how to garden

Tami’s Plants are Moving IN!

It’s moving day at Tami’s garden and the leaves are a wavin’ (very exciting day).  You remember those glorious beds she prepared?  She’s filling them!  The first bed will be home to okra, aloe and lettuce, with okra providing the needed sun-relief for delicate lettuce leaves.  In Florida, we like our salads, but tender lettuce leaves don’t like the blast of Florida heat.  Enter okra and their lovely canopy of shade.

Next bed over we’ll find tomatoes, basil, bell peppers and squash snuggled together in a wonderful example of companion planting.  These plants all get along well and it’s even believed that basil will improve the flavor of nearby tomatoes.  Hm.  Perhaps even sweeten our peppers?  We’ll keep you posted!  Note:  No, your eyes do not deceive you.  She has yet to fill this bed with dirt.  It’s still in the layout stage. :))

Along the fence line we’ll find green beans (and soon to be cucumbers).  These folks love to climb so why not encourage them?  Saves on space!

Tami also picked up some blueberry and strawberry plants (because gardening is SO fun and a gal can get carried away with little or no effort) at the store so we’ll place those together off to one side.  Why together?  Because strawberries and blueberries both like it acidic (think low ph) so they’ll get enjoy the same growing conditions.  An easy way to acidify the soil is with pine needles–or bark.  Either work and they both make GREAT mulch material for our sweet baby berries.

But Tami will need to get another blueberry plant or two if she wants fruit because these guys and gals need cross-pollination for best blueberry production.  If they’re self-fertile, they can produce on their own, but she’ll get better results with more bushes and different varieties.  Others are self-sterile (like Rabbiteye) and require cross-pollination in order to produce blueberries.  Who knew?  So check the varieties best suited for your region and make sure you have the necessary number of bushes and varieties to produce fruit.

Tami’s on her way to the plant store now!  To round out her lovely backyard garden plot, she’ll transplant her tender watermelon and cantaloupe sprouts, both of which need plenty of room to roam–which is why she planted them OUTSIDE her planter beds.

They’ll thank her later (with plenty of delicious fruit!).  Since it’s the vines that will spread, she’ll confine her energy and organic soil to the sprout area, and line her border with weed paper.  This will eliminate some hoe work (no need to remove all that grass out there) and keep her vines happy and weed-free. 🙂  A good thing!

And in her neck of the woods, rabbits tend to pose a problem, so she’ll attach these white tubes around her beds and line them with screen.  No sense in going to all this effort to have the rabbits turn around and eat you out of garden and greens!  Nope.  No sense at all.

Goodbye Mandy, Hello Tami!

No, this isn’t some kind of late night drama show—it’s garden coaching.  And while Mandy has done a great job with her edible landscape, it’s time to take on a new garden enthusiast and this spring, Tami has signed on for the job.  And this woman is gung-ho, let me tell you.  She’s already bought her seeds, planned out her site, started her sprouts and decided on her summer crop—all in a week’s time.

Talk about enthusiasm, Tami has it coming out her eyes AND ears (we do like that in a garden gal, because enthusiasm is the name of the game).  So where do we begin?  We begin by taking one last look at Mandy’s garden.  While Tami is all enthusiasm, Mandy is all progress.  Her front porch is no longer “lounge only,” rather it’s become a veritable vegetable garden.  Kohlrabi, cabbage and rosemary up above with carrots, beets, lettuce and radish down below.  Did you notice Mother Nature’s layer of natural mulch?  (She can be so helpful when she wants to be.)

How cool is that?  No longer sitting, whittling the time away in her quaint old rocker—this woman is admiring her bounty.  Just beyond the porch she has created a haven of fruit trees.  From apple, peach and pear to olive and blueberry, she could conceivably claim her own orchard.  Okay.  Technically blueberries grow on bushes, but you get the point; this woman is growing some fruits, and lots of them!

And I find gazing upon the fruit blossoms to be very relaxing (more so than wasting time sitting idle in a chair, thinking about all the things I could or should be doing—I mean, who does that?). 

Aahh… back to my lovely image.  Remember the gorgeous peach blossom?  Simply divine…hmmm.

Now, enough lolly-gagging, we’ve got work to do.  Or Tami does and she’s been busy!  She’s purchased the wood for her plant beds.  Bought a couple of pavers to keep down the weeds and give her a nice space for tending her garden.  It’s downright homey if you ask me.  I use hay for such purposes but pavers?  Jiminy Cricket, that’s a good idea. 🙂

Just to get a head start she’s filled seedling trays and placed them in a makeshift greenhouse (aka covered cake stand).  Did I tell you she’s the creative type?

She is.  And you can guarantee we’ll see more of this as the weeks progress.  So hop to it and grab your garden bag (watch for great fashion bags set for Monday’s post) cause we’re going gardening!  Share the adventure with a friend…