Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Winter's Sweet Harvest

It's Christmas time and that means another harvest should be ready. Let me check, yep, we've got produce.

The big stars of the wintertime here are citrus, like that tangelo at the top of the post.  Juicy, sweet, yet tart, it provides a tasty dose of Vitamin C to help us with those wintertime bugs.

The Cara Cara navel orange is even tastier, not quite so tart.

While my summer harvest of tomatoes was a dud, winter is providing a nice batch. I made fried green tomato omelets with this one.

It looks like an apple but these are actually guavas. We've got hundreds of them.

And here's this weeks harvest...oranges, tangelos, Myer lemons, tomatoes, guavas, and a small bell pepper in with our hot chile plant.

Have a great Christmas and New Year!

Copyright 2013 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Beefy Tomatoes

Nice, ripe tomato on the vine. What to do?

Put it on some great roast beef from our local Italian deli, that's what. Delicious!


Monday, December 16, 2013

The New Kid Gets its First Haircut

Now that the new grass seed has had a good four weeks to get established, I think it's time to give it its first trim so the neighbors don't think I've let my yard completely go.

With a month untouched, it seems weeds...like this dandelion...have taken over about 10 percent of the area.

I'll give the lawn a couple of good feedings, starting today and another one in a couple of weeks, with some winterizer fertilizer and see if the grass can crowd out the weeds. If not, I'll hit it with some weed and feed.

After I'm done, it's time to put the clippings in the green waste can and call it a day.

Copyright 2013 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A Lush Lawn?

Coming back from our little hiatus to update you on the big, fall lawn project.

After a couple of months of dethatching and aerating, I overseeded a couple of weeks ago, set the sprinkler timer to water three times a day at ten minutes each time, and left for Tennessee.

Gone for eleven days, I was anxious as to how the lawn would look when we returned.

As you can see from the picture above, the seeds have sprouted. They're not quite established to the point where I feel comfortable mowing them yet, so I will let them go another week or two before trimming.

It's looking promising. Here's the before picture...

...and here's the after picture.

Copyright 2013 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Last of the Lawn Job...

It rained early this morning. Luckily, it went away by mid-morning. I only had today to get this major fall chore to it's conclusion.

After months of preparation, today is the day that I lay in an overcoat of seed for my poor, very pitiful lawn.

Here is a before picture. I hope to have a good "after" picture to add later.

I've aerated and dethatched the grass repeatedly over the last couple of months, trying to loosen up the soil and break the grip that the St. Augustine grass has on it.

Last weekend, I did one last run with the aerator to loosen up even more and provide some nooks and crannies for the see to fall into.

Today, I started off by shaving the lawn. This is simply lowering the blades on the lawn mower a notch or two to cut down and break up the current grass at a level that's a little uncomfortable for it and give the new grass some more room to poke through the current sod.

I got a bag of drought-resistant seed from Jonathan Green to help combat the extreme heat and dryness of our summers. In the spreader (picture at the top), I put a generous covering on the front yard.

Spreading a little mulch over the top, I also stomped the seed in as much as possible.

Now, just to water in. I've set the sprinkler to water three times a day at 12 minutes each time.  

I must bid you adieu for now, I will leave this lawn and the garden to fend for themselves for 10 days while I work on some other projects. We'll see how well it looks when I return on Thanksgiving.

Copyright 2013 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Fall's Fruits

Another day, another batch of guavas. I shouldn't sound so blase...we've waited three years for this bumper-crop harvest. 

My wife made some jam out of the weekend's harvest and we've been snacking on the ripe fruit too. If you've never had it, it's kind of like a real sweet apple, mixed with a real sweet pear, with a dash of ripe banana thrown in. You just bite in, like you would for an apple.

One thing I'd forgotten in the last three years...the very pungent aroma of ripening guavas. Not to be too blunt, but think of a sweet smelling version of cat pee.  It's close to overwhelming at times so we let them ripen in the garage.

Hope I don't have to fight off the tomcats to get in...

In other fall food news, our citrus is starting to show it's color. This is our Cara Cara navel orange.

The chiles are non-stop on the production this year. I've even used some as mulch on other plants because we just cannot eat or process enough to keep up.

What should be the last dragon fruit is on it's way to ripeness.

We've go a few tomatoes on the way...

...and lastly, it looks like we'll have a crop of Thanksgiving zucchini.

Copyright 2013 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Grass is Greener...

...well, hopefully this fall's big chore will help it to be.

