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All images © Daniel & Stacy Tabb and Boondock Studios

Bloom of the Day

Passiflora coccinea’s common name is no surprise to me:

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Red Passion Flower

Or maybe I’m the only one who gasps in delight whenever I see one of its $@#&-me red blooms on the vine.

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Yeah, didn’t think so.

Nom Nom

Today’s harvest, 1 lb 14 oz crystal apple cucumbers and soybeans:

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Those very same soybeans boiled in salty/garlicky water and served with dinner tonight:

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Cliched as it may sound, there are few things more satisfying than growing, harvesting, and preparing your own food.

Rain Worship

One thing you learn about living in Florida…don’t bitch about the weather because it’ll change in the next 15 minutes anyway.  After doing some moderate whinging about the complete lack of precipitation over the past few weeks, we were rewarded yesterday with an epic deluge, 3 inches of rain in about an hour.

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The planting beds were awash:

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The enclosure was awash:

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The pool damn near to overflowing:

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But oh how the plantsies do love it.  Here’s the corn, heading on towards 8 feet tall:

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The delice de table melon:

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The more-scary-every-day pumpkins:

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Then, as the clouds recede, the double rainbow:

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“Sorry I made your corn fall over,” it says.  And, of course, all is forgiven.

Bloom of the Day

Have I mentioned it’s crazy hot down here?  The daylilies are among the few plants that honestly don’t mind much.  Of course that could be due to the gigantic single-trunk crape myrtle that gives them some nice midday shade.  This is Hemerocallis “Grape Ripples”:
 

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It is so choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up.*

*Bonus points, as always, for ID-ing the movie quote

The Big Picture

My fren Caitlin says she wants to see the whooooole garden, and instead of telling her to drive her ass on down and have a look-see, I walk out back and snap a few pics.  Because I work from home, yes I do.  RULE.

Here’s the main area:
 

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Up to the corner of the outside patio:

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The long view down the backyard:
 

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The three new planting boxes going in:
 

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You can see the major problem we have down here is keeping the crap we don’t want out of the places we don’t want it.  The rose bed on the right was reworked last year, is going to have to be reworked again this year.  There’s no such thing as a permanent solution down here in the tropics.  Though I swear, mulching the entire area and putting in stepping stones between the boxes and roses is getting more and more appealing…

And finally, the pool enclosure, where most of the tomatoes live:
 

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There, that should do you until you guys make the trip down…

Strangers in the Night

Out checking on the world this morning – yanno, like a gardener obsessed with weather/rainfall/pests/etc. often does – and noticed a disturbance in the Force…  Or at least the mulch:
 

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Yeah, the new echinacea are blooming (that’s Tiki Torch on the left and Tomato Soup on the right), but who has been futzing around here??
 

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Further investigation shows even more disturbances on the east side of the house.  Digging around the coreopsis:
 

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At the base of the Evan Saul echinacea:
 

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And jiminy freakin’ christmas, the neighbor’s yard – which looks like utter shite most of the time anyway due to their policy of being out of the country for months at a time – is utterly holed:
 

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Since they’re more divots than holes (and we’d have surely heard if there were actual golfers playing through) I’m thinking armadillo at this point.  They root around in the bracken looking for tasty bugs, and will dig the occasional hole as well.  I’ve nothing against the little guy getting his midnight snack on, but have you seen those things?  Seriously, they’re unweildy!  It’s only a matter of time before he squashes something for which I have a particular fondness, and then those useless weenies at our HOA are going to be getting QUITE the phone call.  

I sure am glad we have the backyard fully fenced!  An armadillo rooting around in the veg beds is not something I ever want to experience.

Saturday on the FARM

Pay attention, my fellow garden travelers, so you do not repeat my mistakes…

For instance, read the package and if your tomato claims to be “indeterminate” avoid placing him in an elevated planter:

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Yeah, that topmost twiglet there is about 9 feet off the ground.

Speaking of tomatoes, we’re growing some outside the protection of the pool enclosure this year, so we’re trying a couple of different things to prevent deforestation a la hornworm, both of which happen to be quite scarlet red which is alleged to aid in fruit development.  We shall just see about that.  These round red things are the Tomato Craters:
 

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And this is the “mulch”:
 

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I hope they work because they’re really gaudy as hell.

In other parts of the garden everything is progressing nicely.  These are the original four planting boxes (click for details):
 

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I had to actually remove a pumpkin plant today (we had three) so I could access the rear box here to string a trellis for the red rice beans.  
 

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Yes, it hurt to do it…big strapping healthy vine.  *sob*

All the first round of pepper plants are fruiting, but this paprika is putting them all to shame:
 

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This shows where we’re putting the potato bins.  
 

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Husband is building another one just like it to go on the left side of that fence section, then we’ll be trying Gardener’s Supply Company’s potato bag in between them.

We decided you can’t be growing this many things, spend this much time taking care of them, (regardless of how little space it all takes up) and NOT consider it a farm.  So, the backyard is officially renamed, and it is *so* rum/Coke and icepack time.

GAHD I Miss Tara!

For pity’s sake, it went and got HOT.  In typical Florida fashion, spring ended with a whimper a few weeks ago, leaving us with 90 degree highs and 70+% humidity.  Just a walk outside in the morning leaves you dripping with sweat.

And it makes your cucumbers cry like little babies.  Ooh, my leaves are all STICKY, I’m going to turn YELLOW now.  Unh.
 

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Bastards.  They’ll get copper sprayed tomorrow and hope that it isn’t too late to save them.  In the meantime husband and I harvested 7 lbs (SEVEN POUNDS!!!) of fruit from them this afternoon.
 

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Pickles anyone?

Bloom of the Day

I promise there will be actual content here at some point, but we’ve got #1 son’s birthday coming up (plus two other family birthdays), end of school/vacation to plan, and Guilder to frame for it.  I’m swamped!

This is a zinnia, yes.  After the mass “wildflower” plantings we did last year, I became utterly besotted with zinnias, so this year I ordered a couple of really unusual specimens for the front beds.  This is Zowie Yellow Flame:

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Think that’s cool?  Just wait until you see the other one…

Bloom of the Day

I only discovered gazanias a couple of years ago, and will never be without them again.
 

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The seeds must be started in darkness, but other than that quirk they’re extremely easy to grow.