The Blueberry Bush is Planted!

Newly planted blueberry bush in my Florida backyard.

I may be excited for no good reason, but I’m happy to have this blueberry bush in the ground.

This is a perfect example of why you shouldn’t buy things on a whim. I know that blueberries are hard to grow, and if I do manage to get berries, the animals will probably eat them before I can.

Florida Blueberry Shrubs

Certain types of blueberry shrubs grow in Florida, and if you want to succeed at growing blueberries here, find the right kind for your location. Normally blueberries need long cold winters. This is why they grow all over the place up north.

Special cultivars have been created for our warm winters here. Rabbiteye and Highbush are the types suggested – no lowbush berries here. Read the link below for more information.

Find good info at the IFAS Blueberry Gardener’s Guide at the UF site.

pine needles around base of blueberry plant

This bush was purchased at the Farmer’s Market. I only know that it is a “blueberry” and is supposedly “self-pollinating”. Three varieties are listed on the back of the card that was attached to one of the stems; Pink Lemonade, Sunshine Blue, and Emerald + Sharpblue.

I’m not one to let a shrub die if I can help it, so into the ground it went. The plan was to put it into the ground in a more out of the way spot, but because of roots, I couldn’t dig there. It had to go where I could dig a large enough hole.

hole dug for blueberry bush

My hope is that it will live and maybe be an attraction for birds and bees.

Although the card claims it is self-pollinating, everything I’ve read advises growing more than one bush. Elise of The Urban Harvest suggests growing a mix of blueberry varieties (link below to her video).

Planting Blueberries – The Urban Harvest

Blueberry season is April here in Florida, so the plants should be fertilized in January, or thereabouts, for a good crop.

planting the blueberry

The plant was very root bound and I tried to open up the soil a bit, then added peat moss, compost and pine bark (in the bottom). I also added some acid fertilizer, which I’ve read I should not have done… but it is too late.

I don’t have the space to create an acid-loving section of the yard for things like blueberries. Some vegetables like the soil a bit acidic, but blueberries require more. This is just one more growing experiment.

Adding soil mix around blueberry bush

I will probably trim those lower branches.

blueberry bush planted

The new garden area is a place where I plan to grow vegetables, which are not necessarily acid loving.

The bird feeder was moved to this open area in an attempt to keep the squirrels away from it.

Cardboard has many uses in the yard. Im using it here to cover the sandy area that was recently tilled. I also used a piece of cardboard to kneel on while I planted the blueberry.

florida backyard gardens

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Seeds From the Urban Harvest

Growing seeds from the Urban Harvest has been a rewarding experience. My small backyard vegetable garden is off to a great start.

This is a quick review of my experience with the Urban Harvest. This company is located on the western coast of Florida. Elise is the woman who does videos about growing vegetables in this hot Florida climate. I have linked to one of her videos below. She also has a beautiful website with information and seeds for sale. I am so happy to have found her, and very much appreciate her good advice about gardening.

I’m just getting started with my backyard vegetable garden, but so far I’m impressed with the growth from the seeds I bought.

Growing From Seed

Whenever you use seeds to begin a garden, it’s a guess as to how many seeds will actually grow. I’ve had very good luck with my seeds from The Urban Harvest. Everything has grown really well.

If you live in the St. Pete area of Florida (west coast), this company also sells living plants. See more at the Urban Harvest website.

seed packets
Seeds from Urban Harvest

Seed packets cost around $3.00 and all the packets above came from The Urban Harvest even though only two packets contain their label. Shipping was fast. I received a thank you e-mail. In my opinion, customer service is great!

My seeds arrived in April, so I only planted what could handle the summer heat. (The carrots, broccoli and Brussels sprouts will wait until Fall.)

The watermelon and okra were put directly into the ground on April 8th. Of the 12 watermelon seeds I planted, 9 came up. I have thinned them to four plants. I simply don’t have a lot of space for them.

Watermelon plants day 34


Almost all of the okra seeds sprouted. I transplanted a few of the seeds when thinning the rows, and I don’t suggest doing that. Those transplanted okra plants are not growing as well as the ones I left alone!

okra plant

I’ve never grown, or eaten okra so I only planted three short rows.

