Category Archives: Uncategorized

Aloe babies

I got a few sprigs of aloe from a friend and planted them this morning. I’m hoping they’ll do what comes naturally to aloe and give me a lush bed of the stuff. It’s the first of what I hope will be many medicinal plantings.

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Soil

Right now I’m in the first week of a four-week course on soil. It’s given by a university in England through an organization called Futurelearn – it’s a MOOC, if you’re familiar with that term. It’s free, and so far it’s been very informative.

So far I’ve learned that soil is classified based on its particle size. Sand has the largest particles, then silt, then clay. It makes sense now that clay is so hard to work with as a soil, because the particles are so tiny and packed together. That’s what makes it so heavy.

Living in Florida, of course my soil is mostly sand. We were asked to post pictures of a cross-section of the soil where we live this week. Here’s mine:

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Rich soil that is good for growing should have several layers. Mine only has a very thin top layer, an intermediate layer of roots, and then pure sand. The top layer is the only soil worth growing in, which is why I have to either amend my soil or build raised beds and buy soil for them – which is what I’ve been doing.

Soil texture is important for water management, and of course sandy soil drains very quickly. Sometimes that’s good, but it also means that plants need more water, as the soil doesn’t stay moist.

Next we’re going to test the texture of our own soil. I’m pretty sure what my results will show!

We’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden

Wow, have I neglected this blog, or what? I thought it had been a few months since I’d posted – it’s been two years. Argh!! Turns out a full-time career as a librarian and a part-time career as a writer aren’t compatible with being a successful full-time OR part-time gardener.

I did have a good carrot crop this year, and I have four loaves of carrot bread in the freezer now. But that was the only crop this year. Right now there’s nothing growing, as July is just too hot to grow anything here in FL. I want to plant potatoes in the fall. Right now I think one crop at a time is all I can manage.

I have eight years left to retirement, when I intend to be a full-time gardener and a part-time writer. I’ve been thinking about the best approach to the garden until then, and I’ve decided to concentrate on building my infrastructure – all the raised and in-ground beds I have planned, rain barrels for my gutter downspouts, and some new tools – while I can still afford the supplies. After retirement my income will be reduced, of course, but I’ll still be able to afford seeds!

Right now, I need to pull some weeds. 😄

To All Organic Gardeners: I Need Your Help!

My friend Jenna lives a few blocks from me, and has this bizarre thing on the leaves of one of her tomato plants. I have never seen anything like this. Can anyone identify these critters? She said they’re like thin black beans.

Delicious Daydreams

Every day when I get home from work, I putz around in the garden and examine all of my plants. Not only do I get the chance to pluck a lot of harmful caterpillars and worms from the leaves, but I get a chance to just sit and enjoy my blessings. Today, though, I’m stumped.

This is the front and back view of a Chadwick Cherry heirloom tomato plant leaf:

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These black, shiny, bean-shaped things are actually embedded inside of the leaf. They look like seeds of some sort…maybe? Of all the years I’ve been a Zone 9 Florida organic gardener, I’ve never seen this. Please, please, please, gardeners, friends, bloggers, I beg you, help me.

Thanks in advance,

Jenna

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Heirloom Carrot and Cucumber Salad

My friend Jenna is blogging about gardening, and she used some of my carrots to make a carrot/cucumber salad yesterday. Doesn’t that look great?

Delicious Daydreams

This was a day to clean out the veggie drawer. My friend gave me lots of gorgeous heirloom carrots, and I have a volunteer cucumber plant that produces perfect cukes faster than I can eat them. Carrots plus cucumbers plus a mandolin equals happy Springtime in a bowl.

This recipe is one of those that’s not really a “recipe” at all. But, if you want to duplicate mine, take one large carrot and one large cucumber and slice very thin. Use a mandolin if you have one, but watch your fingers!

Add veggies to a bowl and add half cup apple cider vinegar, quarter cup water, a splash of canola oil, one tablespoon dried dill, teaspoon sea salt, teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper, two teaspoons sugar, and put in the fridge for a couple of hours.

This salad is the perfect companion to a sandwich, but completely wonderful and healthy…

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Freezing!

It’s really cold today. I’m glad I work indoors. It’s supposed to warm up to normal (mid 70s) next week – I hope it stays there for a while. I’d like my two weeks off to be productive.

In other freezing news, I just ordered a new freezer. It’s a 7.2 cu. ft. chest freezer, a Kenmore. It’ll be delivered on 12/24. I got $15.00 off, the price was $20 less than the Lowes freezer to begin with, and the delivery charge is less also. The only regret is that it only comes in white – I would like to have had black, to fit in with the decor better. But that’s okay.

I’m picking up my first box from the CSA tomorrow. Woo hoo!

Still having internet problems

I’m still having connectivity problems at home, and haven’t had time to figure out what’s going on yet. Posting may be a little sporadic until I get this solved or get far enough ahead in my writing to schedule some posts. Ack!