Florida Gardening in June

June Gardening:

First, yes, I am completely aware that it is no longer June. I haven’t turned senile. I know it’s July. I just returned from a visit in Wisconsin, which is why this ‘June’ gardening is actually being published now (I forgot to pack my FL gardening books.).

My poor gardens have been severely neglected and need a good weeding. I have spent so much time designing other gardens and workshops, that I have abandoned my own green space. Luckily, it’s raining pretty consistently, and I don’t grow too many annuals this time of year, so I just need to get outside and weed.

Learning to Grow in Florida marked it’s one year! What began as a healthy emotional outlet (both gardening and writing) has inspired me to begin my own non-profit, Pineapple Acres – a holistic gardening space that offers gardening classes, workshops, holistic design and a chance to experience the spiritual love of nature. In the last year, my backyard wasn’t the only being that transformed and blossomed. I feel unrecognizable to who I was last summer. And that’s a good thing. I hope to continue to grow, and thank all of you for being a part of this journey. Cheers to a year filled with love, joy and beautiful plants!

What to plant in the vegetable garden:

The only thing growing in my annual raised beds are compost volunteers or kitchen to garden experiments. Still, there are a few vegetables that can handle the heat and humidity:

  • okras
  • sweet potatoes
  • Southern peas
  • calabaza
  • chayote
  • dasheen
  • Jerusalem artichoke
  • malanga

What I harvested:

  • pineapples
  • Jamaican cherries
  • tomatoes
  • strawberries (I have a few plants tucked in shade.)
  • greens

What is flowering:

  • Jamaican strawberry tree (I’m getting so many cherries on this tree!)
  • crepe mrytle
  • oleander
  • periwinkle
  • perennial peanut
  • desert rose
  • marigolds
  • hibiscus
  • squashes
  • watermelon
  • milkweed
  • crinum lily
  • plumeria

Resources:

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.

Florida Gardening in May

 

It’s soggy here. Very, very soggy. It’s been raining and raining and raining. I’m not going to complain too much about the rain, but with rain comes flooding and mosquitoes. And right now my house has both.

Hurricane season is supposed to begin in June, but Tropical Storm Alberto wanted to get this summer started off with raging waves. So here we are another cloudy day with rain. (Though on a completely non-gardening note: wicked waves equal good surfing – too much for me today as a beginner surfer, but it’s still fun to watch all the more talented surfers rolling with the waves.)

Living in Florida does mean at some point your chances of experiencing a hurricane are pretty good, so we’re going to talk about how to hurricane prepare your garden as the season kicks off.

Hurricane preparation in the garden/yard:

Most people are aware you need to prepare your home for a hurricane, but many people neglect their outdoor area. This is an area that could hold potential hazards in high winds. If winds are high enough you will experience downed trees. If you’re in a coastal are, like I am, you’re going to experience some heavy flooding, so first be prepared to lose some plants.

Other preparations, include:

  • moving potted plants in a more sheltered area (either inside your home or protected by a outdoor structure and fence)
  • move in outdoor furniture or garden decorations
  • move fountains in a sheltered area (I lost a ceramic bowl during Hurricane Irma.)
  • prune dead tree branches
  • tie down newly planted trees
  • be sure to clean drainage areas to allow water to flow

 

May Gardening:

Like I said, it’s been raining, so I’ve been playing inside with garden designs and reading on edible weeds. I’m also designing gardening workshops for my new business, Pineapple Acres. Pineapple Acres is a holistic healing center with educational workshops meant to connect my clients to the healing power of nature. At the moment, I’m also a traveling community garden designer. It works for now, though I’m looking into purchasing my own piece of land eventually. Lots of planning and paperwork this month, but it’s okay…the rain is keeping the gardens happy.

What to plant in the vegetable garden:

We are reaching that time of year when I begin to shut down my annual vegetable garden. It just gets too hot or too wet for most plants. There are still a few hot-weather survivors.

