Monday, August 29, 2011

Vegetable Garden Planted

Well, its done!  Our front yard, in the unused portion of our driveway, is now home to our vegetable gardening.  Due to the large oaks and "North Carolina" themed landscape in the backyard, the front and side yard is one of our sunniest locations.

We used a pre-cut cedar raised bed product from Home Depot. At approximately $80, the raised beds were reasonably priced factoring saving time, labor, and cost versus buying the materials and sacrificing to the wood gods. We also reused our cleaned aluminum tubs and rectangular plastic containers from springtime.

We checked last season's low-volume irrigation, changing out the emitter heads for good distribution uniformity.

What are we expecting to harvest from our edible landscaping?

First bed:
  • Pasillo Bajio Chile Peppers
  • Cow Horn Peppers
  • NuMex Joe E Parker Peppers
  • Cubanelle Peppers
  • Ancho/Poblano Peppers
Second bed:
How many tomatoes does it take?  Check out how you measure your fresh tomatoes for your cooking recipes.

First Tub:
  • Gourmet Baby Greens Mesclun Lettuce
  • Bibb Lettuce
Second Tub:
  • Bloomsdale Spinach
  • Red Malabar Spinach
Rectangle container:
  • Onions
  • Leeks
We only used half or less of the seed packets so we will save the seeds in dry envelopes and place them in our refrigerator to keep for spring.  As the plants emerge, we will thin them out and place some in containers for our children and the neighborhood, and keep some for our table.

We have to wait about ten days to see any green shoots! Will be taking photos from sprouting through harvesting.  Let us know how your vegetable gardening is doing.  We'll post your photos.

Monday, August 22, 2011

New Plant Finds

Visiting Apenberry's is always like a treasure hunt! Dave, buyer and  part of the sales staff for the local nursery knows that I'm always on the search for great new plants for my landscape and this weekend I hit the jackpot. 

The Yucca rostara 'Sapphire Blue' is an incredible succulent that has soft and short blue needles and slowly grows into a small 5' tree with no branches, just the globular needles.  Definitely a xeric plant that only needs occasional watering during droughts, this yucca will create a wonderful rock garden container. I used a matte black modern pot and added Blue Spruce stonecrop, Sedum reflexum 'Blue Spruce',  and Sea Urchin Sedum - Sedum lineare 'Variegatum' along with a paddle plant, Kalanchoe thrysiflora.  I stuck other small succulents strategically between the round and flat stones to fill in and add interest.  Zone 5 - 11.  Full sun, minimum water, good drainage.

Monrovia has a beautiful new frilly Juniperus x pfitzeriana 'MonSan' called Sea of Gold.  Not often you can find 'Northern-looking' variegated ornamentals shrubs here in Central Florida and this one is outstanding.  Golden-yellow foliage that will increase in color with cooler temperatures.  Its perfect for smaller areas with mature size of 3 foot tall by 4 foot wide. Zoned 3 - 9,  this mounding juniper needs full sun and minimum watering during droughts.

Both plants rate high on water conservation, pest-free, and low maintenance.  If you don't live near Apenberry's, go to your local nursery and ask them to order these great treasures for your backyard.

Preparing For Irene - Is Your Backyard Ready?

UPDATE: 8/30/11 Irene didn't give Florida a bit of trouble. Unfortunately flooding, winds, dune destruction, and at least 18 died from the hurricane's damage.

[Image of 5-day forecast and coastal areas under a warning or a watch]

UPDATE:  2pm Monday - Looks like Irene may be heading to northeast towards Charleston now. Hopefully we'll still get some of the beneficial rainfall.   

Irene, the first hurricane of the 2011 is heading our way. She is expected to skirt Central Florida's east coast Friday and while only a category one storm now and possibly increase to a category two on the Saffir-Simpson wind scale, we will still get a lot of winds and rain.  Is your yard and home ready?

What should you do in your yard to prepare for a hurricane:
  • Remove any dead branches, fronds, or limbs from trees and palms that could possibly break.
  • Check yard and remove any patio furniture and toys that could become wind projectiles.
  • Turn off irrigation now so that your landscape is not saturated by the time the storm arrives.
  • Check gutters to remove any debris that will clog or backup.
Check your hurricane supply list and make sure you have everything necessary to be comfortable if power goes your area.  Remember the power companies do know when power is out in an area and will have extra crews ready to get your electricity back on. Never let children or pets outside to walk around when electrical lines are down.  If your electricity is out, you can use your grill outside to make coffee or meals. Never use a charcoal grill indoors due to carbon monoxide poisoning.

Irene is our first guest and this will be a good test for Florida to prepare for a normal hurricane season of three to seven tropical storms and named hurricanes.  Florida receives most of necessary rainfall during the hurricane season so we do need the heavy rainstorms.