Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Lessons, lessons, and more lessons

Gardening in Florida can be challenging and I've been experiencing my share of lessons for sure.  It seems that nothing works right the first and sometimes the second try.  But usually it can be figured out after some experimentation.

I'm proud to say that almost all my vegetable plants have been started from seed which is what I've been struggling with for the past year.  So many mistakes but I'm starting to get the hang of it.  Starting plants from seeds is quite satisfying and will be an economical way to grow vegetables and flowers.  The mistakes I made along the way are common for inexperienced Florida gardeners.  Having to deal with the mildew and bacteria in the soil has been a real eye opener.  And over watering, over fertilizing and over thinking some of the challenges thrown at me has killed quite a few small plants.  Especially the over watering.

By planting 10x as many seedlings as I needed, there ended up being more than enough survivor plants to populate the Bee Farm's garden.  We have plenty of healthy tomato plants, a few giant eggplant plants, green beans, cucumbers , carrots, onions, garlic, mint, peppers, jackfruit, bananas, pineapple, kale, and a few cold weather plants started - cabbage, broccoli and califlower.  The Moringa trees are growing like crazy and even after significantly cutting back one tree, it's still over 20' tall.  More Moringa than we'll ever need which is great.  Now the blueberry plants status is uncertain.  I cleaned the moss from their stems and trunks which was a tedious job.  And then they were sprayed with an anti fungus agent several times.  Finally I think I may have over fertilized them.  They look a bit stressed out and probably won't bear much, if any fruit this year.  But hopefully they'll rebound next year.  They needed work.  The strawberry plants are struggling and I'm not sure why.  Their numbers keep dwindling.  Pineapples are thriving now that they've been moved into a better location.  And the banana trees are going nuts so we'll probably see bananas soon.  Several small eggplants are now showing up also.  Our Papaya "Orchard" is producing a lot of small fruit which I've been trying to keep covered so bugs can't burrow into the fruit and lay their eggs.

It's been over a month since this blog was last updated and too much has changed around the bee farm to write about.  The Bees are doing great and have a lot of fall honey ready to harvest.  However most of it will probably be left for the bees to use over the winter.  The new Italian cordova genetics introduced into the hives with the new queens has been great and the bees are pretty laid back which is nice when working in the gardens.

Last month I found a local horse farm that gave away free composted horse manure and they even loaded my truck and trailer.  And I found some more free fine mulch from an oak tree stump grinder.  Wonderful stuff.  So the compost piles are turning good soil for future plants.

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