Thursday, December 31, 2009

Winter Garden

Nice eggplants, eh? Well they are in their infancy but they are coming along nicely. The bush is another matter, it is far, far beyond infancy. Who was it warned me the plants might tip the Earthboxes over? The eggplant ("aubergine" to some English speakers) is doing it's best:
My wife wants easily accessible herbs so we threw some cilantro, rosemary, thyme and oregano close by.There's a tomato plant and a Cuban oregano lurking underneath the exploding zucchini:In addition to a couple of potted tomatoes we also threw a couple more into hanging planters which i strung up from the top of the water cistern/deck:
I am considering getting a couple more topsy Turvies next time we are at Target in Miami because I think we could usefully grow bell peppers in them too.
They just hang there impervious to iguanas and grow, conveniently facing south:
We put one bell pepper into an Earthbox next to the eggplant/aubergine monster and it is forcing its way through to sunlight.
The Earthboxes have worked a treat and they really do produce some strong growth. The only thing I don't like about them is that when it rains I still have to water them, but they go several days without watering even with monster plants like these. It's easy to fill their tanks and then just let them water themselves.We put a selection of lettuce in an Earthbox as well, and these are four plants overflowing even though we have been peeling leaves off for dinner regularly. We bought our plants form the guy who sells them at the Big Pine Flea Market. His plants seem suited to Florida conditions and they do a lot better than the generic stuff that is available at Home Depot. The other lettuce plants in the wooden planter I built last year are doing well. I've been spraying Iguana Rid madly and it seems to have worked. I started spraying early and though i did see a few mouthfuls bitten out apparently the capsaicin mixture works well because they have learned to believe these lettuce are not tasty for far so good.
My two pineapple shoots are weak but I should probably have put them in water before I threw them in the ground on a whim. The three strawberries I planted last winter yielded nicely and then started to take over the entire bed. I figured what the hell and now I'm looking forward to a meadow of blooms in a few weeks:My trees continue to grow, mango, sugar apple, avocado, pomegranate (Thanks Robert and Dolly) and a tangerine and key lime.It seems to be going a lot better this year than last. We seem to be figuring stuff out better so perhaps we aren't too old to learn. My coconuts are producing as usual and there are so many nuts lying around on the ground they are sprouting:I've thought about doing a Johnny Appleseed and hauling these nuts around and planting them at random. So, before you think this is the Garden of Eden let me remind people under snow that in summer things don't grow that well and that is a whole new chapter we will be working on. Last summer we went fallow but I hope this year with the help of Earthboxes to produce something year round. I can't wait for my wife to get back. When she gets home I get to commute on the Bonneville again. I miss it really badly but Cheyenne isn't settled enough to leave at home, crate or not crate and being a single parent sucks, let me tell you. I keep hosing the Triumph down to keep corrosion at bay but a ride would be nice.And to close the year we have the perennial view across the salt ponds towards Highway One and the Niles Channel Bridge in the distance. Imagine sitting here in my deck with a glass of plonk and a book, and a Labrador at your side. Who needs snow?
And look through the mosquito netting on the front porch- the moon is rising above the palm trees and it's full and I'm snug at home and not working. Let someone else deal with the loonies loose in the bars of Key West. I'm hunkered down in the suburbs, far from the noise, the bars and visitors. They tell you Key West is paradise, I tell you the outlying islands are. Prove me wrong.
Happy New year Everyone and let's hope we have better luck in 2010, whatever we want.