Welcome to my zone 9 garden. My roots are deeply planted in the sandy soil of sub-tropical central Florida, where the summers are long and hot, but the rest of the year is paradise!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Fresh From the Garden

This is the first year we're growing vegetables at our new home. I was saying a prayer as I planted seedlings and seeds because the soil in this area is virtually builder's sand. Plenty of soil amendments - - compost, garden soil, blood and bone meal...plus anything and everything else I could find to improve the soil - - were generously added. 

Almost immediately the caterpillars showed up to feast on my tomato plants. I did a lot of plucking and squeezing in an effort to get rid of them. Once the temperatures cooled down a bit I noticed the cats disappeared. Pickle worms pierced the cukes, and powdery mildew finished off the leaves. I find cukes very hard to grow. I gave up on them since I'm not a big cucumber eater anyway, and replaced them with bush green beans . . .  a favorite of mine.

It's taken the tomatoes a while to ripen . . . with Sungold being the first . . . but now they're all slowly turning color. And, the lemons, too are ripening. A cocktail citrus tree was planted, so hopefully next year this time we'll be enjoying some homegrown citrus.

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On a different note, I made this horrifying discovery in my garden yesterday.

I almost had a heart attack when I saw him perched in the tree, especially since Nutty... the squirrel we raised . . . was darting all around this tree and at one time was about a foot away from it. Fortunately, the snake was in the process of digesting an earlier catch as you can see by his bloated mid-section. 

Apparently, I disturbed him when I moved some large pots on the side of the house. I didn't see him at the time but am thankful I did eventually discover him and doubly thankful that the "Wild Animal Evictors" came by and evicted this non-venomous Coat Whip (one of Florida's largest native snakes) from my garden. I don't mind black racers but I'm not willing to tolerate a BIG snake in my garden.

For all snake lovers out there . . . don't worry he wasn't destroyed just relocated to an orange grove quite a distance down the road.


ChrisC said...

Congrats on the first tomatoes.My veggie garden is not doing very well this Fall.But it's my own fault.I neglected the soil during the summer.That'll teach me!Snakes in the garden scare the !@#$ out of me.

Kimberly said...

Susan, I would be horrified to see that big serpant sneaking around my garden. I agree with you, though, I typically leave them alone (as long as they are non venomous) to keep the rodent population down. Poor Nutty!!! Your veggies look good...nicely done. I'm still struggling with veggies...might be a life long war for me! But I'll keep trying! I think I need to follow your lead and amend, amend, amend.

Leslie said...

It's so neat to see all your veggies, Susan. So impressive. I'm pretty new to vegetable gardening and I've got to say it's hard! There's always some new "disaster" befalling our crops. But I guess all the failures make the successes even sweeter.

I'm so glad to hear that Nutty's okay. I thought of him as soon as I saw that snake!

Anonymous said...

My heart skipped a beat just looking at your snake picture. Even the black racers in my garden cause me to squeal!

Your veggies look great (sorry to hear about your cucs though).

Susan said...

Hi Chris...My veggies were off to a rough start but things have improved greatly.

Hi Kimberly...I can't tolerate a snake that big in the garden. Racers are one thing...but not something that big.

Hi Leslie...Growing veggies is definitely hard. I'm gonna keep plugging away at it because I really enjoy having pesticide free produce.

Hi Eli...My heart skipped a beat too at the sight of that snake. Thanks for the compliment on my blog layout. It helps me keep up with other bloggers new postings. Feel free to use my sidebar list anytime you want! :)

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