Seminole Pumpkin

On April 8th I put the pumpkin seeds into pots.

Here are the pumpkin seedlings at growing day 10.

Seminole pumpkin seedlings
Pumpkin seedlings – day 10
Pumpkins into ground and doing well.

Now the pumpkins have been growing in the ground since about April 29th. Today is May 12th so these two pumpkin plants are a little over a month old (photo below) from the time I first planted the seeds.

Seminole pumpkin plants, 5/12
May 12th Seminole Pumpkin plants in the garden

Right now the pumpkin plants are growing upward and I hope they will trail off to the edge of the yard once they get going. I am very excited about these native Florida pumpkins! Search YouTube if you want to see how big the vines grow. They can even grow up through trees and produce hanging pumpkins!


I was totally unfamiliar with the Moringa tree. The Urban Harvest sells Moringa seeds and I have a three growing in the yard, and one in a small pot. All seeds that were begun in pots sprouted, whereas the ones I put directly into the ground did not.

I wish I had more space and knew more about their growth habits, height and so on. This will be an experiment. Right now I have three planted and growing, but they are small.

Elise of The Urban Harvest has a few videos where she mentions growing the Moringa tree. See one here: Three Tropical Survival Foods You Must Plant in Florida. She has loads of videos that cover all kinds of things to do with Florida gardening. I’ve already learned so much.


Garden Progress

Creating a garden from a grassy space in Florida takes some work. There are many vines and deep roots to remove from all the natural invasion from the lot next door. Then I am left with sand which must be amended for growing.

In the photo below, I have removed the grass, added compost, planted seeds and seedlings (and added more compost and fertilizer) and watered each morning. From here I will add mulch to conserve moisture and keep the ground cooler. Summer is nearly here and it is already too hot after 9:00am for me to do much gardening.

I ordered a second batch of seeds from The Urban Harvest and will definitely buy more at a later date. I highly recommend this helpful place if you are a Florida vegetable gardener.

backyard garden
My garden before the mulch

All plants are organic, and she promotes sustainable and eco friendly gardening practices. Again, how to find information:

Please keep reading the blog…

Building a Flower Garden

See how I planted a little flower garden in my Florida yard.

My son took me to Lindley’s Nursery in New Smyrna Beach the other day and I picked up some flowering plants for the yard. (More about Lindley’s further down the page.)

I’ve been saving cardboard boxes to use as grass killers in the yard. It is not that easy to kill Florida grass and weeds, but this type of thing works very well in New Hampshire! Haha… I’m not there, I’m here, so we used the rototiller.

cardboard on grass

Step Two

Dig up the grass, roots, and dollar weed (ugh) and pull it all out. (There is no way to remove all the dollar weed.) This leaves a sandy “dirt” to which I added a bag of store bought soil. (We buy our dirt, compost, and mulch from The Yard Shop in New Smyrna.)

creating a new flower garden
Nearly done with the garden

Plant the Shrubbery

I had four plants to put into the space and I planted them back a bit to leave room for something in the front. Also, I’m not sure how big they will become. I used a piece of the cardboard to kneel on while planting.

These plants came from Lindley’s Nursery in New Smyrna Beach. I was so impressed with the upgrades they had done to the place since my last visit (quite a white ago). I would have stayed longer because the grounds were beautiful and they had so many wonderful plants, but I was with my son who was not into plant shopping.

I grabbed some flowering things that seemed to attract bees (if the bees are on the plants while shopping, it’s a good indication!). All the Florida native plant names totally left my head, but I will probably go back at a later date to find more plants. They did not have any native milkweed because I asked. It was sold out – and there was no sign – so I’m not sure which type they were selling. I hope it was not the tropical milkweed.

I’ve never grown any of theses plants before.

The Garden is Finished!

The digging began early in the morning to beat the sun. I have until around 9:00am until this area becomes sunny. I did have to finish with the mulch and do the watering in the sun, but at least the digging was finished.

