground coffee beans are great as mulch.  I'd say its probably time for me to pick some more up!

    Here are some other useful links on growing vegetables at home:

     

     

     

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