Monday, March 31, 2014

Farm School Spring Series Week Two

Spring has sprung at 
Farm School.
This week found us enjoying a cool, sunny day
that motivated us to tackle a few vital chores.

 Our status check on the garden always starts the day.

The kale is coming to the end of its run.
It has started to decline with the warmer temperatures,
but will be harvested for market as long as possible.

 Faye and Lynn have been sampling the banana peppers
that have continued to produce.

 The okra that was started a few weeks ago is growing well.
As the cool weather crops wane, 
there are plans to sow many more rows of this heat lover.

 The kohlrabi is just about perfect for pickin'.
Lynn told me that up north, these are one of the fastest growing crops.
With the fluctuation in temperatures here,
 they take a bit longer.

 Tomato Town is exploding with goodies!

These are the Celebrity variety
and they will be gracing our table very soon.

Some are already starting to turn color.

 Some of the Sweet Millions had to be pulled out due to spider mite infestation.
Hopefully, this row will not be affected.

The seed from the arugula that has bolted is being saved.

Fortunately, the lettuce is still going strong,
but with temperatures hitting the mid-80's later in the week,
its days are numbered.

Our first task was to plant another row of scallion sets.

The sets were sorted, placing the smaller ones to the side for planting today.

We also pulled out any sets that were already sprouting.
These are just yearning to grow,
so they will be among the first to be planted.
Give 'em what they want and they'll repay you tenfold.
They will not be denied!

Any of the sets that seemed dry or rotten were tossed,
as they are not likely to produce a crop.
There weren't too many of those.

This little gem is just longing to kiss that dirt!

Lynn made the holes and then the set gets planted deep into the pot.
We featured the whole process here.

Another job that needed doin', was to sow some cucumber seeds.
We had attempted to grow them a few months back,
but conditions were not favorable and they just didn't do anything.

Lynn had already put up this fencing so that they have somewhere to climb.

The soil was scratched to loosen it up a bit, 
as the composed soil mix was not used here.
This is one of the few crops that will be planted directly in the ground.

A shallow furrow was made...

and seeds were planted about every foot.
They were flagged so we know where to expect seedlings to pop up.

Another undertaking was to pull out 4 rows of sugar snap peas that were spent.
They weren't producing enough to warrant them staying,
and Lynn has plans to put another crop in its place.
He still has sugar snaps growing elsewhere in the garden.

Any weeds that were found were removed
while uprooting the plants from the containers.
The vines were pulled from back to front along the baling twine,
and then removed from the opening at the ends.
It's pretty doggone efficient.

Lynn's considering planting radishes here,
as they are a quick crop and sell well at the market.
Sometimes the pots need to be topped off with soil,
but it wasn't necessary here.

Lynn comes up with all kinds of cool adaptations around The Hill.
Here's a handy idea.
This path is used frequently by foot and golf cart
to access part of the garden.
As the hose needs to stay put,
he encased it in PVC pipe to aid in its longevity.

He plans to bury it just beneath the soil
to ensure it stays put.

These pots are filled with Lynn's soil mix
and are awaiting planting.
The screen wire on top keeps debris out until planting day.

Wouldya look at this glorious beet?
The end where Lynn cuts off the greens is a work of art.
They don't taste too bad, either!

This is a turkey oak tree.
The color is a vibrant green.

Anyone who has turkeys will recognize this.
The tree gets its name from the leaves
which resemble a turkey's foot.

We're enjoying the comfortable spring weather
and completing projects with ease.
Here's hoping that spring has made Her appearance in your garden.

Wonder how we got started with this gardening gig?
You can read how Farm School started here.

From The Farm Blog Hop

Friday, March 28, 2014

Plant Profile-Bulbine

With the commencement of spring,
it seemed like a good time to start a new series.
Every Friday, I'll be profiling one plant
from our Florida-friendly garden.
Some will be adaptable to other climates.
I hope you enjoy and learn something new.

Our chosen plant for this week is bulbine.

This South African native is a great addition to the garden,
as it is drought tolerant and requires very little care.
We have both the yellow and orange varieties.

Best planted in full sun, the heat of summer doesn't seem to bother it one bit.
It blooms profusely most of the year here in Florida.
We use it clustered in front of evergreens to add some contrast of color.

It does well standing alone in the corner of our sidewalk planting.
This vibrant perennial expands over time,
so you never really need to buy another one.
It is easily divided for placement elsewhere in the garden.

The yellow variety also self-seeds,
which makes it easy to pass these along to others.

The dynamic burst of color on this vigorous grower
adds a splash of color, especially to partially shaded beds.

The foliage can stretch out to over 4 feet wide,
so give it room to spread.
The spirited citrine spikes can reach 2 feet tall
and sway in the wind over the lush grassy undergrowth.

The sap found in the leaves can be used to soothe burns and rashes,
much as aloe vera is known to do.

Heat and drought tolerant, cold hardy to 20 degrees,
sun, shade; it is unaffected by the whims of weather.
This charmer is the perfect choice for those who are new to gardening.
Success with this plant is inevitable and could very well create an addiction.
Healthy obsessions certainly have their place.

Want more information about this garden treasure?
Read this.

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