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

  • A visit to the Parkesdale Greenhouses

    Last Wednesday, I stopped by the Parkesdale Greenhouses to visit Grandma Parke and Colleen.  There’s just something really neat about being in a greenhouse early in the morning.  Since 1977, Grandma Parke and Colleen have been working together at the same greenhouses.  Not much has changed since they started.  The process is always the same.  When July rolls around is time to start the “seedlings”.

    All of their tomato and pepper plants are grown from seed!  How they sort out 25,000 seeds I'll never know!

     

     

    This season they’ll be growing the following tomato varieties: Big Boy, Better Boy, Whopper, Plum, Grape, Cherry and Tomatillo.  You can find these varieties at our market from October to May.  One of my favorite things to do at the market is walk around and pick out the fresh tomatoes right off the vines.  Don't worry, I don't take them all!  It actually helps the plant produce more tomatoes if the ripes one are removed continuously.  And I'll do anything to help our plants produce more tomatoes!

     

     

    They also grow many varieties of peppers.  This year, we’ll have the following sweet peppers: green, yellow, red, and orange bell pepper, sweet pickle and sweet banana.

     

     

    If you are into hot peppers, then we’ll have the following: Thai hot, Nu Mex Twilight, Jalapeno, Long Red Slim, Orange Habanero, White Habanero (yellow), Scotch Bonnet Habanero, Purple Flesh, Anaheim, Serrano, Cherry Bomb, Bolivian Carrot, Super Chili, Prairie Fire, Purple Jalapeno and Bolivian Rainbow.  Honestly, I haven’t heard half of these names!  Have you?

     

     

    According to Colleen, we should have the Poblano peppers at the market pretty soon.  These are mostly mild peppers used in Mexican cooking for Chile Relleno.  They are perfect for roasting and stuffing.  We’ll also be featuring Cajun Belle this year for the first time.  They are a miniature bell pepper with a spicy flavor that is a tasty blend of heat and sweet.

     

     

    And of course, we can’t forget our beautiful Strawberry Baskets.  Between Grandma Parke and Colleen, they will plant about 5,000 strawberry baskets.  This year, they are planting Festival and Camino Real strawberries.  These strawberry baskets won’t be at our market until they are a bit bigger and are bearing fruit.  We should have the strawberry baskets at our market around Thanksgiving or early December through sometime in March or April.

    As you would imagine, a lot of work goes into planning a growing season.   And a lot of help is also needed.  Thanks to Grandma Parke, Colleen and her husband Terry, who is in charge of irrigation and repair maintenance, we are very fortunate to provide our customers with the healthiest, most beautiful tomato, pepper and strawberry plants in Hillsborough County.

     

     

     

  • Bare Root Strawberry Plants are here!

    While our weather is still reminiscing of summer, high temperatures and afternoon showers, a quick walk around our market will surely have you thinking about the upcoming fall season. Most importantly, our strawberry plants are finally here! This year we have the Winterstar variety, which is an early berry with the traits of the Radiance and Festival strawberry. Strawberry plants are now available in bunches of 25 for $6.98.  The bare root strawberry plants need to be kept refrigerated until you are ready to plant them.  So, when you come to the market just ask one of our cashiers for the plants.  They'll gladly get them wrapped up and ready for you to take home.

    If you are looking for a great patio plant, then you should look at the Pitcher Plant baskets. These “carnivorous” plants not only look good, but they will trap bugs in their pitchers and bring you more enjoyment out of your patio. Pitcher plants are fairly easy to take care of. They must be kept in a shade/diffuse light environment, so no full sun. Most importantly, please remember to keep some water in their pitchers. Otherwise, the pitchers will dry and shrivel out.

    If you are looking for an easy, plant with lots of color, then “Chenille” is the plant for you. Did you know the word Chenille is French for Caterpillar? That’s because this plant has these fuzzy worm like red flowers. These plants are great for zone 9 and warmer. In the event of a quick frost or freeze, the plant will regenerate in the spring. Chenille can tolerate full or partial sun, making it a very easy plant for our Florida conditions.

    Colleen has been busy at her greenhouse too. Right now, we have quite a few varieties of tomato plants (Big Boy, Better Boy, Toma Verde) and pepper plants (Jalapeno, Sweet Banana, Thai). These are available in 4 in pots for $2.98 each.  If you are planning on preparing your fall garden, make sure to pick up some of our gardening soil too!

    And of course, it wouldn’t be fall without some Mums. We’ve got a great variety of Mums: big 12” pots and small 6” pots. They are available in white, yellow and orange. Be on the look out for all the annuals coming soon as well as other vegetable plants for your garden.

     

    When was the last time you walked through our garden?

    Do you plant a fall garden? If so, what do you normally plant?

    Have you ever seen the Pitcher Plants?

  • Gardening: Gaillardia, Gazania and Pentas

    To my surprise the annual greenhouse is packed full today!  We just got a shipment from one of our local nurseries.  There are plenty of flowering plants for your garden beds.

    We’ll start with the Gaillardia Daisy or blanket flower.  The beautiful combination of orange and yellow petals reminds me of sunflowers.  The Gaillardia Daisy will grow up to 2 inches in height and can spread up to 3 feet in width.  They are sun loving so they’ll be just fine in our high summer temperatures.  For more info, check out the University of Florida IFAS Extension.

     

    The Gazania Daisy or treasure flower is also a sun loving plant.  There’s yellow, white, purple and orange varieties so they'll make wonderful color displays in your garden.    The Gazania Daisy is an annual, perfect for zones 8b-11.  Typically Gazanias are annuals, but can live 18 months or more if no freezing occurs. (Source)

     

    Another great sun-loving plant is the Penta.  If you are looking for beautiful butterflies to come to your garden, then you must plant some Pentas.  Pentas are sun loving, but will do okay in part shade.  Just remember, the more sun they get, the more blooms they'll produce.  Pentas are perennials (in zones 8-10) so they’ll keep flowering for years to come.

    To keep up to date with all things Parkesdale, check out our Facebook page.

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