Monday, September 23, 2013

Falling for Fall

So, fall is here! I get a lot of questions about fall pruning. Don't do it. It can be hard to resist pruning your plants as the leaves fall, but the plants will actually benefit from just being left alone. If pruned now, many plants will produce new growth. Then, when freezing temperatures come that new growth will get hit. For a healthier plant wait until Feb or March, depending on where you live to prune and fertilize.
Continue to check your vegetable seedlings for pests; With the weather still warm, caterpillars and other pests are still on the move.

So, how do you keep your yard looking happy and inviting? Plant fall and winter bedding plants. The mums have been available for a few weeks now. Snap Dragons are available in a variety of heights and colors.
There are some with the bloom standing straight up and then there are types that hang. They can brighten up a porch or landscape in planters or even planted directly in the garden.

Pansies are another favorite for fall and winter. Pansies are available in just about any color imaginable. They also come in different bloom sizes. 
 Other plants I enjoy growing in combination with these are: Violas, Asters, Dianthus,  Rudbeckias, Ornamental Kale, cabbage and peppers. Planting now will give months of enjoyment. Refresh and extend your summer pots with autumn beauties. Watering is important, making sure to give moisture on cool nights and drying fall winds. Dead head the plants (pinch and remove dead blooms) to encourage more blossoms and prolong the show.

Mass planting will give you that, "'Wow!' effect!"  When I am planting in mass I try to plant the plants about 4" apart. A nice trick that helps me with spacing is to use a 4" square container between the plants to keep everything evenly spaced.

Happy Gardening!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Awaken the Sleeping Garden

September is here! Hard to believe, the temperature is still hot and humid.

If you intend to plant your fall garden where your spring garden grew, you must remove your summer vegetables. By now they have have stopped producing and are looking like damsels in distress. Remove the plants as well as any weed growth. When you have the garden cleared of unneeded growth, add a light layer of organic matter-or compost, such as your own homemade compost-, composted manures or mushroom compost. 1-2 pounds of a complete fertilizer such as 10-10-10 may be applied per 100 square feet of bed space. Alternatively, if you're into organic gardening, you can apply organic plant food. Then, thoroughly incorporate the organic matter and fertilizer into the garden soil by tilling or spading to a depth of at least-6 8 inches.

Now the fun part. What do you want to eat

If you aren't sure what vegetables grow in your area, check with your local nursery or extension agency.
In our garden we are starting lettuce (mainly Romain because they are more heat tolerant in the early season), broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, cabbage, mustard greens, turnips and beans. The more adventurous gardener can grow Asian crops such as Chinese Cabbages, Mitsu, Bok Choy, and  Kohlrabi. Many below ground crops can be planted at this time.  We grow what our family will eat and more to freeze for later on.


At this time our flowers are still big, blooming and beautiful. Keep deheading, mulching and fertilizing your flowers that look good. Any that need to be replaced, remove. Add organic matter and start planning your fall flowers. Right now you can plant Mums and Petunias. In a few weeks you will be able to add Pansies, Snapdragons, Ornamental Kale, Dianthus, and Johnny Jump Ups. We are in zone 8, check what zone you are planting in to get an idea of what plants will grow through the winter in your area.

Double Take.

This is a great time to start cutting of Perennials or Shrubs that you would like to have more of in your yard. Do you have a rose bush or another shrub that you have found that does very well in your yard?It is always a good idea to to have more than one. 

Happy Gardening!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Monsoon Season in Sopchoppy

I haven't written in forever and a day, but got the urge today- while wandering the house as thunder and lightening flashed in the yard. The rain started back in  June, just about the same time that Tropical Storm Debbie hit this area just the year before. So far in July we have had about 28 inches of rain.

You could call our yard the Emerald forest. Looking outside is like looking into a magical land; Where perhaps fairies kissed the flowers as they open in the mornings. Leprechauns could be sabotaging our watermelons that are bursting everyday, and the Toad King is thanking Mother Nature for her overflowing cauldron of water. Okay, I think I am getting off track.

Today I feel productive. I am going to to make Rose Petal Jam. I love this jam. It is surprisingly delicious, and I love to spread it on a bagel.  Brings back memories of hanging out with my friend Ruth. She was the one that would watch Chloe so I could make the jam. Ruth would also carry the jam with her everywhere she went and sold it to anyone and everyone. I haven't made it since we had to put her in a home because she had altheimers. I never knew that such a dreadful disease could strike at a young age. I remember when she no longer remembered who Chloe was. I cried so hard after we left that day. Chloe had been Ruth's pride and joy. She would stop by the house for any excuse so she could play with Chloe and would call at night to tell Chloe good night almost every night. I doubt Chloe even remembers Ruth, but I do and am grateful for the love she had for our family.

I found out today that the Huffington Post pictured my jams as a favorite handmade food from Etsy. I was surprised and pleased.

The link will take you to a picture of the jam. Well going to check out for now. I am going to try to post more often.

Friday, February 3, 2012

There was a Zebra in my yard.

Feb. 3rd,2012

   Today is my sister's birthday. She isn't 104 as she claims to be on Facebook. I thought that was funny and that I should share it with all the people who read my blog. After checking into FB (Facebook) this morning, I ventured outside with the twins and my furry friends.
  The weather is so nice, even though the groundhog saw his shadow and claims that there is 6 more weeks of winter. We have not had a winter at all, with the heat, we've barely had to use our heater at all. This comes as no surprise living in Florida.
  First on the list of to do today was to clean out the perennial flower beds. There was a lot to do. Aidan had on his Zebra costume from Halloween and was a great helper. He took all of my debris and carried it to the burn pile, being the sweetie he usually is. I am not sure how he wasn't sweating to death, with the summer-like weather and all. I should have taken pictures.( note to self: take camera outside with you next time.)

  I cut back everything. Plants should be either cut all the way to where the dead from the winter freeze ends.Some plants only require some shaping.Took stock of what I might have to replace later on. I lost my beloved Amaryllis. This was a huge one that I grew from seed. This was upsetting, it was choked out by the Iris. The Amaryllis can be grown from seed, it takes months for the seeds to germinate and then takes three or four years before they produce big blooms. I should have mulched immediately but didn't. If I were helping someone in their yard, I would have insisted that it had to be done right then.
 Mulch helps protect the plants from bacteria,fungus and helps the soil hold moisture. There are different kinds of mulch. You can buy Cedar Chips, Rock, or Pine Straw or leaves you rake out of your or your neighbors yard. This is a good reason to be nice to your neighbors who have lots of trees on their property.

This is the perfect time to put down granular fertilizer. Slow release fertilizers are heaven sent, These fertilizers can last 3 to 6 months before you need to reapply. YAY!! I still like to use and occasional liquid fertilizer to feed the leaves of the plants.

It is important that perennials be cut back, fertilized and strawed. This is usually done a couple of weeks before the weather warms up.

After cleaning our clippings, The Zebra and I went and had lunch with Ella Rose.

Sunday, January 22, 2012


Being a mom of five [including my childish husband], life is topsy-turvy for me. I'm in need of an outlet for my creativity and to express my thoughts; so I decided to start blogging. 
Some of my various interests include:
- Gardening
- Children
- Crafting
- Eating +
- Cats

I live in a small town in Florida. To some this town is small and backwards. To others it is peaceful, eclectic and a natural wonder. From the White squirrels to the Worm Gruntin' Festival, Sopchoppy is not only a fun name but a unique town.

Starting next week, I am going to start writing about getting ready for spring gardening. This temperate weather that we have been having is giving us the itch to start planting our spring vegetable gardens. Until next time "grow strong".