Thursday, July 24, 2014

The house east of me, empty for the better part of four years, is being demolished as I type. And a few folks have expressed concern that whoever builds the new house ( a retiring carpenter and his wife I am told) might turn me in to code for my productive but messy and weird yard...we shall see. But years ago when a then-wealthy Vietnamese family built the giant yellow house across the street, I and others worried they might be code nightmare folks...but they were a delight, teaching me herbal remedies, giving me fruit from the Mustang Flea Market, and they loved my fresh eggs and veggies. He lost his salon nails fortune after the meltdown and walked on a 2.1 million dollar mortgage, stripped the house. Then a wealthy guy with a ranch in Texas and very nice home in Palma Ceia about half a mile north of me bought it "cheap", refurbished it and moved in...great neighbors! But they decided it was too much house for two people, sold it and kept the Tampa house. Then Don and Suri bought it as a retirement home after many years in Indiana....also very well off, sold all their northern properties. Wonderful neighbors who feed me, invite me to parties, came to my Wacky Hat Party 60th birthday party last year, and are "hippie-fying" their yard. All the lawn out back is now food gardens...very few ornamentals aside from a "Barfield White Climber" rose I gave her. They are now slowly phasing out lawn area out front and planting many mangos, avocados, papayas and last summer grew watermelons in the middle of the front lawn to create a food forest! She is from Thailand and is RELISHING what she can grow here. I "came out" all three times as I have much of my life when asked if I had a wife, and shared that I enjoy cannabis in the problem. Big lesson to me to not see "rich people" as stuffy anal meddlers!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Experiment: for over a year the west bed was littered with about a dozen small tree pots filled with south Tampa's "sugar sand" from when I buried a 55 gallon Water Wise Container Garden for my jaboticaba. Two weeks ago I moved them about until evenly spaced, sprigged each with "EcoFarm" sweet potato, then filled a 9 gallon bucket with rain water and added dried chicken poop, fish emulsion, trace elements and let it steep. Today each pot got a good drenching of this "nutrient soup", with the rest and the dregs going to the jaboticaba. My hopes are two fold.....abundant sweet potatoes from each pot this fall and winter, and weed control this summer from the lush aggressive vines. I love young tender sweet potato leaves added to summer salads, cooked as a summer spinach substitute, and as a portion of home made kimchi.

Real problem with my east side yams this year after years of eating pleasure from there...they often have corky discolored areas inside, and no matter how I cook them there is a very unpleasant "squeaky" rubbery texture and an odd sweetish yet acrid taste. The chickens are eating fried yams often these days. An "African Yellow" yam in my south bed (where Muscovy ducks also lived for nearly a year) that for years gave me tons of delicious tubers to fry now also has an unpleasant taste and squeaky rubbery Muscovy duck poop the culprit here and in the center east bed? I'd think it'd be great for plants. Just a coincidence? I looked into if my poor tasting yams could be diseased...seems very unlikely...only real theory at this point is a year of Muscovy duck poop in both beds. Next I will dig up and cook yams from parts of the yard where there have never been ducks. I've been growing the true yams since 2001....first time ever that I have had ANY problem.