Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Papaya and Smoothies

My papaya have finally started to ripen!

Next to it is a wonderful blueberry/moringa/banana smoothie I concocted this morning.

Hubby gifted me with a "NutriBullet" for Christmas!  It has a more powerful motor than the Magic Bullet.  I've always been hesitant to replace my aging blender with a Magic Bullet.  But this model is built to make smoothies. Apparently I don't get out much because I didn't even know this model existed.

Today's smoothie consisted of a branch of moringa, a banana, frozen Wild Maine Blueberries, yogurt, a splash of Simply Apple Juice (instead of the orange pictured above), oatmeal, and chia seeds.  Hubby's not a fan of "green" smoothies.  So he used the orange and added banana and pineapple.

I also got 10 bags of compost from "OrganicLee", produced and sold by our County, for Christmas.  I kept telling the Hubs I just wanted "dirt" for Christmas. I've wanted to try this compost rather than making my usual soil mix.  It's pretty "woody" so that was a disappointment.  Definitely more on the mulch side than a compost/soil consistency. The bags are smaller than I expected for the price.  So overall, I'm not sold on it.  I've put it all in my latest garden plot and I'll plant another round of green bean seeds in it tomorrow.  It will be a good experiment.

Also on my to do list for tomorrow will be to make trellises for the peas, which are way overdue!  They're starting to fall over:

There's lots of rabbit poop in that bed!  

And, since I have the rest of the week off, I'm going to weed out this area (again) and make the next garden.  

There's plenty of free mulch up the street to cover it.

And last but not least, here's my Christmas Cactus still looking lovely.  I thought it was a goner.

Someone needs to get busy vacuuming and mulching all those leaves!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Home Grown Sweet Potatoes

I've been growing sweet potatoes for a few years now.  We bought two slips from ECHO in North Fort Myers a few years ago.  I just let them roam.  Each year I dig up a few potatoes here and there. Unfortunately, the majority of them have been really small so I just stick them back in the ground. But every now and then we get a really long one or a few that aren't uselessly skinny.

I'll let these dry a few days, then brush the dirt off and let them sit for a week or two to cure.

I dug up a half dozen or so a few weeks ago.  Last night I peeled them and boiled them up for dinner.

I've come to the conclusion that I need to grow them in big landscaper pots.  It might be more productive, and definitely easier to dig up!

Here's a Persian lime I found on the ground yesterday.  It was pretty darn good in ice water. Very juicy.

I got in the cooking mood yesterday for some reason.  Roast chicken for dinner with a salad and mashed sweet potatoes.  I had some leftover russett potatoes, brocolli, celery and some onion so I made up some potato/brocolli soup.  It was yummy!

And since hubby has been asking me to make Indian Pudding, I made some of that too.  It takes several hours to bake and you have to stir it every 30 minutes. It's our all time favorite dessert from our days of living in New Hampshire many years ago.

Looking forward to Wed/Thurs/Fri off the next two weeks!  Yay!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Dinner and a Tree

For the first time in I'd say 17 years, we all (hubby, me and both of the boys - er, men children) went to fetch a Christmas Tree!   In record time, I might add.  I think it took all of 5 minutes. 

I dragged the first one out and we all agreed it was a nicely shaped tree, good top, but a bit "too skinny".  So we decided to find another one "just to be sure".  So I looked around, pointed to another and it got hauled out of the pile of trees.  We unwrapped it, shook it, stomped it up and down on its trunk, and voila!  That was "the tree". 

So I went off to pay for it, and the tree people cut off a bit of the trunk, wrapped it up (totally unnecessary), and put it in the back of the truck.  Then we all went out to dinner.  Easy peasy. 

And those boys (er, men children) thought it was going to be painful going with the parents to buy a Christmas Tree!  Ha! 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Birthday Present and Green Beans

The hubby and sons bought me the most awesome birthday present this weekend!

Our wheelbarrow has been on it's last leg for quite some time.  The wheel kept falling off.  We'd fix it and it would work for a little while, then it would fall off again.  And I'm such a clutz trying to maneuver it when it's full that it would fall over and dump its load.