  • cherry tomatoes
  • peppers
  • okras
  • sweet potatoes
  • dasheens
  • yautias
  • calabazas
  • Chayote

What is flowering:

  • Jamaican strawberry tree (I’m getting so many cherries on this tree!)
  • plumeria
  • lantana
  • oleander
  • periwinkle
  • perennial peanut
  • jasmine
  • bouganvallia
  • desert rose
  • marigolds
  • African ginger
  • hibiscus
  • squashes
  • watermelon
  • milkweed

Resources:

http://www.southflorida.com/wsfl-home-9-16-hurricane-proof-yard-htmlstory.html

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.

Florida Gardening in April

April gardening:

This month was a month of action in my gardening world. Everything I had organized and prepared happened. And I’m happy to say, it was not only a success, but took me to places I hadn’t anticipated and introduced me to life-long friends.

In this month, I initiated phase two for a school garden; held the first Mommy and Me Gardening Club meeting; on Earth day I became certified in permaculture design; accepted another kids garden design project where I’ll partner with a county park; I was featured as a guest writer on a fellow permaculturist’s blog: Agricrafty.com; and I’m creating a website for my business! The website is in the beginning stages as well as the business end of things, but it’s still very exciting! This blog is connected.

I haven’t been working too much in my own garden, but I did create an herb spiral and I’m designing a shade structure for my raised beds and a bench for my garden shed. I’m waiting for the rainy season and need to weed! But here is what you could have been planting:

What to plant in the vegetable garden:

  • corn
  • melons
  • basil
  • dill
  • oregano
  • chives
  • thyme
  • sweet marjoram
  • Chayote
  • calabaza squashes
  • southern peas
  • okras
  • Jerusalem artichokes
  • dasheens
  • sweet potatoes
  • malangas

What is flowering:

My yard is filled with color this time of year! So many things are in bloom. Be sure to water. The rainy season isn’t quite here and the plants are getting a little more heat, which may stress them out.

  • Jamaican strawberry tree (I’m convinced this tree flowers most months! The bees love the little flowers.)
  • plumeria
  • lantana
  • oleander
  • periwinkle
  • perennial peanut
  • jasmine
  • bouganvallia
  • coral bean
  • phalaenopsis
  • desert rose
  • marigolds

References:

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.

Florida Gardening in March

March gardening:

This month has been busy! It started by celebrating my birthday and continued with exciting growth in gardening and life. As far as gardening goes:

  • I’m organizing Phase 2 with my school gardening project, which means buying more plants and exploring more local nurseries.
  • I’ve been asked to help design and plant two shade gardens, which means researching and expanding my plant dictionary.
  • A friend and I are launching a Mommy and Me Gardening Club for next month, which is a step to help educate the community about Florida gardening.
  • I’m considering opening a holistic healing and educational center with a community garden. This has been the most fun, but will be the biggest challenge. I found a property that I’m hoping will bring my vision to life.
  • As a tool to open my business, I enrolled in an intensive permaculture class!! I am beyond thrilled and just a tiny bit nervous.
  • You can also now find Learning to Grow in Florida on Instagram where I post fun photos of my yard and plants I experience throughout my day. (I had no idea that app was so popular!)

All of these projects are linked to my love for plants and my own growth. They are exciting, and I’ve learned so much during the month of March. And while all this was happening, I was still caring for my own yard and gardens. You can guarantee I was adding plants while I was exploring all those nurseries.

What is flowering:

SO much!

  • coral bean
  • hibiscus
  • Jamaican strawberry tree
  • lantana
  • orchids – my phalenopsis
  • marigolds
  • sweet potato vine
  • jasmine
  • milkweed
  • desert rose
  • moringa
  • mango
  • dwarf pomegranate

What to plant in the vegetable garden:

  • tomatoes
  • cantaloupes
  • watermelons
  • corn
  • pumpkins

Be sure to water. The temperatures are rising, which can dry the soil quickly.

References:

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.

 

 

Florida Gardening in February

February gardening:

This month seemed like the month when I felt my plants started thriving again after experiencing Hurricane Irma and two cold frosts. I have begun to see budding new leaves, fruits and flowers. My plants are growing and happy!

We’re in the heart of the dry season, so watering is a priority for my gardens. I’ve also been cleaning up frost damage, weeding and planting warmer crops in my raised beds because we’ve had some record high temperatures recently.

This month I executed phase one for an elementary school garden. This was an unique learning experience and helped me to discover many new native Florida plants. I purchased a healthy amount of butterfly plants, herbs and veggies to include in the project. I then put my new propagating skills to use in hopes to include some of these new plants into my own garden.

