It’s the month of cooler weather, turkeys and family. In my garden, it’s been the month of mulch and lime rock. At the beginning of this month I had a delivery from Green Dreams. It was like receiving an early Christmas present. I’m certain my neighbors think I’m insane, but that insanity has transformed my back yard and will be a huge payoff as we enter the dry season. I used the lime rock to create a path and seating area. The mulch is filling in my gardens and creating more of a distinct spacing. It’s made me realize I have so much more room to plant edibles. I’m planning to exercise my food forest knowledge, which is minimal at this point. (But that’s what all these gardening books are for that sit on my desk.)
I’ve been observing my drip irrigation as the rains have just about stopped. My gardens seem a little thirsty, but I’m trying to decide how much water I need. Last fall, I watered daily. I’d like to extend my watering to once a day or even once a week. I finally removed my watermelon and cleared up an entire raised bed. To my surprise, I found a handful of small watermelon buds. My children enjoyed playing with these. I planted snow peas and bok choy in this open bed.
What I planted in my vegetable garden:
- snow peas
- cranberry hibiscus
- moringa tree
- Jamaican strawberry tree
November marks one year of planting in my yard. I can’t believe how much it’s changed! I went from one live oak and a queen palm to more plants than I can count and far more garden than grass. It feels good when some of the neighbors stop by and say, “You’ve really changed this house.” Most often they are only referring to the front yard; they have no idea what hides behind that white fence. It’s my jungle sanctuary, and it’s only the beginning.
Here are a few things I’ve learned in this year:
- propagating and seed saving are much easier than I had imagined
- mulch is magic when it comes to transforming sand into dirt
- composting is the next best thing to buying plants when it comes to gardening
- gardening friends are better than any book
- Florida can grow some exotic edibles – many I had never heard (e.g., Barbados cherry, Jamaican strawberry, moringa tree, etc.)
- there are so many vegetables that you should just never try to grow in Florida; they may work in the north, but the moisture and drastic rainy and dry season give those edibles a run for their money
Keep experimenting in your garden! Experiments may fail, but the lessons will be your success.
If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.
~ Meister Eckhart
Maccubbin, Tom. Month-By-Month Gardening Florida: What to Do Each Month to Have a Beautiful Garden All Year. Minneapolis, MN: Cool Springs Press, 2014.