Tag Archives: North Florida vegetable garden

August To-Do List

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August To-Do List

Did you know that in North Florida, fall planting is as busy as spring? In fact, many of the spring crops (beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers) can be planted again!

Here’s how my garden is doing and my plans for this month.

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The summer showers and sweltering heat have finally taken their toll on many of my spring plants. However, the herbs, green beans, and ‘Marketmore’ cucumbers are doing well by the shed.

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I have moved many of my herbs from my pallet potting bench to the shadier garden, as the summer’s heat was drying them out too quickly.

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I ripped up the tomato jungle, but took some cuttings from the ‘Roma’,’Super Sweet 100′, and ‘Brandywine Pink” tomato plants for propagating. I am rooting them in water, as the heat seems to be a bit oppressive now for rooting them outside. I have a post about how to root tomatoes in this post.

The cucumbers are done. They exceeded my expectations, while the tomatoes in general underperformed.

The sweet potatoes are running, the new row of okra has buds, and I have a cantaloupe and watermelon ripening,

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It is a little strange to be preparing in the heat for fall/winter crops when sweater weather is a distant memory, but I will sweat while starting seeds for crops that will likely taste the best after a light frost. The best source that I have found for vegetable planting times in Florida is here.

So what is on my to-do list?

  1. Plant more green beans.
  2. Start broccoli, cauliflower,collards, and cucumbers. More fall crops can be started next month too.
  3. Make pesto. I transplanted the basil cuttings that I rooted, so hopefully I will be able to make some to freeze. It is a vibrant addition to winter spaghetti sauce.
  4. Stuff and roast banana peppers. Anyone have a favorite recipe?

Not too busy, the heat of summer is when I tend to let what I have done in spring do its thing. I haven’t had to do much weeding, even after pulling up the tomato plants. Less weeding is the main reason why I mulch.

Oops, almost forgot. I hope to try my first ground cherry this month too. The plant is from some seeds that I got for free, and I am so excited to try them! One of my big goals for this year was to grow fruit, and I really hope this plant succeeds.

How is your garden? Did you have a crop that exceeded your expectations?

I Left My Garden for 6 Days

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Yes, I was that crazy lady with a tactical flashlight looking for cherry tomatoes last night when I returned.

I’ve had crazier ideas-remember the seeds in the oven?

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Not pictured: a handful of cherry tomatoes picked by flashlight

I was so excited to go on a treasure hunt this morning and find the rest of the vegetables!

So what do I plan to do with this bounty?

The yellow squash are destined for being sauteed with some onions in olive oil and of course a bit of butter. 🙂 I think I will just blanch and freeze the green beans for now.

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Most of the cucumbers are overripe and yellowing, but should make decent pickles.

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I was pleasantly surprised to see these banana peppers. They were grown from seeds saved from a pepper purchased last year. What do you think of stuffing them with a cream cheese-dill mixture?

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white patty pan squash

The patty pan squash are so big that I think I am going to make some chocolate bread with them, following a suggestion given by tinywhitecottage in response to my UFO squash post.

There were some casualties too; my zinnia, tomatillo, and basil seedlings are roasted, and I may not get any ground cherry plants after all. Yes, the ground cherry plants were grown from free seeds, but they were valuable to me.

While I was in Kentucky, I visited a very nice edible garden. I’ll share pictures of that soon. They had  neat compost bins that are similar to my compost system, and some biodegradable planters that really were a neat feature. I think you will enjoy the pictures.

I hope your gardens are doing well!

Sometimes my Plants Mock Me

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Sometimes I think that plants live just to spite me. Ever just toss a declining plant into an abandoned corner to die, only to see it recover and do better than when you were carefully tending it? Or chunk some seeds carelessly on the ground and watch them produce like mad?

Remember how I had to buy carrots at the Palafox Farmer’s Market? I have had a hard time growing carrots in North Florida.

So, last fall I carefully prepared a row,  planted seeds, and pampered them.

I got 2 seedlings. Pathetic. I really wanted fresh carrots too.

I was so frustrated that I hacked out a row mid-January, dumped the rest of my 3 varieties of carrot seeds in it, watered it, and challenged them to grow. Snow and frost came and I figured they were goners for sure.

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Now they mock me. They grew so thick that I was forced to thin them! I had to pull up EXTRA CARROTS!! I hate thinning seedlings.

My peppers have a similar story.

I had such a hard time starting peppers from seed this year that I ended up buying a few plants. In the bare spots I tossed the remaining ‘California Wonder’ pepper seeds from Farmer’s Village in Pace.

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Look at the pepper seedling forest! There is even a tomato volunteer from the compost.

Sigh. Sometimes I do all I can and plants die. Sometimes I challenge them to survive, and they thrive-just to spite me.

I’m not complaining, trust me. I don’t mind having to decide where to put 42,000 extra pepper plants. You know I’m not going out there with a pair of scissors and chopping their little heads off to thin them. They may be impertinent little sprouts, but I can respect those hardy little souls.

There are also some exciting happenings in the garden. My first tomato flower! This is from a ‘Sweet 100’ cherry tomato plant that I started from seed in February.

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I love my Jamberry nails! I seldom bother painting my nails because gardening is so hard on them, but these hold up pretty well for this gardener.

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bush green beans

These are my first green beans of the year. This plant was actually started when I stuck a few random seeds in a houseplant this winter. Of course they sprouted and of course I had to transplant them outside when it was really too cold and of course a plant survived.

I think it was stuck outside in my flowerbed in February. I don’t recommend planting green beans in North Florida in February, unless your plants are obstinate. This one was, but if I had planted a whole row then I maybe would’ve gotten 3 plants. Go figure.

Have you ever had anything similar happen to you? Have you given up on a plant only to have it finally start growing? Tossed “worthless” seeds on the ground, only to be faced with the dilemma of too many plants? Maybe you can identify with my Potato Volunteering in my Compost story.

Do you have a gardener friend that may like to commiserate with this story? Feel free to share on Facebook!