Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Maple Hill Hop 26

Maple Hill Hop

Welcome to The Maple Hill Hop,
where we share what's happening outside our doors.

Friends gifted us with this banana tree.
How fun to be able to walk out into the backyard
and pick your own bananas!
 We may be long gone from this house,
but someone will benefit from this kind deed.

Shopping is not a favorite activity.
An exception, however, is made when it comes to buying plants.
I also love a bargain.
One of my favorite things to do is to stop by on the weekends
and peruse the "dead" rack.
It's the area in the back of the nursery section
where the overabundance of plants can be found,
not looking so healthy.
These French marigolds were acquired for $4.
That's 48 seedlings for less than five bucks!
It turns out they were mismarked,
but the store honored the price.
They will be used throughout the garden
and in a few pots around the house.

These white cosmos were also found on clearance.
For a buck apiece, they were irresistable.
Our additions to the garden are often found on the "dead" rack,
and for the most part, all they need is a good dose of water and the right spot to grow.

 After battling this year with lubbers,
 at least one bug jar will now be kept out in the garden.
That saves me from having to come back to the patio to retrieve one.
Sometimes, you gotta be fast to catch those suckers.

What's happening outside where you are?
Let's HOP!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Farm School Spring Series Week Four

It was a wild and windy day at 
Farm School 
this weekend.

The time just flew by as we made our rounds
and attended to a few tasks.

The garden is at maximum capacity.
Every available inch is being used
to produce some delectable goodies.

Several of the bell peppers are starting to show some color.

A few rows down, the same variety is having some problems.

The mottled leaves show signs of distress.
Instead of trying to figure out what the problem is,
Lynn will most likely pull them out and replant another crop in the space.

For the first time, black-eyed peas are being grown.
Lynn was thrilled when every single seed germinated.

There are plans for more of this crop to be sown,
as it is tolerant of the summer heat and humidity.

The kohlrabi sold well at the market this weekend.

This is the root system from the pots where they were grown.
It was surprising to see how small it was,
considering the size of the plant.

The New Zealand spinach that was left to grow
is looking healthy and expanding.

  Successive planting keeps customers happy.
When lettuce can no longer be grown
(we're getting close to that time),
this makes a wonderful alternative in a salad.
Along with some of Lynn's Celebrity tomatoes, 
it's a dynamite combination.

Lynn decided to try to continue the lettuce crop,
as most of what he's grown has bolted.
The new crops will be grown in the shade
to give them a better chance at survival.

We transplanted about 20 seedlings.
Lynn has the most delicate touch when removing them from the cell packs.
He simply tilts it, gently pushes from the bottom,
and lets gravity do the rest.

We hope these will make it.
This is the Red Salad Bowl variety, my favorite.
There is another heat tolerant lettuce that is being tried.
We'll feature that variety soon.

We also took down 3 rows of spent sugar snap peas.

We replanted in the hopes that the shady area they are planted in 
will help them produce for a few more months.

Fortunately, there are some that are just flowering,
so we are guaranteed some juicy goodness.

The scallion sets we planted a couple of weeks ago,
are coming along.
This is another plant that usually does better in the cooler temps,
but Lynn wanted to give it a go.

Here's a pot that needed to be harvested.

Lynn takes a metal maul and taps the side of the pot.

Once the soil is loose,
Faye and Lynn work together to remove the entire plant from the pot.
The soil is collected underneath on a piece of ground cloth,
 so that it can be reused.

Scallions can just be harvested as orders come in,
or readied for the farmer's market.

Because the scallions are planted so deeply,
there is an abundance of the white section of the crop.

Faye cleans the scallions to enhance the presentation.
The outer skin is gently peeled off,

and the roots are snipped.

She divides them according to diameter size,
and then combines a few of each different size in bundles.

The beets have been wonderfully sweet,
but the season for them is almost over.

Spring is the time for blooming amaryllis.

A bushel of juicing oranges was taken home for a friend.

Several orchids are blooming as well.

There's always something good happening here.
Not the least of which is food for this gardener's soul.

You can read about how Farm School started here.

homestead barn hop linky

Friday, April 11, 2014

Plant Profile-African Iris

This week's Florida-friendly plant profile
features a lovely, easy-to-grow plant
that is used throughout our gardens.

African Iris

This is one of the easiest Florida-friendly plants to grow.
It asks for so little 
and gives quite a display of beautiful white blooms most of the year.

The blooms start out in this tightly formed bud.

Over a matter of a few days, the bloom emerges.

The delicate white petals frame a complex and mesmerizing lilac and yolk-colored centre.

It never disappoints.

When the pods dry, the seeds contained within
readily drop, forming new additions to the garden.

The blooms are prolific with absolutely no care whatsoever.

Two years ago, I transplanted a few that were growing in the backyard.

Here's what it looks like now.
They do well in full sun,
but also thrive in partial shade.
The transplants under our weeping elm
are constantly in bloom.
They look like little white birds taking flight.

These drought-tolerant wonders do just fine with occasional watering.
As is the case with many Florida-friendly plants,
no fertilizer is necessary-ever.

They are easily divided, 
so they are a great plant for sharing with others.
(You can see how we did that here.)

You can read more about this
fabulous care-free plant here.

Week One-Bulbine
Week Two-Native Milkweed

homestead barn hop linky

Backyard Farming Connection