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

  • House and Bedding Plants

    Tuesdays at the market are always very special.  And that's because we receive a truckload full of flowers for our garden.  There's always the regulars such as Peace Lilly and Zebra.  Peace Lilly is a very versatile plant.  It works great inside your home or outside in the shade.  Another great quality of the Peace Lilly is that it doesn't need much attention.  The Zebra plants require a little more hands on care, but the rewards are worth it.  Zebra plants thrive in bright, filtered light, high humidity and never allowing the soil to completely dry.  Here's a great video on keeping your Zebra plants alive.

    And then, there's the show stoppers: Celosia and Mona Lavender.  Celosias have a very bright showy color which makes them perfect for annual beds or edging in your garden.  They love full sun, so they do great in our Florida weather!  Mona Lavender is also a Florida Friendly Plant because it can tolerate our heat, rain and humidity.  They flower year around and they work great in the garden as a bush or in a container as the "thriller".

    Are you planning any gardening for your house this Summer?

  • Backyard fruits and vegetables

    Last summer I decided to grow some fruits and vegetables at home as a teaching experience for my two little girls.  I think it's very important for children to know where their food comes from.  It all started with a trip to Lowe's.  They had a raised bed on display at their garden center entrance.  As soon as I got back to the market, I couldn't wait to tell Jim about my "summer project".


    These "raised beds" are fairly inexpensive if you are handy.  There are lots of raised bed tutorials online.  I wish I had pictures of Dad and Jim putting together our raised bed.  I have asked them to build me another one, so maybe I can do another post on how to build one.

    I filled our raised bed with the potting soil we sell at the market and picked some fruit and vegetable plants right from our market: blueberries, raspberries, and tomatoes.   We also planted sunflower seeds.

    Late last year, we tried broccoli, cauliflower, strawberries, swiss chard, strawberry onions and peppers from starting plants.  We also planted carrot and lettuce from seeds.  I take a very relax approach to my garden.  I mostly leave it alone.  I let the sprinklers water the plants unless it was a real scorcher of a day.  I can say we had good success with the broccoli, cauliflower, and the swiss chards.  The pepper plants died in the first freeze we had, but at least they were fun to pick.

    We've eaten a few "baby" carrots and some "mini" strawberry onions (nothing like you see at our market).  A few weeks back I saw this and could hardly contain my excitement.

    Those are raspberry flowers!  I couldn't believe the "wait" was over.  You see, we planted blueberries too and had enjoyed a few of them already.  But it has taken the raspberry a year to bloom and produce these beautiful berries.

    But the best part of it all, was having the girls come rushing in last night to tell me we had raspberries growing in our backyard.  To hear their little voices filled with excitement and accomplishment is priceless.  Have you tried growing veggies or fruits in your backyard?  Were you successful?



  • Spring is here...or is it summer already?

    Florida weather has never been very predictable.  We have a few cool, breezy days in a row; then the mercury shoots right back up past 90 degrees  in the blink of an eye.  I know my calendar says we just had the first day of spring, but seriously, its starting to feel more like summer each day.

    Another sign of spring at Parkesdale Market is the greenhouses.  At this time of year, our greenhouses are filled with Gerber Daisies, Ground Orchids, Gazanias, Sunflowers, Amaryllis and the most fragrant Hybrid Roses you can imagine.  I dare you to walk by them and not stop to "smell the roses".  This is usually one of the things I do every morning.  I can't help myself.  I debate which ones I would like to bring home, meaning I'd like to bring one of each color!

    Last year I finally decided to give roses a try.  Mind you, I don't consider myself a gardener by any means.  I brought home three different types of Roses: a lilac rose tree, a peach drift rose and two Knock Out Roses (a yellow and a red).  I can proudly say my garden only suffered one casualty.  The yellow Knock Out Rose did not make it.  Not sure why because it was planted next to the lilac Rose Tree, which has bloomed and re-bloomed despite my lack of constant care and attention.  The red Knock Out Rose has at least doubled in size if not tripled.  Now I undersand why Knock Out roses are so popular.  They are much easier to not take care.  The drift rose is still alive, but not as big as I would have hoped.  I understand this is normal as they are recommended as ground covers because they stay very low to the ground.

    Given my odds from last year, 3 out of 4 is not bad, I decided to bring home two more hybrid roses: Granada and All American Magic.  Our backyard gets full sun, so I think I've found a good spot for them.  When I bring any plant home, I like to "test" their new home before putting them in the ground.  I've always heard about "right plant, right place", but I never really understood it until I found hoe and shovel.  I haven't met Meems yet, but I would love to.  Her garden, or better yet her desire for a front lawn without grass is very commendable.  Much like a lot of our produce, our roses are locally grown in Plant City by Mrs. Cruz from Cruz Nursery or the rose lady as I like to call her.  She recommended Bayer 2-in-1 Systemic Rose and Flower care.  It feeds and protects with one monthly application!  I sometimes remember to apply it.  When I do apply it regularly, I can see an improvement right away.  The blooms are plentiful and the plant itself looks so much more green.  Even with my sporadical use, I still get blooms and no bugs on my roses.

    What are your thoughts on Roses?  Are roses really worth it?

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