Sunday, October 25, 2009

Camelias in October?

Okay, so I heard a million times that the weather in Florida was going to be different. Everyone warned us, but we were dubious. Sure, it might stay warmer longer (which it did) and there might not be as many cold(ish) days as in Wilmington, but how different can it really be? We were still in the South after all, and at the beach, no less.

Last week convinced me. Camelias are in bloom. Azaleas are in bloom. Wilmington's Azalea Festival is in April, not October. It seems that the combination of several 90 degree days (yep, in mid-October) and clearing off the vines and ferns that had been choking them off was enough to set the bushes into full bloom. My Pedagogy professor swears her azaleas bloom twice every year, so apparently this isn't a fluke.

Now, however, we've got the best of both worlds. The temps have dipped into the 60s and 70s and flowers are gorgeous.

On another note, now that the tree is finally out of the back yard we've started on the butterfly garden which we've planned to grow up around, on, and in the remaining stump. Of course, we won't get too many butterflies this time of year, but we can work on the area in preparation for spring. Y'all know how I love my planning : )

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Garden!

We finally have the beginnings of a proper garden in place. We were waiting on a big water oak to come out, and it has, so today I looked at the area we have available and settled on a plan. The total space amounts to a rectangle that's 16 x 12 (with options for a couple more small beds outside this). Eventually there will be 6 raised beds that are 3' x 7' with paths of 18" between. The dimensions are the result of the total area and practicality. I could have done fewer and larger beds, but working them would be a problem without stepping into them, which we don't want to do. Three feet is easy to work with from both sides, and is probably more than enough space for just two people to grow veggies to augment our grocery shopping. Today I got in one of the beds and marked off and prepared the soil for the second. I used available materials for the borders of the beds (cedar beams that were laying around and leftovers from the herb garden border) and 5 bags of gardening soil to fill in. All of the beds will be mulched with pine needles. I'm not sure what we'll mulch the paths with. Pea gravel would be nice, but once it's in, it's a pain to take out. I think we'll be able to mulch and plant it this weekend. It actually works out nicely to stagger them, both financially and from a planting point of view. If we can plant a bed every two weeks we should be eating well all winter, right from the garden, and we'll be totally set up for spring to do heavy plantings of peppers, tomatoes, cukes, and miscellaneous other veggies. In the meantime, arugula, here we come.