New flower garden planted

Planting Tips

For each plant I added to the garden, I included some bone meal, crab meal, earthworm castings, and compost. All these things should help improve the soil and keep the plants happy for now. I used these amendments because I had them, but bone meal only would have been fine for now. (All links are Amazon affiliate links.)

A couple of the plants were very root bound, so I disturbed the roots by pulling them a bit to keep them from being tight. This helps them to grow outward instead of round and round like they had to do in the pot.

All the soil amendments I mentioned above were mixed with the ground soil once the plant was in its place. After planting, each plant was soaked with water, and once the mulch was added, I watered them all again.

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Digging, Planning and Planting a Backyard Food Garden in Florida

Digging and planting a backyard garden takes muscle and planning, but is worth it to pick homegrown food. Here is my small beginner garden in my little Florida backyard.

I live on the central east coast of Florida. As a gardener, who knows quite a bit about gardening – in New England – this area has been a challenge. In fact, I have given up trying to grow my old favorites. Squash and zucchini turns moldy right away and even tomatoes seem to struggle in the heat. All I have had luck with are peppers and eggplant.

Time to change my outlook and ways, and adhere to a new way of growing things in this subtropical climate.

Over the past couple of years I have invested in a few grow boxes. My son made a few raised beds last year. We’ve been growing (or trying to) in these beds somewhat successfully.

This Spring I purchased a Tiller. It was not cheap but it did the work of creating a fairly small garden out back.

garden area tilled earth

I have removed a lot of the roots, vines and horrible grass that grows in tendrils. Next I mixed in three bags of compost.

The “dirt” in the ground here is sand. I never saw a single worm, which is typical. I think it will take a lot more compost over the months to create a decent place to grow things. For now, this will have to do. I can amend later with compost from the Hot Frog.

Spreading bags of compost into a freshly dug garden

First I found some boards to set down the center. I remember from my northern gardening that mashing down the earth is not a good thing. If I can remember to stay on the boards, the remainder of the dirt should stay loose for growing.

Next it was time to plan the layout for planting. I had to think about which things would be long vines (watermelon and sweet potato) and those would be in a place where the vines could go out into the grass.

Okra gets tall, I guess… have never eaten it or grown it … so I planted those seeds along the edge. I only planted it because it’s a southern thing and should grow well.

I saved a spot for the sweet potatoes yet to come, and will fill in the rest with some pepper plants and more eggplant.

My basic sketch for planting is subject to change.

backyard garden planting

I managed to get some watermelon seeds and okra seeds planted. Then an eggplant, which I covered with a piece of rug to give it shade.

It was so hot by then, that I took a break inside and waited for the clouds. The forecast called for rain later, but all I got was tons of hot sun!

Some dill plants went in the corners, along with a parsley plant. Last of all, I threw in some saved Marigold seeds.

Backyard garden planted with seeds, dill, parsley, peppers and eggplant

As soon as I took the rug covering off the eggplant, it began to wilt. They really cannot take the midday sun. I quickly watered the whole garden (each plant got it’s own soaking as I planted it) and put the rug back.

Already I am thinking of moving the okra to in front of the eggplant to give it some shade. I can’t run outside every day to cover it because of the sun. (Side note here – the okra was popping up out of the dirt on day 4!). The seed packet says this okra will be 4 -5 feet tall!

okra seeds sprouting
Okra – tomato cage animal deterrent

Although my summer garden may not do well due to the heat, this section of yard will remain a garden bed. When winter comes I can plant lettuce and kale. Also, I will continue to look for hardy, Florida crops to plant.

Bought My Seeds From Urban Harvest

I found this wonderful gardener online who has a YouTube channel called: The Urban Harvest – Homegrown Education. She lives on the west coast of central Florida and has lots of videos about growing things that actually will grow here in Florida! Immediately, I bought some of her seed packets.

The Urban Harvest website

seed packets from Urban Harvest
Seeds from Urban Harvest

I bought some organic Coconut Coir blocks and have added seeds and other things to the pots. I’ve never used the stuff before and I will compare to planting in dirt.

I’m getting ready to post this on April 15th and noticed this AM that one of my pumpkin seeds has sprouted! More about this unusual, southern Seminole pumpkin to come.

More Gardening Stories on the Blog

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