One thing to remember this month: don’t prune too early. Sometimes it’s best to just let the plants move in their natural way. The dead growth can be a blanket of protection for some plants. Removing this blanket too early can cause new growth to bud and if the temperatures drop, it could damage the plant.

What’s flowering:

It feels like spring with the warmer temperatures and all the flowers blooming, including:

  • Jamaician strawberry tree
  • bird of paradise
  • milkweed
  • lantana
  • pentas

What to plant in the vegetable garden:

  • arugula
  • beets
  • broccoli
  • cabbage
  • carrots
  • cauliflower
  • celery
  • fava beans
  • lettuce
  • onions
  • peas
  • potatoes

Herbs:

  • hyssop
  • burnet
  • chives
  • cilantro
  • garlic
  • lemon balm
  • marjoram
  • oregano
  • sage
  • thyme

And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair. ~ Khalil Gibran

Resources:

Garden help: http://www.jacksonville.com/entertainment/home-and-garden/2015-01-30/story/garden-help-what-do-your-florida-garden-february

 

Florida Gardening in January

 

January Gardening:

Happy New Year! January has been an interesting gardening month. Yes, it has gotten much colder in Florida. I know it’s hard to believe, but it’s been so much so that many gardeners are mourning the loss of some of their precious exotics to the two frosts. I’ve been playing the plant dance – moving all my plants indoors or in a more protective area; and then moving them back out to catch some warm sun. It’s still a time to water plenty. I’m starting to accept the current state of my winter garden, which is a little scraggly and dry.

January 19th marked Florida’s Arbor Day to take advantage of bare-root plantings. It’s a good time to add some trees during a low-maintenance time of year.

I’ve spent much of my month planning another garden for an educational garden at my girls’ school. This allowed me to explore some local nurseries and to understand more about a low-maintenance, native Florida garden.

What’s flowering:

Not a lot in my yard. My bird of paradise just sprouted a beautiful display. My mango tree is covered in blooms that to my surprise survived our freezes. Otherwise, things are looking a little more on the brown side.

What to plant in the vegetable garden:

  • herbs
  • lettuce
  • cabbage
  • broccoli
  • cauliflower

Plant from seed as transplants:

  • tomato
  • pepper

 

I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure in the landscape – the loneliness of it – the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it – the whole story doesn’t show.      – Andrew Wyeth

References:

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.

 

Florida Gardening in December

December Gardening:

It’s been a busy month, but, unfortunately, I haven’t gotten into the garden as much as I would have liked. The weather is perfect for spending all day in the garden too. Lucky for me, my garden is growing wonderfully without my help. This month I haven’t planted any new vegetables. I’ve just tried to keep everything I have alive in this dry, dry weather. Rain is a blessing in the summer and non-existent in the winter months. My drip irrigation seems to be working pretty well, but I still have to water some areas every other day. I don’t mind because it’s a good way to check the state of all my plants.

What’s flowering:

  • mango tree
  • Jamaican strawberry tree
  • moringa tree
  • milkweed
  • bougainvillea
  • poinsettias
  • cranberry hibiscus
  • calla lilies

What to plant in the vegetable garden:

I haven’t had time this month to plant any new seeds or plants, but this is the time to start planting more cooler weather plants.

  • broccoli
  • cauliflower
  • lettuce
  • beets
  • spinach
  • radishes
  • onions
  • English peas
  • Brussels sprouts

End of the year:

December marks the end of the year, but it’s only the beginning for vegetable gardening. I love watching the seeds grow into something I can eat. That is what my girls love most about gardening. They know all the edible plants and create mint, moringa and hibiscus teas or munch on fresh lettuce. To me it’s a beautiful thing to teach my children where our food comes from. I hope you can find the beauty in tasting all your hard work this year.

All gardening is landscape painting. ~ Alexander Pope

P.S. In the new year I will be spending a great deal of time reorganizing my blog and will be absent for a few weeks as I move toward a more seamless process. Until then, I wish everyone a happy holiday season and a wicked New Year!! Thank you for supporting my dream! This blog is so much more than plants for me, and I appreciate you joining me on this journey.

References:

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.