Happy Gardener

We now have more food than we could possibly eat growing in our garden and that makes me a happy gardener.  I added lots and lots of manure to our garden this year and it has made the soil so wonderful.  I found some friends that shared their manure and I took as much as I could get.  I ended up with horse, goat, chicken and rabbit poop.  Great stuff!  We have our own animals so we have manure for our garden, but I wanted a truckload full to jump-start our garden over our winter growing season.

Rabbit manure can be added straight to a garden without having to compost it.  Plants love rabbit poop.  The other manures need to be dried out for a while before they’re added to the garden.  There are some good reasons to compost it.  Do I do that?  Ummm… yeah, sure. 

The weather in Southwest Florida has been wonderful and heavenly.  We were the warmest spot in the nation last week.  It all works out fair in the end though… we get hurricanes.  For now, we have bragging rights.  I’ve found it difficult to sit at my computer to compose a post for my blog because I’ve spent every moment outside.  We’ve been picking gobs of strawberries,  romaine lettuce,  peppers,  tomatoes, nasturtiums,  collards,  napa cabbage,  beets,  onions and turnips.  I’m picking up a tray of ‘Florida 47’ tomatoes today to plant more before it gets too hot. 

Our beautiful hens have been giving us fresh, delicious eggs.  We have a doe (on loan) that is giving us 4 cups of milk a day and our bees are loaded with honey to be harvested.  The ‘to-do’ list is long, our business is overwhelming and we are tired, but we are enjoying and appreciating every minute of every day together.  We’ll sleep when we’re dead.  (I’m probably repeating myself here, but I have to keep telling myself this).

Our family garden.

A honeybee on our potted Persian lime bush. The bush variety is meant to be grown in a container.

This is a strawberry that is being grown in a pot. It's a plant left over from last winter. Most of them perished in our intense heat last summer.

These are newly planted strawberry plants. I planted 250 this year. This summer, I will find a way to protect them. They're the 'Sweet Charlie' variety.

This is a 'Cosmic Carrot' from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. They're really delicious and definitely very pretty. The kids think they're awesome.

A young cauliflower that is maturing.

Brussel sprouts forming. They're super-duper delicious stir-fried!

Young kohlrabi. This is my first time growing this.

Lots of carrot tops. The cat in the background is guarding his catnip.

Romaine lettuce, some cabbage, heirloom tomatoes and dandelion.

Yummy nasturtiums. I've planted them everywhere this year.

Johnny-jump-ups are jumping up everywhere. I love that!

Enjoying the fresh air...

... and the warm dirt.

C'mon cat, this is a family blog. He's our 'farm cat'. He keeps all the animals safe from the lizards.

 Come grow with us! 

8 Responses to “Happy Gardener”

  1. Hi,
    Thanks for doing this as it is great. Enjoy your posts and pictures.

    Your children are beautiful.

  2. Barbara Lucas Says:

    Beautiful and so refreshing!

  3. I am *so* jealous! I have been growing sweet peas, lettuce, radish, red beans and black beans in my little 4×4 raised bed. Wile I am very please with the success I have had this year with them, I am so envious of your gobs of produce! Good for you!!! Do you plant all from seed? Are they all from Baker Creek (catalog sits next to me on my desk)? Will you plant anything more this year or not until fall?

    • I didn’t plant it all from seed this year… although that would be my ideal way to do it. I bought several small plants at our local hardware store that I couldn’t resist. This is generally not a great idea because diseases and other stuff can be brought into your garden this way. I had a farmer friend give me quite a few plants this year too. I usually keep planting throughout the year. Although, summer time in SW Florida can be brutal to me and my garden. Usually by August I’ve had enough of the armies of bugs, weeds, and humidity and I take a couple months off. However, we can grow some fun stuff in the summer such as okra, peppers, watermelon, canteloupe, sugar cane, collards, black eyed peas, pigeon peas, callaloo, gourds, eggplant, papaya, lemongrass, water chestnuts, passion fruit, etc.

  4. Will you be growing all that this summer?

    • Yes, we will grow all of that and much more. Grayson has already sewn his beloved gourd seeds in pots. I’ve planted my papaya and pigeon pea seeds in little pots. I’ll transplant them. I’ll wait until late April to plant our black eyed peas and okra and will plant the seeds directly into the ground. I already have peppers growing in the garden and they will grow nice through the summer. I have water chestnut growing in their water containers, they thrive in the summer. I grow collards throughtout the year, but they get buggy and tough in the summer. I like to use the collard leaves (raw) as wraps instead of bread. I grow lemongrass throughout the year. Basil and stevia love the heat. My thyme always does fine in the summer too. I’ll be planting my sugar cane starts back out into the yard for the summer too (this week). Callaloo is my absolute favorite summer crop and I’ll be growing lots of it this year. It’s super easy to grow, like an invasive weed. We’ll also grow tons & tons of marigolds and purple coneflowers. Oh, and I have 7 different varieties of passion flower vines that I started from seed last year (from Butterfly World). I have them in 30 gallon, black plastic pots and they’re growing like crazy. I’m going to place them in several spots in our yard, but I’ll probably keep them growing in the pots. They already have butterflies all over them. I usually grow eggplant in the summer, but I can’t get anyone in my family to eat it.

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