beets

Pullin’ Carrots…

So my son and I weeded the carrot and beet section this weekend and next thing I know, we’re harvesting.  “Hey, Mom!  Look at the size of this carrot!”

I turned from the row of squash and sure enough, there was huge carrot in his hand.  “Wow.  I guess the carrots are ready…”  At this point I could have reminded him that he was supposed to be weeding and not harvesting, but as any experienced gardener knows, there’s no greater excitement than harvest time—with the exception perhaps of the fresh burst of sprouts—especially when it comes to kids.  When it comes to the garden, these little ones are all about action.

But before I could utter another word, he’d already pulled out a second.  “Look at this one!”

It was a beauty, I had to admit, albeit a malformed one—shoots poking out every which way.  The next one he pulled took the cake (carrot cake). Rather than one interesting shape, it was more an interesting intertwine, like two carrots growing simultaneously out of one.  Guess a gal could look at this as a nice pair of legs! 🙂

Silly wabbit.  Tricks are for Mother Nature!  Not only will she swirl carrots together like this but I’ve seen her do much the same with tomatoes and onions!  Crazy old broad…

But stay on her good side—if you know what’s good for you—because she can make a gardener’s life downright miserable if she so chooses.  Which is why I try to obey her rules at all times.  Take companion planting, for example:  my beets and carrots are planted together because they work in harmony with one another AND the glory of nature. 

And don’t you think my son left any beets in the ground, either.  Oh no, they came out right along with their carrot friends—filled a whole wagon full!  Now I know what to do with carrots.  What I’m not making into the fluffiest carrot cake you’ll ever want to taste, I layer them in damp sand for long-term storage.  But beets? I usually save those for my Dad.

Would have cooked them up for Easter supper too, had I an ounce of energy to do so.  But lagging behind after spring break with the kids and playing catch-up on work and laundry, “no could do.”  They’ll simply have to sit in the refrigerator a few days more until I can come up with some edible concoction to serve the family. Any ideas?

I’m all ears!

All Around Update

As you may have noticed, my website was down for some time last week–technical glitch–but has since been repaired.  However, my gorgeous design didn’t fare as well; something I hope to remedy soon. 🙂  In the meantime, we’ll work with what we have and catch up on what we missed!

First off, Mandy’s edible landscape is coming right along and promises to provide us with the perfect example of companion planting at its best.  In the raised planter she has rosemary and cabbage–real snuggle bugs in the garden.  Down below she planted carrots, beets and radish (the larger ones)–all BFF!  Why?  Refer to previous garden coaching post for full details but know that as they grow, they’ll not only prove to be a help to one another, but they’ll also fill in for a lovely layered landscape–great for curb appeal. 

 Moving to the school garden, we see the kids have been busy too.  As part of a move to make better use of our yard space we’re moving the garden to a sunny section located just around the corner from our current spot.  Tucked away in a back corner of the school sports field, it will turn an empty space into a productive space.  And isn’t that what we’re all about?  Productivity?

Of course!  Speaking of productive, the kindergarteners learned a valuable lesson in seed saving.  As organic gardeners, we like to be self-sustaining–a really big word for the little ones to comprehend, but the concept is simple.  We grow beans, we eat beans but we save some beans for next season!  Kids understand independence and that’s the kind of gardeners we are (a.k.a. self-sustaining)!

We used the seed packets made from the templates found in the Kid Buzz section of this website.  So easy, a child can make them on their own!  (I know, because I had my two demonstrate this fact. :))

So this season when your labors turn to fruit–save those seeds for next season!  Around these parts that means spring.

My Garden Blooms Anew…

Sigh.  What a beautiful sight.  No longer barren and half-dead, my garden blooms with life once again.  Fall, a time when many areas are closing down for the winter, here in Florida, I get another shot of bloom.  My corn is sprouting, my beans are flourishing, my onions are packed in for the long haul to spring and there are my tomatoes — flourishing — right along with their sweet pepper cousins! 

Which requires the utmost vigilance.  I’ve already removed TWO tomato hornworms from them; one before he managed any damage, the other after he ate the top of the plant!  Argh.  And two black caterpillars.  Don’t know what they were but certain they were up to no good.

My peppers had a better go of it on the screened patio, protected from the onslaught of scavengers now trying to devour them out in the wilds of the free, open space of my garden.  But I’m there everyday, spritizing and plucking and shooing the insects away, so they should survive. 

A wasp has landed on my bean plant.  Not sure if he’s a friendly, but any bug carrying a stinger automatically warrants a “friendly” status in my garden.   Translated:  I’m not going near him.  Besides, he doesn’t seem interested in eating the leaves.  Only perusing them. 

And that’s okay.  They ARE gorgeous and heart-shaped leaves.  What bug wouldn’t want to land on those pumpkins! 

But I digress.  Back to the garden.  Here we extended the garden by about twenty feet.  I’m sure my husband won’t mind if I liberally use the word “we.”  I did supervise.  Well, not actually in person, but I did direct the expansion.  I have four more rows and now we’re growing pumpkins — real pumpkins — and they need space.  While I realize it’s a little late in the season to get started on pumpkins, my first sprout was lost to, uh, shall we say, “early expansion efforts.” 

Okay.  My husband missed it upon first clearing.

My fault, of course.  I mean, who plants a lone pumpkin in a small cleared space at the edge of the garden then asks for the adjacent area to be cleared?  With a tractor?

Perhaps in hindsight, it wasn’t one of my better decisions.  But I’m an action-oriented kind of gal and that sometimes means, do first, think it through second.  Ugh.  It’s a curse.

Did you see the rogue sweet potato down in the corner?  Avid growers these sweet potatoes, so I simply let them be.  We’ll see how Mother Nature’s vine does compared to mine.

Granted everything is small at the moment — particularly these carrots — but in a month’s time my entire garden will be full and lush and headed well on its way toward harvest!

Sheer heaven, it is.  Sheer heaven.