Gardening

DSC_2257Although originally posted 3/23/11 this will be an opening post to our gardening page. I will follow up with more photos and articles as we go along this year!
The headlines have been full of ugly scenarios describing TEOTWAWKI – the end of the world as we know it. It’s no longer merely a Fox News or survivalist mentality pushing the meme on blogs. Recent tragedies in Japan and war news in Libya are added to the fuel of the economy not recovering the way the current US Administration would like us to believe. I have no desire to get into the politics of why or how or even who is to blame – seems there is more than enough of all that to go around the world many times over crisscrossing each other on each round! But my basic budget realities tell me the economy is certainly not improving in my household. I have a decided shortfall beginning to appear each time I go the gas station and the grocery store is not helping. What I felt in the wallet is now beginning to be talked about on all the news channels as well as liberal and conservative blogs alike. Food is getting more expensive, the weather is not helping, and the wars and natural disasters both have drastically affected food availability as well as cost.
So like many I have started a garden – much like the Victory Gardens of WWII. Our family laughs a lot that Valentino is a reincarnation of his grandfather Valentino who was the master gardener to beat all gardeners! He was “blessed” with a piece of land that consisted mostly of poorly placed rocks all over the side of the mountain. For whatever family reason that piece was left to him, he chose to do what we now laughingly refer to as “Given lemons, make lemonade!’ He would laboriously till each small plot of dirt between the rocks – all by hand. One certainly could not have used a tractor around all the rocks even if he was able to afford to own or run one! Because he worked each plot separately he was able to compost and till until each little spot became a wonderful raised garden plot. His yield of vegetables to feed his family became the stuff of legend that the old timers who knew him then still talk about today!
IMG-20110415-00033         So with this in our thoughts, Valentino and I now set about making our garden. We have ample room to both have two fair sized plots – one is 6 by 28 and the other is 12 by 30 feet. In addition we have set pots and other containers everywhere we can fit them.
On our fence we hung aluminum rain gutter fastened into a window box contraption for strawberries and radishes.

The planters at the base of our grape arbor shelter chamomile as well as the grape plants.
Now we are anxiously awaiting the results of all our work – I have been tracking the expense and at this point if we see a 50% germination and crop yield, we will at the minimum break even financially for our first season! This is pretty remarkable considering the expense of buying soil and cow manure our first time out here in addition to some containers to grow in and fences! I have also started a compost heap so that we can perhaps avoid the expense of more dirt. Our future plans are to raise the beds with side boards so that it becomes easier to control the soil content and avoid some of the washout effect of rains here in Florida. We plan on saving many of our seeds to defray that expense also.

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One thing for sure – my impatience (a bad trait to be sure) is showing! I cannot wait for the first salad made totally of our own produce! This being strawberry time in Florida, I decided to indulge my impatience just a bit – yesterday was spent in wicked pleasure making homemade strawberry jam and lemon marmalade (from our homegrown lemons!). The tree is still full of lemons but also ready to bring more!

The family pronounced the jam-making a complete success, opening bottles this morning to spread on toast with their espresso!   DSC_1904

7 thoughts on “Gardening

  1. The garden looks beautiful, not at all like our efforts. Last year was so disappointing that we haven’t even made an attempt this year Maybe we need to borrow Val’s green thumb. Good luck with the 2013 garden.

  2. Are you in Central Florida? We have had decent luck this winter with our garden, but just can’t get enough to can or freeze. Any ideas?
    I finally talked my husband into storing a years worth of food and he finally got us a freezer. We have solar to a point to run most of our stuff if needed.

    • We are on the Spacecoast of Florida. Our winter garden was smaller this year because we have been concentrating on other areas of prepping. However I am starting all our seedlings now for spring and summer garden. We haven’t yet gotten enough regular food to store via canning although we do a lot of dehydrating of our herbs and spices. We also freeze some of the vegetables. Each year we have bee increasing the amount of vegetables — but it takes a lot of tomato plants to have a large enough harvest for canning! I sow a lot of the chiccoria and we grow a lot of zucchini so we get to freeze those nicely. For the greens it seems to be easier to sow freely rather than trying to just set in rows – we manage to get a better yield. Also we work the soil – I add lots of bagged cow manure each year and work in — I also use all of our rabbit manure and add it in every chance I get. When I am not using a section of garden (for instance this winter) I also dump straw and chicken manure. It’s almost like composting on a large scale but the straw combats weed growth and there’s nothing for the chicken manure to burn in way of healthy plants.

  3. We are on the space coast too. Right now we lost a few tomato plants to a freeze, but this weekend we are replanting and adding beans and peas. My husband is learning. We live in a city in south Brevard and animals are not welcome at this point. I am getting close to freezing some herbs and stuff. I appreciate your response.

    • Some of our Brevard cities are not as honest about what they welcome or not — they try to actively discourage. Do some research on the county website. That was what we learned when it came to the chickens! HOAs tend to be tougher! I’m starting my seedlings this weekend to get our garden going. With a disabled husband I am working on many of the projects with his guidance rather than physical help!

  4. I may. Just have to get the husband on board with the chickens. We planted quite a few tomatoes, broccoli, peas and beans this weekend, We planted about 12 bell pepper plants and are hoping they actually turn out. We don’t have great luck with bell peppers.

    His guidance may be best. lol Mine decided that this afternoon we were planting flowers and veggies while he sets up the irrigation system. It will be nice not to have to water everything by hand.

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