Tag Archives: raised bed

tiny watermelon on the vine

Here’s What’s Happening in My Florida Yard in May

Aside from the fact that the raccoons are helping themselves to all my tomatoes… red and green… I am still attempting to grow a garden.  The raised bed is filling slowly with dirt and compost, and right now I have cucumbers, tomatoes, summer squash, bell peppers, and eggplant growing.

So far I am eating tomatoes and cukes.  Still waiting for the peppers, squash and eggplant.

raised bed gardening
New Plants in My Raised Bed Garden

None of my vegetable plants were doing very well.  They had plenty of sun and water.  The problem was the soil.  I have been buying bags of organic dirt, but I don’t think it had any type of compost in it.  So I  bought a few bags of compost, and that has helped. I had started my own compost in a pail on my porch and I added that to the raised bed.  What I really need is a composter.

Now my older eggplant is flowering again.  I have some green peppers and can see little cucumbers beginning to grow. But I need more dirt and compost.

eggplant flower growing
Maybe I’ll Get an Eggplant
cucumber blossom on vine
Tiny Cuke

The Rose bush is blooming, with small, but beautiful roses.

I must go outside and check them every day, because the flowers don’t last. Just the other day I got a pure white rose on this bush! But I waited too long and lost the opportunity to get a photo.  Roses are difficult to grow and with the humidity here, I’m afraid of black spot – or whatever they get.

pink rose
Pink Rose with Peach Center

Down toward the back of my house the watermelon vine is getting longer, and baby watermelons are popping out along the stem.

tiny watermelon on the vine
Baby Watermelon

Since I’ve amended the soil with compost, the peppers are doing better. The bells are not very large yet, but I’m afraid the raccoons will pick them before I get to.

green bell peppers growing
Finally, my peppers are growing!

It’s been so dry here in Florida for months. This tropical location is in need of rain. We’ve had very few rainy days, and there have been fires all over the place.

Because of this, I decided to add a cheap bird bath to the corner of my garden. Using a big plastic pot saucer, I added some broken bricks left over from the building of our patio, and filled it with water.   It sits on the corner of the raised bed.  Each day I spray it out and refill while I’m watering the garden.

I do get birds who drink and bathe in the thing. A female cardinal especially seems to like it, and a Cowbird (I think) had a nice long bath the other day. Of course my cats drink from it as well!

bird bath
My Cheap Bird Bath

I know that if I was still living in New Hampshire, gardening would hopefully begin this Memorial Day weekend. Their garden veggies won’t be coming in for a couple more months.

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Making the Raised Garden Bed

I’ve been in my new house for a couple of months now.  We’ve made headway, but after spending money for a new HVAC system and dishwasher, some things have had to wait. Also, finding space for everything is still a challenge. I make weekly trips to the GoodWill store for drop-offs.

I’ve been keeping an eye on the yard, and the position of the sun, to figure out the best spots for my raised beds.  The other day, spur of the moment, my son went out and bought some wood and made this raised garden bed! He read some “how to’s” online and then bought everything and put it together (with the help of his younger brother). I think it’s great! We have to move it a little to the correct position, but it’s pretty much ready for liners and dirt.  It’s made of pine boards and is about 18 inches high.  That may be a little too tall, but I don’t have to fill it to the top.  Cardboard and newspaper will go in the bottom with wire to keep out the moles.  Are there moles in Florida?

pine wood raised bed
Raised Garden Bed

Getting dirt into the bed may be a challenge. We have a sprinkler system and a drainage area around the front of the house. It’s a bit like a dry moat which won’t allow for a vehicle to drive over. My son can fill his truck with garden dirt but it will have to be shoveled into a wheelbarrow and dumped into the raised bed.

I don’t have a wheelbarrow, and they are not cheap. But there is no hurry. My parsley and lettuce in the small box is doing well. If I had a bigger garden this time of year (December) I would be planting peas, onions, spinach and kale. Eventually I will get there. I know better than anyone how to start over with no gardens and build up a yard from scratch.  It seems I’d just get the yard looking nice, and I’d have to go some place else and begin again.  I hope those days are over, but who knows.  It takes time, but in the end it’s so worth the work.

parsley and lettuce
Cool weather crops in a small garden box

I use my beautiful parsley daily by adding it to my omelets, homemade salsa, soups, stews, pizza, spaghetti sauce and meatloaf – to name a few.  It adds such fabulous flavor and is good for the kidneys.

It was one of my favorite things to grow in New Hampshire, as it lasted right into the first snowfall. I used to have deer come into my yard and nose through the snow to find it!!  Beautiful…..!  I didn’t mind sharing.

deer in winter
This little deer is searching for leftover parsley, and anything green and good, in my former backyard in New Hampshire.

At the end of the growing season I would store parsley by drying or freezingRead how I do it.

I have noticed, since I moved back to Florida, that there are no seeds, and few decent vegetable seedlings, to be found in the stores.  I managed to save this parsley from a neglected Home Depot shelf in August.  It looked pathetic, but I know how resilient parsley is, and sure enough it grew in nicely.  There is plenty, even though I pick many branches every day!

The lettuce was a recent purchase and it didn’t look too good either, but it seems to be doing well in this recent cool weather we’ve had.  I’ve even used a few leaves to add to a sandwich.  I prefer buttercrunch or the variety lettuce, but I’ll look for seeds next year.

Apparently this is not the time of year to buy seedlings and seeds.  In early spring I will most likely have more luck. For now, I will fill my fabric pots, which I used with much success up north, and grow a few things in there. I found a nearby garden center which I must visit soon.

Raised Garden Bed – Getting Ready to Plant

raised garden bed
Simple Raised Bed of Cinder-Blocks

At last our snow is gone. It could snow again, but it won’t last if it does. We can seriously begin thinking about our gardens now in New Hampshire.

Last year I dragged these cement blocks up from the side of the house and created a raised bed. I ordered dirt from Agway and wheel-barrowed it over to fill the area. I had tomatoes and a zucchini plant in it and they did great.

I will have to begin thinking about what I want to grow and where I’ll plant it. Except for cold weather crops, like lettuce, parsley and peas, I won’t be able to plant until the end of May.

I added Bone Meal to the dirt in this raised bed, but I still need to order a new batch of good dirt too. Finances are a bit tight, and I won’t be buying hanging planters and such to beautify my yard, but certain things I must have to grow some (hopefully) good crops. I garden to eat healthy and save money. And I also enjoy it.

I got outside the other day, when the weather was nice, and took some photos of what is coming up in the yard. I’ll share once I get them off the camera and into an organized group for my blogs.

Pictures of My Backyard Raised Bed Tomato Garden

large fabric raised garden
The Bigger Fabric Garden
raised bed with tomatoes
The tomato bed as of mid-July

Here are two (before and after) pictures of my backyard gardens. I planted 4 tomatoes in this fabric raised bed back in June. I added a few basil plants and radishes around the edge. As you can see, by mid July they are growing like crazy. I haven’t eaten any tomatoes yet, they are still green. I have one red grape tomato that I will probably eat tomorrow and that means there will soon be more that are ripe. All my fabric raised beds are doing well except for the potatoes, but I don’t know if they are just ready to be dug.

The potato stalks look like they are dying, so I hope when I dig down into the bag I will find potatoes worth eating. Those little turd bugs got ahold of the leaves while I was away for 10 days.  My carrots don’t look too good either.  I haven’t grown carrots for many years because I never had much luck with them getting large enough to use.

My concrete block raised bed is also doing well.  I have zucchini in that along with a couple of grape tomato plants.  I just ate boiled zucchini for breakfast!