We're well under way now with our spring garden and have been enjoying fresh squash, zucchini and cucumbers for a few weeks now. This picture was taken about one month after our first planting. We started the squash and zucchini on the right of the picture first, and the watermelon and cucumbers a week or two later. A few of the squash and zucchini were started from seeds in pete pots, then transplanted to the garden. The rest of the plants were started from seeds, directly in the garden.
With 2011 right around the corner, We have spent some time reflecting upon the events of 2010. This always leads us to making some resolutions for the new year to come. As yardsteaders, we tend to mark time by seasons and we began thinking of resolutions to match the seasons. We didn't want to just go with the typical resolution of "plant more next year". All the vegetables we plant each year such as zuchinni, heirloom tomatoes, squash, pumpkins, onions, garlic and so on were all popular in my kitchen this year, and we intend to devote more space to these crops next spring. But to be honest, we haven't planned well in years past and we don't have something planted in our garden through each season. I think in Florida with our climate and mild winters, this is probably almost gardening criminal. So our New Year's gardening resolution? Plan, Plan, Plan a four-season garden and make more space in the garden to grow more unusual varieties of heirloom vegetables and fruit!
The Yardstead wishes you much Happiness, Health, and Prosperity in the New Year. As always Happy Yardsteading to you and your family in 2011!
It seems that we have had a powdery mildew infection on our squash and zucchini plants every spring for the past 5 years. Since I wrote this article last year about measures to take to prevent powder mildew , we have been powdery mildew free! In reallity we were probably helped out this year by the weather, as well as our preventive measures. We followed most of the guidelines already, but I wanted to share a couple of things that seem to make the biggest difference from my experience.
Here in Florida our sub-tropical (seems to be getting more tropical every year) climate makes a nice environment for many fungal infections. Hot temperatures and high humidity combined with nice green cucurbits like zucchini, squash, pumpkins, and gourds, make a very inviting environment for podwery mildew. The spores travel on the wind, and when they land in such an ideal spot, they try to set up camp. I believe that cucurbits have some natural resistance to fungal infections, but if the fungus gets even a slight advantage, it will win in the end.
Well it's been quite a while since I've posted anything here at the yardstead. Kathleen and I have been very busy and just haven't taken the time to post. We had a good productive spring. We grew a bunch of sqush and zuchinni as usual, along with a few new varieties. This year we tried some seminole pumpkins and cuban squash. Both were very prolific, but we haven't given them the taste test yet. We also added 9 new young hens and 1 rooster in with our mature birds. We were down to 3 laying hens and one rooster due to a dog attack earlier in the year. We still only have three hens laying, but the new additions may start laying by the end of the summer. Lots of other things are growing great and we will be posting some updates (along with pictures) on our fruit trees. Our bamboos are doing great as well as Kathleens water chestnut. Anyway, stay tuned for some updates of our doings over the spring. I will be adding some new pics to the gallery this week as well. You can click on any of the pictures in the gallery to see a detailed view and description, or watch a slide show. Feel free to leave us a comment anytime, we like hearing from you.
I found a web page on line while reading about World War II victory gardens and thought I would share: http://sidewalksprouts.wordpress.com/history/
This website is full of interesting information about the history of urban gardening.
Jason and I lived in South Korea and in Japan when we were first married. One of our favorite small dishes that was placed at our table in some restaurants was a pickled fiddlehead fern or steamed fiddlhead ferns in a garlic sauce. I've thought about these dishes for years and have wondered which ferns were harvested. Imagine my delight to find an article on a new online journal that I joined recently about fiddleheads! http://www.thegardenerseden.com is a delightful online journal about gardening. I follow them on facebook.
I did some quick research at google.com and found the ostrich fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris) seems to be the most popular fern listed for harvest in the U.S. The gardeners eden also mentions the Cinnamon fern, (Osmunda cinnamomea). Stay tuned for more information on this subject. I will be looking for some Ostrich ferns to add to the yardstead's growing edible gardens. Go check out the article at the Gardener's Eden website (beautiful pictures and a recipe)!
Persimmons remind me of my childhood. It is commonly eaten in homes of asian families. As my mom is from Taiwan, it was a common fruit that we ate in the fall when it was available. I was extremely happy to find that it can be grown in our area of the southeast. According to wikipedia, the persimmon is the edible fruit of a number of species of trees in the genus Diospyros in the ebony wood family (Ebenaceae). I purchased a non-astrigent cultivar called Fuyu. I will be planting it shortly (when I find a suitable spot) in our backyard. This persimmon will add to the growing edible landscaping here at the yardstead.
Spring is Here! We are so excited here at theYardstead, to be preparing our Spring garden. The garden is tilled and has two fine patches of green already. One of the green patches is garlic and the other is onions, both of which were planted in the late fall for harvest this summer. We start most of our veggies from seed and sometimes supplement with plants from our local feed store. We have a box of seeds which has accumulated seed packets over the last several seasons, some of which we will plant this year. Kathleen, who is in charge of garden planning, will be ordering the rest from seed companies.
In the past we ordered a lot of seeds from Johnny's Seeds and Burpee, but this year we decided to go with all heirloom seeds. Heirloom seeds are.....
On March 12-13th, the UF Honey Bee Research and Extension lab will be offering the 3rd annual Bee College at UF Whitney Marine labs in St. Augustine, FL. The Bee College is Florida’s largest educational honey bee event, and is open to all ages and all experience levels. There will be beginner and advanced tracks, as well as classes for those who don’t even keep bees (gardening for bees, bumble bee biology, native pollinators of Fl, etc!).
There will be over 20 speakers from around the country, several hands-on workshops, and of course our annual honey show. A complete schedule, speaker bios, general info, and honey show rules can be found at www.UFhoneybee.com (click Bee College on the left). There is a discount for County Agents, Master Gardeners, Master Beekeeper program participants, Students, Kids, and Master Naturalists.
In addition, UF will be offering a restricted use pesticide certification class, African bee training for First Responders and Pest Control Operators, and USDA-ID/FABIS African bee identification training, with anticipated CEU credits offered.
For a complete brochure, please see www.UFhoneybee.com!