Saturday, July 25, 2015

The Tree Garden

My gardening effort for the past few months has been focused on growing edible trees.  In my newest planting area I have Pigeon pea, Papaya, Sabdariffa hibiscus (Roselle) and Moringa trees.  They're all well established now (made it to at least a foot tall) so I've been wanting to fill in the gaps.

I finally planted the new elderberry.


I had to crop the picture in order to actually see the elderberry.  It blends right in with the background of green.  Well, that and I take terrible pictures.  Sorry. That's a new porter weed in front of it.

I want to add some color to the tree garden so I've been searching for Zone 10 flowering plants that work well in partial shade.  I've always had porter weed and it does great, so I figured I'd put one in this shady area.

I found an unusual plant (to me) at Lowe's and since it wasn't crazy expensive, I brought one home.  It's a Mussaenda incana.


I finally planted some southern peas and added a few more okra for good measure.  I have sweet potato scattered around the yard already.  They don't yield much, they're usually pretty small.  But they're very tasty.  They grow, well, like weeds.

I managed to break the hose, or, how to sift out shells from the dirt/shell drive:



There are two additional Elderberry shoots which I've potted and will plant in a few weeks once they're a bit more stable (no longer wilting).

I also planted some passion flower vine seeds.  Not sure if these will grow, I've had the seeds for about a year.

I'm still undecided as to what to plant along my deck.  Since tomatoes were the most recent plants growing there, southern peas are probably the best thing in order to recharge the soil.  So for now that's what I've planted.

If there was a low growing, attractive edible bush of some sort that I could plant in this narrow garden in front of the deck, I'd be a happy gardener.  But I just haven't hit on that perfect set it and forget it "attractive" edible.  Most Native plants look like weeds, if you haven't noticed.  So they don't appeal to me for "decorative" purposes.

We're going to a Native Plant sale this weekend so I poked around the Florida Native Plant Society website.  Here's what I entered into the search tool:

Shade, Highly Compacted Soil, Low Water.  Results: Virginia Creeper.

That was it.  Period.  And funnily enough, I just this past weekend discovered Virginia Creeper in the shady part of the yard near the stick pile.  I said to myself, hunh.  That's not a good thing to have, but it sure is colorful!  Then left it there. My bad.

Next up:

Shade, Highly Compacted Soil (no water requirements requested).  Results: Virginia Willow, Lizard's Tail, White Crownbeard/Frostweed and Violet.  There were a few trees but I was looking for shrubby plants so I didn't write those down.

I'd be interested in the Frostweed.  Sounds right up my alley!  Like Porterweed. Love Porterweed.

Next up:

Part Sun, Highly Compacted Soil (no water requirements required).  Results: Virginia Willow, Elderberry, Lizard's Tail, Frostweed, Goldenrod and Passion Flower vine.

It seems like I'm destined to have Lizard's Tail, Frostweed and Virginia Willow!  I already have the Passion Flower vine and Elderberry.  My red passion flower vine has gone bonkers.  It's made its way into the woods!  Growing like a weed. Cause it is.

Then I did another search with Low Water, Any (sun or shade), Highly Compacted Soil.  Results: Persimmon, Capsicum annuum (glabriusculum/hot pepper tree), Goldenrod and Gaillardia.  Again, there were other trees but not what I was looking for.

The hot pepper tree (which looked more like a bush when I googled it) was intriguing.  I've never tried Persimmon, so I'd have to give it a try first.  I'll buy a fruit next time I come across one.

I made up my mind a few months ago, after leaving grapefruit and oranges on the tree again last season, that since it's obvious we don't enjoy citrus that much (with the exception of lemons and limes of course), what's the point in growing them if we don't eat them?

I LOVE the Pigeon Peas, green or dried, I use the Moringa and Papaya in smoothies, (although I'm running out of frozen Papaya and need to pick some mangoes at a friends this weekend to replenish my frozen fruit supply for smoothies), and I'm hoping to get Roselle calyxes this year to dry for tea.  Roselle leaves are also tasty.  So they are worth growing.  I won't get rid of the grapefruit or orange trees, mother nature will probably kill them within the next few years anyway, but I do need to find some better fruit to grow.

So that's my mission.

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