Wednesday, August 3, 2011

This and That

"Gray Street Grape" is now bearing like crazy, and my Muscadine grape 'Triumph' on the south fence has just begun to drop ripe grapes. For some reason I am having a real problem this year with mealy bugs on eggplants, currant tomatoes, even molokhiya......too much nitrogen? Blasting them off with the garden hose helped but next I am spraying the plants with the same Kirk's Castile soap spray that so many of my St.Pete Times readers still swear by when I run into them. It is so odd and humbling to go from no mealy bugs ever to a near-plague.

Still no convincing sign of growth in my experimental spirulina farm.......was the Chill Dried spirulina I added dead? Do I have nutrient or pH levels wrong? I will keep trying new variables.

I have the PC working enough to today belatedly list my August classes on Craig's List.....just one more to place there. Next I send them to The St. Pete Times, the Barefoot Gardener's Forum, and of course my own blog. Amazing to realize in this heat that it is time to begin planning for the fall and winter gardens!

I'd hoped that Emily would arrive in Florida as a Category 1 or 2 hurricane and give the whole peninsula a DEEP soaking...but now it looks as though she will pass east of us, which often draws moisture OUT of the atmosphere above Florida vs. adding to it if they pass due west of us. Never in my teens and twenties would I have imagined summer days here with no rain, day after day after day. Good thing I now garden mostly in my Water Wise Container Gardens.

Today I took a break from the PC and planted a row of large white lima beans along the anti-chicken fence on the south side of the henhouse, both as food for me and to discourage the chickens who've learned how to jump that fence and cause damage in my inventory area. The sky was odd today....a bleak overcast that let  some sunshine through now and then. But it looks like no chance of real rain, though last night we had  a very light rain that dampened the mulch.

About 1/3 of the driveway pavers and bricks are down.....amazing how quickly I get so hot moving and installing them. But OH the driveway will look so much better when it is done and I sweep several buckets full of beach sand over them to fill in the seams and voids.

I am propagating lots of plants for sale and friends and am pleased that the Moringa cuttings I stuck for Tim and Kathy rooted SO quickly. My gardening friend Mary Jo has been experimenting again with drying and grinding Moringa leaves to add to her food due to the incredible nutritional profile. Like me she cut hers back HARD to create more of a Moringa BUSH to yield many more leaves and closer to the ground for easier harvest.

  No more harvests of my 'Fife Creek' okra....time to let pods ripen for seeds for next summer. Who knows if/when Monsanto will close down the very few seed houses that carry it?

The giant yellow house across the street from me that the former owners walked away from has been sold by the guy who bought it to fix it up (the former owners stripped it bare) to a couple from Illinois I believe. The water and power bills it generates, even when unoccupied, blow my mind! I'll stick with my humble little trippy hippie house thank you!

Cracker has fully settled in and is a near perfect dog after some serious issues of trying to nip visiting women's heels (he was dumped by three female households when I got him when he was about 6 months old), major digging in ground gardens and container gardens, and a protracted problem with pooping and peeing indoors. But he clearly knows that THIS family is his final one amd is very happy and secure and very affectionate dog....and thankfully, he just wants  to give the chickens a daily token chase vs. EATING them!


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