Monday, February 27, 2017

A New Beginning

The itch came back. Bad. A 100 year sort of weather event that flooded my yard and destroyed my garden a few years ago completely deflated my interest in the hobby. It's been 3 or 4 years now and I can fight the urge no longer. Once a junkie always a junkie. The garden is back.

If you're stumbling across this you should know that this is the wrong place for photo spreads that look like they came from Better Homes and Gardens. This is not your destination for PhD level advice from a renown botanist. If you're looking for a regular dude with a regular house in a small town in the south you've hit the jackpot. This blog is the Florida man of gardening sites. You've been warned!

This time around I've got about 150 square feet of raised beds. No photos of the ones these replaced but they were bad. You ever run into an ex girlfriend you haven't seen in a decade and she's since discovered meth? Just picture that, but garden beds. I made these with plain ole fence pickets and grade stakes from HD and sprayed them with barn paint to give em some pizazz and hopefully add a couple years to their life. To those of you that want to rant about pressure treated wood and so on just don't. Every time you take your little sissy dog for a walk around the block you're inhaling carbon monoxide, brake dust, and a laundry list of particles that would make your yoga instructor scream.

When you're gardening in Florida there are two very important things to focus on. Unlike some places with naturally rich and fertile soil, Florida is a sand pit. It's like Mad Max only without the cool fire shooting guitars. Amending soil is necessary to have a kickass mechanical arm Charlise Theron type garden and not a spindly weed patch. I filled my beds with a mix of topsoil and mushroom compost. There is no better way to add organic material to your soil than with compost. Just make sure you don't add too much! As with anything, too much of a good thing does more harm than good. So next time you're downing your 4th tequila shot of the night, remember that compost is another thing you should take it easy with.

Mushroom compost smells like your mom.

The second thing gardens around here need LOTS of is water! Florida summers are miserable, sweaty, hot messes. You can't walk outside any time between June and September without complaining. It's impossible. If Michael Moore was a state he'd be Florida. And so without daily watering your garden will die quickly. This is where I got crafty this time around.

After successfully installing drip irrigation in my front yard landscaping last year I learned that it's the way to go for any garden, veggie or otherwise. A few trips to the hardware store, a little planning, and a few hours of work nets you a garden that waters itself. That comes in quite handy when you like to travel or if you're just a lazy sumbitch like me.

Here's some completely random shots of the irrigation being installed in no particular order. Things need to be adjusted a bit to increase coverage but it's well on its way. Little tip - before you go loading up on micro irrigation supplies from HD or Lowes, check Ebay and Amazon. The little sprinkler stakes that run $5.60 per 4 pack at HD I found on Amazon at the price of $5.99 for 100 with prime shipping.

The garden is ready for planting for the first time in years. I am like a kid waiting for Christmas. What does it mean when you get more excited for this that you do actual Christmas? It means that you're old af. Oh well. There might be new beds and new excitement in this garden but there's still a familiar face prowling around. I'll leave you with some glamour shots of my garden helper aka a pug named Buck. He is as ugly as ever, but we still love him.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Back in the Saddle

They say that if you don't use something for a year you should throw it away. Well, it's been 364 days since my last post. Looks like I just made the cut. I can't think of anything witty or funny. How about I show you this year's spring garden?

 I'll start with a major upgrade I added this year. Automated watering. The two larger beds are now watered via a timer connected to drip hoses. 15 minutes of water at 4am, and 15 minutes at 4pm. Seems to be hitting the spot. $50 bucks and about 3 hours of work and I've saved I don't know how many hours of watering. Why yes, bartender, I will have another Guinness. I don't have to wake up and water tomatoes in the morning.


It's Memorial Day weekend and I planted a little late this year so I'm slightly behind last year in terms of fruit ripening, but the tomato plants are absolutely insane. I think it's the consistent watering. Or the steroids. Who knows?


On the menu this year are grape tomatoes, tomandes, amelias, whoppers, and cherry tomatoes.


 Here are some other highlights from the garden:


 Oh, and Buck says what's up.

 Maybe I'll actually keep up with this blog for a while. Probably not! Hope your garden is kicking ass too!


Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day Gardening

I love three day weekends. I mean i LOOOOVE them. Today I slept until 11. Then, when I eventually decided to crawl my ass out of bed, I headed to the garden. What do I find waiting for me but the first vine ripened tomato of the season!

This is an Italian heirloom called Tomande. I got these seeds for like 50 cents as part of a bonus for spending X number of dollars on a seed order. I'd have never bought them otherwise. I am really glad I did! They were the first to flower, first to set, and not a single one of them has had any sign of blossom end rot. The other varieties are coming along pretty nicely as well.

