Sunday, June 26, 2011

Wet Relief!

It looks like I got about 1.5 inches of rain this last 36 hours or so! So very nice to see puddles on streets and my mulch layers DAMP for a change. Tampa can thank me for this rain.....I had JUST finished a giant load of laundry that was ready for the clothesline when it arrived.

I am focusing more on growing fruit this year....after attending a presentation on bananas at the last Rare Fruit Council meeting I am making it a point to build up DEEP layers of litter and mulch around the few bananas that have survived nearly 6 years of drought. I am planting the super dwarf Cavendish that Jon and Debbie Butz gave me in a buried 55 gallon Water Wise Container Garden, and have planted my long-lusted-after Jamaican Cherry  (Muntingia calabura) in a buried 7 gallon Water Wise Container. I will soon begin dumping soil and mulch into my Golden Apple Snail pond to turn it into a bog garden and plant  my newly purchased Guava tree and my long-suffering Jaboticaba in there...I will use my machete to stab the sides of the pond liner about 2 feet down from the top to allow drainage and thus make it be a GIANT Water Wise Container Garden.

Today I picked my first semi-ripe bunch of "Gracie's Grape".....excellent flavor. And moments ago I picked one of two "Cactus Apples" from my Stovepipe cactus (Cereus peruvianus) and am chilling it in the fridge. I also planted 4 papaya seedlings in the bed out front that once was CONSUMED by the giant rose 'Mermaid' and that I am now repopulating with roses in buried 5 gallon Water Wise Container Gardens plus various perennials and annuals in the deeply mulched soil. Once I clear out the bed that once was home to a lovely own root 'Abraham Darby' rose for years I will plant in it a loquat I got for free at the last Rare Fruit Council meeting as I am growing very fond of the "Food Forest" concept. The papayas will give me both fruit and the garden beds some relief from searing full sun as the roses and other plants take hold. Someday, the loquat will provide both fruit and shade for the nearby garden swing.

The 'Cape Gooseberry' plants I am growing in 15 gallon Water Wise Container Gardens in the kitchen garden along with eggplants and molokhiya have taken off BIG time since I began giving them more kitchen gray water and remembered to pee on their soil more often...their resemblance to tomato plants is uncanny. I love the fruits...they are closely related to tomatoes, tomatillas and ground cherries (they are in fact a Physallis species) and the fruits are like bigger, improved ground cherries. The best flavor comparison I've thought of is a mix of kiwi and strawberry, with maybe a faint touch of pineapple.

"Gray Street Grape" is burgeoning with many thousands of green grapes and I look forward to a huge harvest...since seeds don't bother me (plus grape seeds are good for us) I may try my hand this year at making home made raisins, and maybe even my first batch of homemade wine since I was 19 in Albuquerque.

Life is good....this rain,  plus Dad's health has SO dramatically improved in the rehab center after a 4th doctor at Raulerson Hospital in Okeechobee intervened and ordered the  SIMPLE lung culture test Dad's three drug-oriented, short-sighted doctors (whom over the years have each made a FORTUNE from Dad's TriCare policy) failed to do that confirmed their MIS-diagnosis of infectious pneumonia not the B.O.O.P he has that has responded EXTREMELY quickly to low oral doses of prednisone, he may be going home by Wednesday. Now if Dad will just stay healthy at 80 long enough to match his Dad's 93 (he had NO decline, just dropped dead one morning while shaving in the home he built by HAND in his 80s on Big Pine Key) and IF Florida can have a WET WET summer and fall to recharge our poor soil and lakes and aquifer, and IF the Bush Regime finally faces justice for their staggering crimes against this country and humanity, I will be ONE happy camper in 2011!


                                                                  Cactus Apples
                                                            Cape Gooseberries


  1. I am happy to hear your father is doing better :)

    The rains have been a welcome event for sure. All of my flower beds and bushes seemed to perk right up.

    You seem to grow a variety of fruit and plants that grow well in Florida. What sorts of resources do you use? I know it can be very difficult to grow anything, let alone this time of year. And what is a water wise container?

  2. Hi John
    I notice your cape gooseberry plant looks very much like a tomato plant. I am growing them for the first time and some seedlings look like yours
    and are MUCH bigger, whereas most are smaller with rounder leaves. I know they are from the tomato family but would be interested in your experience of growing these.