Today, I'm running my aerator/dethatcher (picture at top of post) over the lawn one more time. 

It's a huge chore but I need to break up all the compacted soil and thatched St. Augustine runners to make room for my new grass to grow.

I've already aerated the entire lawn a bit by bit every weekend since September. Today, it's just a quick (so I thought) re-run over the lawn. Still, it was two hours of back-breaking work.

One thing left to do, shave the lawn (put the lawn mower on one setting lower and mow) then reseed. After that, it's do not touch the lawn for two weeks to let the new seed establish.

Wish me luck!

Copyright 2013 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

Monday, November 4, 2013

Guavas and Wine

Just a quick hit to show you our current harvest. 

This is what we're getting about every other day off of our guava tree. Other than that, not a whole lot of gardening going on this weekend. Maybe next weekend when I've got five days off.


Thursday, October 31, 2013

Food for Thought

While the summer harvest has ended, it's time to look forward to fall. Our grapevine above is showing signs of impending dormancy. After the leaves fall, I'll remove the critter netting.

This picture shows a branch of the guava tree, hanging perilously close to the ground. It's because it is weighted down with fruit.

We've got hundreds of fruit, like this pair, that will be ready soon.

This nice size example will probably be first.

Our citrus will provide another mediocre crop this year. The tangelo is starting to show some color. We'll be eating this around Christmas.

I've got a few tomatoes to eat this week...

...and we literally cannot keep up with the massive productions of chiles we have this year. Here's a plate we're drying out on the patio.  A lot are just falling to the ground because we just can't pick 'em or eat 'em fast enough. 

That's a problem I'd like to have on all of our food plants.

Copyright 2013 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

More Fall Follies...

Still getting some rose bloom here just before Halloween. That's Peace, up above. We don't know the name of the yellow one below.

I'm still ripping and tearing up my lawn, getting ready for the big reseeding next month. That's a huge chore and is a lot of work. I'm just about done with the aeration, next will be the ultra-short mow and the overseeding.

My fall zucchini is coming along fine. Actually, three plants have popped up but I think this will be the one to give me fruit.

You can see some buds coming up from the middle. Hope to see flowers and gourds here soon.

More cymibiums are setting flower spikes.

Finally, it looks like our begonia is getting ready to bloom.

Copyright 2013 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Fall Harvest Preview

Look at that...just look at that! A home-grown tomato! Finally, at the Cheapskate's garden, it looks like we'll get some full-size tomatoes from our garden.

We've also got a good bloom of Dragon fruit flower. As you can see, the ants really like it. So do the bees. Hope to have some fruit soon.

The orchid bench will soon be the focus of our efforts.

This cymbidium is showing the first flower spike of the season.

This kalanchoe daigremontiana is our best volunteer. It's coming out of it's host again.

That host? It's this Christmas cactus that will have another spectacular display for the holidays.

Copyright 2013 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Days of Wine and Roses

While we break open a nice red for these crisp fall days, the roses are giving us their last hurrah.

At the top is Peace, which we grow as a tree rose.

Here's Julie Newmar with one last flush of yellow before the end of the season.

As of September 30, the roses are on their own. No more deadheading, no more fertilizer. Now, it's up to the plants to store food in their rose hips to get themselves over the cold weather of November and December.

Soon, they'll all look just like this Angel Face and go just a bit semi-dormant until pruning in January.


Copyright 2013 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Falling for a Speckled Lettuce...and Spinach too!

My next fall project is to make a salad. I planted some lettuce last spring but the local wildlife gobbled it up as soon as the first tender shoots broke ground.

I've also had my share of tomato problems but I'm not ready to throw in the towel on my home-grown salad yet.

I've got some cool weather heirloom lettuce and spinach that I'm going to plant for fall. It's a slightly less than 2 months from sowing-to-harvest variety so maybe I can have that salad for Thanksgiving.

I'm putting the soil into the seeding tray. Funny how the hardware store doesn't sell them with drain holes in them already, first I had to take a nail and poke a bunch of holes in the bottom.

I'm putting the lettuce on one side and the spinach on the other. After sowing and covering up the seeds with soil, I tuck the top of each seed packet into the side of the tray so I can remember which side is which.

Water in...

...and cover with cling wrap (more to keep the animals out than anything else). Once I've got some good, healthy little plants, I'll transplant into the space that the onions and bell peppers were growing in during the summer.

Copyright 2013 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved