Tag Archives: North Florida garden

North Florida Gardening: August To-Do List

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It is a jungle out there. I really don’t want to share pictures of what my garden looks like now.

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How about you just look at these pretty peas?

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Or the nice striping on this eggplant?

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I have two teeny tiny jalepeno plants, approximately a foot tall each, and they have been pumping out the peppers. I just got a dozen from them.

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Just keep scrolling past the garden pictures…

The okra is doing great, as is the basil. The orange and yellow cosmos are real winners over here.

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Jungle!! AHH!!

The cover crops that I planted are chugging along, though, even the 75 cent pinto beans.

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Going to let a few ‘Clemson Spineless’ okra pods ripen so I can save some okra seeds for next year.

I planted probably double the amount as last year, and I still wish I had planted more.

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The yard long beans are growing up the fence with amazing vigor. They twine like pole beans, but aren’t complaining about the netting. They show no signs of slowing, and seem as though they would grow 50 feet tall if I had a trellis high enough.

My neighbors probably already think I’m weird enough, better not.

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Picked and shelled some Southern peas. I think I’ll grow more ‘Mississippi Silver’ next year; they seem to be larger and pack the pod pretty tight. More meat for your shelling time.

My to-do list for August:

1. Get seeds started for fall garden. Kale, collards, Swiss chard, cauliflower, kohlrabi,and broccoli will go in flats so they can be planted out in September.

2. Till under cover crops in large garden toward end of month.

3. Pull up green beans from shed bed and replace with zucchini and yellow squash. In August, we can essentially replant a spring garden here in North Florida, and September starts the official fall garden planting for me. If you want an almost complete guide to the vegetables you can grow in Florida, a really good planting calender can be found here.

4. Try not to get stressed out by how terrible the garden looks now. July and August tend to be pretty tough. Maybe next year I’ll just smother the whole thing with grocery store beans the first of July and pretend it doesn’t exist until the middle of August. 🙂

How’s your garden? For some of  you, this is the time to make me jealous!

First Green Beans of the Year!

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I love being able to make this statement in the evening: “I’m going outside to harvest some vegetables for dinner.” The fact that I can  just step outside to get ingredients for dinner is wonderful.

Last night a quick stir fry was on the menu. I love making stir fries; they are so versatile and it’s a delicious way to make good use of fresh produce.

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Fresh green beans, wax beans, mustard greens, and garlic chives were such tasty additions to dinner.

Not many nutrients lost in storage; they went right  from the garden to the cutting board. Don’t you just love fresh ingredients from the garden?

What have you made from your garden lately?

How to Freeze Peppers

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Florida fall garden pepper plant During the Florida fall, pepper plants seem to really produce peppers like crazy. I had to harvest all my peppers in anticipation of that random pre-Thanksgiving freeze. I think the final count was 54?

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Fresh peppers can be expensive, even more so prepackaged vegetables, fresh or frozen. I usually use peppers in spaghetti sauce, chili, fajitas, stir-fries, etc., so freezing them in strips or diced was the way to go for me!

Start by washing your peppers. Even if you did not have to spray them or fertilize, they may still have dust or little bugs on them.

Hold peppers upright, and slice off the wall of the peppers all the way around, leaving the seeds and core.

Cut into strips and/or dice the peppers.

No need to blanch, simply spread them out on a cookie sheet and freeze. If you happen to think of it, stir them after about an hour so that they are separated.

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Do not skip the freezing-on-cookie-sheet step unless you have a recipe that calls for a one quart block of frozen peppers. 🙂

Put the peppers in freezer bags, label, and place in freezer.

I love having pepper strips ready to go into a stir-fry. It is so convenient to be able to take a small handful of diced peppers and to toss them into an omelette or spaghetti sauce.

Although I love to can my easy two ingredient blueberry jam, apple butter, and quick peach jam; I have to admit that quickly freezing a crop is the simplest way to preserve it for later.

Have you ever frozen a crop? How did it turn out?