One thing to keep in mind about gardening is maintenance. Not only do things go “bump in the night,” they go chomp in the garden.
Tami’s lettuce have gone to flower, now taller than her okra, and the bugs are in hog heaven–sans the swine. Ick. At this point, Tami need only remove the plants and put them in the compost pile–her new compost pile! Yep, she’s decided to join the organic ranks and start her own compost pile, beginning with the pile of oak leaves she recently raked up. Smart. Very smart. Best of all, it’s mere feet from her garden.
The okra are growing gangbusters and spitting out “cobs” all over the place. One thing to keep in mind when you’re growing okra, is these guys are fast operators. Once they begin producing, you’ll want to visit every day. This will ensure you harvest your okra at its most tender because trust me, large cobs of okra are tough and NOT delicious. Great for seed saving though!
Always a silver lining (if you know where to look). Moving right a long… Tami has her first watermelon. Isn’t it adorable?
Won’t be long before this little guy is burgeoning from the vine. Note on watermelon harvest: in Florida, these babies have a tendency to explode during hot summer days, so while you’re visiting each and every day, keep an eye on the melons. Give em’ a tap and when you hear the nice dull “thump” sound, pull that rascal from the vine and haul it onto the picnic table. Another good indicator is to check the curly tendrils. Light green = not ready. Brown and dry = thump it baby, thump it!
Another technique is to press your thumb nail into the skin. If it makes an indentation, not ready. No mark, you should be good to pull. Tomatoes are a much easier fruit when it comes to harvest detection. Red, they’re ripe. Green they’re not–unless you’re a Southerner and like your tomatoes green. Tami’s are looking mighty fine.
Her basil could use a little pinching. I prefer to pinch the budding blossoms from mine before they reach 1/2 inch, then toss them into my lunch salad. Mmmm… Aromatic and delicious. Did you know that basil eases digestion? Wunderbar. Nothing like making my roughage go down “easier.” :)
Have you seen the recipe for my favorite summer salad? Strawberry and goat cheese and oh-so-delicious! Add basil for an added delight.
And since we’re speaking of maintenance, these squash need some attention. Fungus. Very hard to rid the Florida garden squash of fungus, what with all our rain and humidity, but we must.
This plant wants to survive and produce more squash. It simply needs a helping hand. So Tami will remove the diseased leaves and allow the center healthy green ones to thrive. Remember, your plants want to produce and sustain you. They just need a little help sometimes!