Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Down on the farm this week....

Yesterday I dragged home the above ground pool liner my neighbor Jerry gave me when he foreclosed.....I will dig a very big pit in my west bed north of the dormant bee hive, poke holes about 2 feet from the bottom, fill it with logs and yard debris and horse stall sweepings plus some of the sand dug from the hole to make a hugel kultur style bog garden to grow bananas in after years of drought has decimated my former collection of 21 colonies of 16 kinds. That entire west bed, formerly a squalid mess of empty pots etc. is quickly evolving into a tidy food forest of citrus, passion fruits, pig chaya, papayas, chayote with "Filipino White Sweet Potato" and 'Winter Sweet Meat' squash as summer ground covers.

Yesterday I planted African Jack Beans (Canavalia ensiformis) and a loquat tree I got from the Tampa Rare Fruit Council in the perennial sweet potato patch, fed the soil, scattered several bags of leaves. Today I will scatter about 5 pounds of calcium bentonite clay and a tub of horse stall sweepings, then give it a DEEP watering to settle it all in and initiate growth.

I've not grown gandule beans in a few years, there were none in at Publix last week so I will check the Green Market on Interbay as they have a LOT of Cuban/Caribbean foods there. A bag of the "beans" should be about $1, will plant maybe 50 of them then cook and eat the rest.

Amazing that the mild winter will soon let me harvest eggplants and green hyacinth beans that escaped unscathed! My purple Ube yams are sending up shoots a but early too. Unfortunately the next week looks to be bone dry.

Pat gave me a 3 gallon pot he'd scraped the contents of a large papaya into....I swear there is easily 1000 seedlings jammed in there! I fed them some 20-20-20 soluble a friend gave me years ago, and will soon begin moving them into 4 inch and 1 gallon pots to share, sell and plant. I anticipate planting a minimum of 50 here to give my full sun lot a light shade canopy plus give me MANY more fruits to enjoy ripe as a fruit, green as a veggie, and to share with friends and sell along with my fresh eggs.

My experiment of planting Cucusa seeds (Lagenaria longissima) in a 55 gallon drum filled with new compost makers seems to be working......rampant growth has grabbed the 5 foot tall goat fencing that has finally made my east bed chicken proof. I've not had a crop here since 2004 when all the hurricanes made my entire yard and all of south Tampa truly wet. I love the fruits raw as a slaw, or fried in olive oil, or shredded into spaghetti sauce. The rind has a fuzz like that on a peach but much more pronounced.

I am crossing my fingers that the unusually warm Gulf waters gives us MANY tropical depressions and several WEAK hurricanes to re-hydrate this poor, desiccated peninsula this summer.

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