Wednesday, March 23, 2016

My friend Craig Hepworth and my old gardening student Pete Kanaris are studying and collecting large fruited, bred, named varieties of Loquats. These fruits are huge and flavorful. Both men are very knowledgeable and Pete will be a guest on WMNF's 'Sustainable Living' show. Jon Butts and Pete both invited me to join Pete on the show, but my knowledge of fruits is very limited and declined to be on. Craig is also breeding in a green house a very dwarf large fruited papaya! Travis Moorehead is leading the new Loquats festival and hopes to join about 25 of us gardeners for dinner this Friday at 7 PM at south Tampa's 'Jasmine Thai and Sushi' house at 3333 South Westshore...he is planning on bringing some loquats for a nearby friend whose not tasted one in 40 years! The pic with two loquats is from Pete, showing the usual seedling fruit compared to a named hybrid. The other pic is a cluster of named Loquats in Craig's hand.


It took me near 25 years of trying here and in Denver, but today I got my first ever "Ramps", (Allium tricoccum) these from the woods of West Virginia. Seeds have always failed for me (they NEED winter) and my efforts to grow plants to eat and grow (very unlikely in south Tampa) have always failed. I've eaten one.....wonderful flavor, like rich garlic with a touch of scallion. I will plant a few in shady parts of my yard but will not hold my breath for long term survival. So cool that my persistence paid off! John

Friday, March 18, 2016

This plant of Malva sylvestris thriving in my front northeast bed is a seedling of MANY seedlings (that all failed here) dating all the way back to 2002 when I moved here full time from Denver. Many hundreds of seedlings stored from my Denver yard would germinate here year after year, both summer and winter, but then died quite young. Then several years ago ONE grew in a front bed, bloomed, set seeds which THEN started self sowing here in Tampa. In Denver this plant would be the LAST plant each year to succumb to many snowfalls....VERY cold hardy there both in spring and summer. Even two feet of snow would not kill it until winter really set in. For a few years at ScienceDaily I've seen articles about some plants evolving in ONE generation from RNA, vs. the usual DNA. So I wonder if that one original seedling that DID adapt to Tampa benefited from RNA evolution here it being very happy here. I love the flowers raw in salads, the leaves lightly cooked.

For nineteen years here part of my organic landscaping business THE GARDEN DOCTOR in Tampa was organic lawn care of St. Augustine lawns. I'd add a few plugs of St. Augustine strains, apply just once seeds of mixed Bermuda strains in summer, each March I'd apply a COPIOUS amount of dolomitic limestone to benefit the grass and greatly suppress weeds, and apply organic soil foods four times per year. They LOOKED like a monoculture but were not. Here are pics of one I cared for on Davis Islands for nineteen years

As the heat increases so do the blooms on my California Poppies.

I got two big pots of seeds from a 'Caribbean Red' papaya from Publix planted yesterday...I should end up with a few hundred seedlings to plant and share.