Monday, May 12, 2014

Farm School Spring Series Week Eight

Welcome back to 
Farm School.

Things are slowing down in the vegetable garden
with the heat and humidity feeling more like summer
than mid-spring.
Here's what's going on in Central Florida this week.

Tomato Town is lookin' sad.
The combination of disease and scorching temperatures
has taken a toll on this wonderful crop.
Much of the fruit is salvageable,
but we're not sure if we will get much more from the remaining plants.

Peaville is not faring much better.
Although these pots have been well shaded,
the heat was just too much for this cool weather crop.

Whatever can be harvested, will be,
and the pots will be filled most likely with black-eyed peas.

We are hoping this last planting of peas
will still provide a final harvest.
Fingers crossed,
'cause it'll be a while before we can start peas again.
There are some bright spots in the garden.

Speaking of black-eyed peas,
this crop continues to captivate us
with its fierce heat resistance.

Nothing seems to deter its growth.
It will be added to other parts of the garden
as established plants succumb to the summer-like humidity.

The leek are feelin' no pain.
So far, so good.
These are planted 3 to a pot
and banked every so often to maximize
the tender white stalks that are so prized by chefs.

For the most part, the broccoli and collards are spent.
Some broccoli tips are still being harvested,
and Lynn has been surprised that they have not yet been infested with worms.
Even the New Zealand spinach is having some issues,
so we'll have to keep our eye on that crop.

Here's one plant that thrives in the heat,
and therefore okra is one of the crops being used
to replace the outgoing veggies.

To our sheer delight,
the Simpson Elite lettuce we transplanted a few weeks ago
is holding its own.
It sits in the shade and we are hoping it will continue to do well.
Lettuce is not typically a summertime crop here.

The Romain is looking strong as well.
We might get some lettuce fixings before the fall!

The Datura transplants are going gangbusters!

Although there is a bit of trouble with the cardinals sampling the Sweet Million cherry tomatoes 
right off the vines,
we managed to pick a lovely couple of handfuls for me to take home.

Lynn showed us the avocado forming fruit on one of his trees.
What a thrill to see this, as most of the avocado trees
have been wiped out by an fungus-carrying insect.
This is a real good sign that they may be making a comeback!

Our task for today was to take cuttings from this Euonymus
to start new plants.

Lynn really enjoys the variegation of this variety.

The cuttings were trimmed and placed 
in a bucket of water while awaiting their new homes.

Most of the leaves are stripped,
exposing several nodules on the stem.

The entire stem was coated with a liberal dose of rooting hormone.

A dibbler was utilized to form the perfect sized hole
to accept the transplants.

Lynn likes to tuck the plant in,
leaving a bit of the hormone exposed.

We completed about 80 transplants in a few hours.
These will be placed in a shady spot near the house,
so as to keep an eye on them.

Faye and Lynn have a wonderful collection of caladiums.

They sure look happy.

This is a variety I'd never seen before.
Isn't it amazing?

It looks like someone painted this beautiful pattern on them.

The turkey oak had something fascinating to show us.
Cute lil' acorns adorn the branches.

The Jacaranda tree is displaying some gorgeous lavender blooms.

This variegated pineapple is mostly ornamental,
 as it has yet to bear fruit.
The fruit is said to be quite bitter,
but the foliage is most valued.

With the veggie garden easing into the lull of summer,
it's great to be able to tackle some of the projects
that have been on Lynn's to-do list for some time.
No matter how observant I try to be,
there is always something new to see in this incredible place.

All the Farm School posts can be found under our header.

The journey starts here.


Backyard Farming Connection