It's not only tomatoes that are thick over here. Yup. You guessed it. Eggplants homie. 

These are fairy tale hybrids. So many fruits in this shot even Lady Gaga had to look.

Those of you that have been following my blog for a while may remember a melon trellis I built a few months back. I'm happy to say that it seems to  be a success!

Watermelons and cantaloupes are doin their thang. There's even a couple of melons on the vine!

Check out this baby. I named her Melon Keller. She can't see or hear, she just grows man. Hopefully I can be her Anne Sullivan. As for the cantaloupes - nothing. Let's just say that if the cantaloupe plants were teenage girls there wouldn't exactly be a line of boys beating down their door to get a prom date. Maybe I should start playing Kesha songs in the garden. 

Remember, while you enjoy this holiday, what it stands for. Happy Memorial Day!

Friday, May 18, 2012

2012 Garden Holocaust

Last week was eventful for the garden. Not in the "my summer trip backpacking through Europe was eventful" sort of way. More like a trip to the DMV. Yea there's stories to tell, but they suck. So in this blog I'm going to be like that lady at the grocery checkout line that you used to be neighbors with. You know, the one that makes sure to catch you up on her last six years of medical issues and asshole kids while she's got you trapped in a cage made of magazines and candy bars. And here we go....

The family and I decided it would be fun to take a quick trip to visit my little sister in Orlando. We were only going to be gone four days, but it hadn't rained in about three weeks. Needless to say, leaving the garden without water for that long with forecasts in the upper 80's would not be wise. No problemo, surely I could set up sprinklers on a timer or bring a plate of brownies to my responsible neighbor. I know what you're thinking. "Why get the experienced neighbor to do it in exchange for snacks when you can hire an idiot 10 year old girl from down the street to do it for $10 and some zucchini?" OMG I'm so glad you think that too! It's a good thing cause that's totally what I did. And the results were amazing! And by amazing I mean they sucked ass. Apparently the little turd spent a grand total of 30 seconds a day watering if she even came at all. My plants looked rough. Lots of the beautifully growing tomatoes and peppers I left turned to this:

"Alas, the devastation."

Funny thing about starving your garden of water is that it causes BLOSSOM END ROT!!!!! I'm not sure what I did to bring such karma on myself but dammit, I sure got it. And just for the record, screw that kid. I hope she gets diarrhea from the zukes i gave her. It was great, she showed up the day we got back all "Heeeey....just seeing how you guys' trip went......totally not here because I want you to give me money or anything.....tee hee." Yea well guess what sweetie, you're getting the shitty crumply wrinkled up ten from by wallet. See if I give you a nice crisp one after that mess. Uhhh, rant over.

With a little TLC the garden seems to be making a recovery. Luckily not all of the veggies got rot, probably just 20 percent or so.

Bell peppers are coming along.

Carmen peppers are looking nice!

Godfather peppers are gnarly looking but they supposedly taste great.

The first of the tomatillos are starting to be ready. Salsa verde in the near future.

And I'm finally starting to get some action from the eggplants and okra.

Just for the record I don't really hate the kid from down the road, I should have known better than to expect anything more from a youngster. Damn kids these days....

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Not quite 2 months into the season

So here I am, as entranced with the garden as ever. I have to partake in garden gandering at least 3 times a day or I get withdrawals. It's my heroin. So if I ever go to jail I'll probably have to find a way to smuggle seeds up my butt hole. What can I say, once a junkie always a junkie. Anyways, I'm not sure how to segue from my ass to the garden, so let's just look at some pictures.

Tomatoes are coming along quite nicely. No sign of blossom end rot as of yet, so for once I might actually get to eat the first run of tomatoes this year. That is if the birds don't get to em.

The first veggie of the season has been harvested, and it is an 8ball zucchini!

That zucchini was the first flower to bloom on all the plants, and did so with no male flowers present. In fact, it had wilted probably 3 or 4 days before the first male opened. Yet it grew. Strange huh? I thought that maybe it was some special hybrid that didn't require pollination but then other females started dying, as they do when they don't get "sexy time" with the males. Not sure what the hell is up with that, but there it is.

Peppers are coming along. I am like a kid waiting for Christmas here. Tomatoes and squash and all that is cool, but dammit I can't wait to see some color on some peppers.

Soon. The orange sicle and carmen plants are just full of peppers. Godfather and bell peppers aren't far behind. Still waiting on the jalepeƱos and poblanos. Go figure. Hurry it up esse! Papa quiere pimientos!

And just for shits and giggles, here's a pug sniffing some stuff.