This marvelous piece of work won't tip over.  Or rust.  Or get a flat tire.

I was able to put 2 bags of compost and 1 bag of topsoil in it, mixed it up, move it across the yard, and dump it where it was meant to go with no trouble at all! Brilliant!  It wasn't difficult to push or dump.  It "looks" like it would be hard to move with a heavy load, but it was no trouble at all to push.

So I added some soil along the brick border and planted me some green beans.

I'll plant a few more little garden strips of green beans over the next few weeks so we'll have a good ongoing supply of green beans.

I also converted two more soda bottles to hold kitchen scraps, making holes in the sides to let worms get in, inverted the top, cap off to let water in, added some kitchen scraps and planted them in the tomato garden:

My two tomatillo plants are doing great!  Lots of flowers:

They seem very happy so far.

Looking forward to next weekend - lots to do!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Mulch and Sticks

I made a bit of progress on the back garden yesterday.  The weather was perfect. Cloudy and cool.

I managed to get two loads of free mulch using three of my big blue tubs each trip, and spread it on the newly weeded garden area:

It's always risky getting this mulch since it's hard to tell what type of seeds might be in it.

I also worked on the stick pile.  I broke the branches up into 8-12" sticks and managed to fill one of the big blue tubs, twice.  It was a lot of work, but really good therapy.  I enjoy doing it, oddly enough.

This will be an interesting experiment.  My idea is to spread the sticks out, then add heavy mulch, then soil.  Not sure if just mulch and soil will work as well for plants as the sticks, mulch and soil, but time will tell.  And, that portion of the garden should turn out a bit higher than the one behind it.  Contour is always nice.  And it will separate the two for walking around.  I have boards to put down for paths.

Still lots and lots of sticks to be broken down.  Hours and hours of "fun"!

Crappy Stick Pile Picture

Here's a wide view of that back garden area.  Still lots and lots of work to do to build the soil:

I went to Home Depot on Friday after work and was surprised to find this tree for sale:

They also had variegated cassava!  That's one smart garden center manager who is clearly keeping up with the times.

Last week, I was going to pull out one of my (two) okra plants.  One has an okra pod that I'm letting go to seed and the other was looking really poorly so I was going to yank it. But last night, I noticed this on the one I was going to yank:

I guess the temps going back into the 80's for a few weeks spurred the plant on. I'm glad I got to enjoy one more gorgeous bloom!

Looks like cool weather again for the rest of the week.  Excellent weather for breaking up sticks.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Good News and Progress in the Garden

Our son came home from the VA Hospital yesterday.  It was a great relief to see him pretty much back to normal.  We are stunned at how quickly the good folks at the VA were able to get his brain functioning normally again (11 days).  Now it's up to him to do what he has to do to continue to function normally.

I'm hoping he'll be able to relax and find that "just being home" for the next 3 weeks is good therapy.  It's been a very exhausting few weeks, emotionally, mentally and physically.

On our drive home, funnily enough, he wanted to go to Checkers for a burger. So we went.  This beautiful oak tree was in the parking lot:

I was able to spend a little time in the garden on Sunday.  I created a bit more "garden space":

The corn garden is in the foreground.  The new garden space is from the far right corner of the corn garden to just beyond the rolling cart by the post.  It needs mulch and some compost and topsoil on top.  Will work on that this weekend.

I still have to break down the old square foot garden beds (I've removed the wooden sides from most of them), add compost and replant in those areas.

It will be a good sized garden once it all comes together.

Here's a view from the other end.

I planted peas and carrots (seeds) in the foreground up to the post (and newly cleared area).  Our son's dog is helping me tamp down the soil (ha ha).  The "green" section to the left of the dog is where I'll be concentrating next.  This will end up being another good sized garden.  Green beans will go there when it's done.

I've already planted squash here and there throughout the gardens.  They're all doing just fine.

It's a painfully slow process building the garden, but so long as I can do a little here and there I'm not totally discouraged.