Edibles

10 Unique Ways to Not Let Your Excess Harvest go to Waste

10 Unique Ways to Not Let Your Excess Harvest go to Waste

It’s getting close to springtime and won’t be long before your garden is thriving. This means that you probably have excess flowers or edibles that you just don’t know what to do with. Don’t let your tomatoes go soft or your pineapples turn brown. One of the greatest aspects of being a gardener is the ability to share the beauty and bounty of the natural world with others. Even if you just have one extra pint of blueberries to bring to your neighbor, sharing will show how much you care. You can also spread the love and beauty of your vibrant flowers with potted arrangements or tables displays. After you’ve spent so much time pulling those weeds, watering your plants, and picking your fruits and veggies, you should celebrate your success.… Read Full Post
Planting bare root apple trees

Planting bare root apple trees

I can’t believe its been almost a year since I planted our bare root apple trees!  Where has the time gone?  And, why haven’t I written about it on here yet? Its been a very busy year but I am glad that I took the time last spring to order and plant three bare root apple trees. Growing up I remember having two apple trees alongside our driveway and I knew that one way of embracing our new zone 5 growing zone was to plant something that I couldn’t grow in Florida. Apple trees fit that requirement! I started this process by checking out the Iowa State Extension website for variety recommendations. I love looking through plant catalogs and I knew I would be easily distracted by beautiful photos of bright red apples.… Read Full Post
Keeping The Chemicals Out Of Your Garden

Keeping The Chemicals Out Of Your Garden

Preservatives, cleaning agents, pesticides, we are using chemicals everywhere and anywhere we can. More people are starting to wake up to the idea that this probably isn’t the best for us, our environment, our water supply, and our air. So, if you’re looking to tackle your chemical use, where should you start? If you’re fond of gardening, then it should be no surprise that this is where we’ll look first.   Why? It’s easy to hear the word “chemicals” and think “bad”. But what is the real impact they have on the garden and the wider environment? There are a lot of different effects depending on which chemicals they are. Herbicides do a lot more than affect weeds; they impact all kinds of flowers, the fertility of the soil, and the health of helpful insects.… Read Full Post
Florida Vegetable Garden update

Florida Vegetable Garden update

I can’t believe how long its been since I’ve given a Florida vegetable garden update!  Things are growing! You might remember that I started all of my plants from seed, all ordered from Johnny’s Seeds. This was my garden in September:   And this is today! As you can see, it is quite full. Everything seems to be doing pretty well; the first planting of beans are finished but the second planting is full of gorgeous yellow beans. Although this week has been really warm, our cooler weeks previous helped the ‘Autumn Star’ (F1) Kalettes® to really take off. The purple color is deepening and just yesterday I noticed what look like tiny buds along the stem. Hopefully some cooler weather will help these to mature.… Read Full Post
How to Plant Beans

How to Plant Beans

Learning how to plant beans may sound basic, but if you are growing your first garden this will provide step by step details. Beans are one of my new favorites!  They are easy to grow from seed and their large size makes them manageable for planting. When to Plant Beans For Florida gardeners, the When is often more important than the How. The timing of planting dates is critical to success. Especially if you are originally from more northern climates like I am, getting used to this new “gardening calendar” is important. The best time to plant beans in Florida is September through December and February through April. Why not January?  Often the soil is too cool during this month for the seeds to germinate well.… Read Full Post
Starting vegetables from seed

Starting vegetables from seed

October is the perfect time to start growing your winter vegetable garden. If you are trying to save money or grow something unusual, starting vegetables from seed is your best option. Read on to learn tips for growing plants from seed. This is a big deal for me. I don’t usually grow much in terms of vegetables, but this year is going to be different. My 10′ x 12′ plot is in full sun and ready to go. Now all I need are the plants… It seems to me that if I am going to put the effort into doing this, I might as well grow something that I can’t buy at the grocery store. When I think of vegetable gardens, one of my most fond memories is eating yellow pear tomatoes right off the plant of my grandma’s garden.… Read Full Post
Picking Blueberries

Picking Blueberries

It’s hard to believe that it is that time of year already, but the warming weather means it is time for picking blueberries in Orlando! On a beautiful Sunday afternoon we took the time to visit one of the local blueberry farms near Orlando. I haven’t done this before– it seems like something I mention every year and before I know it the short blueberry season is over and we’ve missed it. Not this year! Where to pick blueberries near Orlando There are several places to chose from and we went to Beck Brothers blueberries U-Pick near Windermere.  A few others to chose from include: Tom West near Winter Garden Pappy’s Patch in Oviedo BlueBerry Hill Farm in Clermont A Patch of Blue right between Orlando and Winter Park Southern Hill Farms in Clermont I would recommend checking the Facebook page of the farm or their website before visiting to make sure they are open.… Read Full Post
Female Flowers and Male Flowers

Female Flowers and Male Flowers

When my cucamelon vine failed to produce any fruit in the past season, I decided to take matters into my own hands and do some hand pollinating. As I was talking about this to a friend I could see the puzzled look come across her face. “How do you tell the female flowers from the male flowers?” she asked. Good question! Now not all plants will have separate female flower and male flowers. In fact it isn’t many at all, but the ones that do are important to us agriculturally.  All of the plants in the Cucurbit family will have separate male and female flowers on the same plant. This includes cucumbers, loofah vine (shown above), watermelons, squash, zucchini, and of course, my little cucamelon vine.  … Read Full Post
Loquat Recipes

Loquat Recipes

As I am sitting down to get this written I have to laugh at myself because, with the best intentions, I feel like I only got half of what I planned to do completed. Two weeks ago I said to Mike that we were going to try to make as many different loquat recipes as possible. Well, we only got two things completed and they both involved alcohol. Huh. Botanically, loquats are in the Pome family, along with roses, apples and pears. The scientific name for loquat is Eriobotryae japonica. Loquats are sometimes called Japanese Plums as well and in addition to producing these tasty little fruit they are a beautiful small tree for Florida. Loquat trees are one of my favorite elements to an edible landscape because the plant itself is quite attractive.… Read Full Post
Growing Starfruit

Growing Starfruit

Is there anything more satisfying than walking out to your yard picking something to eat? Growing starfruit may very well be one of the easiest fruits you can grow in Florida.  When friends ask for a fruit tree suggestion, this is always in my top three.  Now, there may be limited uses for the overwhelming harvests of fruit, but that is when you become the most popular coworker, friend and neighbor!   We planted our small tree in the spring of 2012 and after a little more than two years we are regular picking fruit and certainly have more than we could ever eat.  You can see in this comparison how quickly starfruit (also called Carambola) trees will grow.  Today our tree is about ten feet tall, so almost all of the fruit is still within reach when we really get on our tippy toes.  … Read Full Post

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My name is Keri and I am as comfortable speaking to a group about color in the garden as I am covered in dirt.

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