Posts tagged ‘vegetables’

March 7, 2012

New Arrival

Green bean seedling emerging from the dirt.  The little pots are made from the cardboard inside toilet paper rolls.

Birth

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February 22, 2012

Cabbage

Cabbage (2)

Not everything in the garden is perfect.  I was unsuccessful at growing broccoli this year as the mama rabbit kept eating the plants to the ground.   Then Niza kitty decided to play monkey see, monkey do.  After watching me sow seeds, she would come back and dig up the ground.  But this was not enough…she decided to befriend an armadillo who visits us every night and digs up the yard also.  He’s so comfortable in our yard he has built not 1 but 2 homes in the grove right next to our fence.

It’s a miracle this cabbage plant has survived and if it continues to do well at this rate I’ll be able to harvest it for my annual St Patrick boiled dinner.  Warning: If you do grow cabbage, you will never buy it again at the store.  The difference in taste is that big.

Cabbage (1)

February 10, 2012

Carrots

Carrots are devine… You get a dozen for a dime… It’s maaaa-gic! – Bugs Bunny, Rabbit Every Monday, 1951

Carrots 12

My favorite cartoon character is Bugs Bunny. What’s not to love: he’s smart, cute and he eats crunchy carrots.  I even named my first rabbit Bugs.

So carrots became one of my favorite veggies when I was a kid.  Sweet and colorful…too bad we always had them cooked.  I didn’t get to taste their crunchy goodness until I was an adult.  But now not only do I get to eat them raw, I grow them myself and boy what a difference.  They are so sweet, they should come with a Nutrition Fact label on them.  I’m sure all the healthy goodness will cancel out the very small amount of sugar :)

Florida soil is great for growing carrots.  They seem to have no trouble streching down into the sand.  The trick is to get them started.

I personally don’t do the row thing.  I just sprinkle the seeds evenly over the area in the garden where I want them to grow.  The seeds are very tiny so I don’t cover them with dirt.  The soil requires several sprays a day to keep the delicate sprouts from drying up, but once they have about 2-3 stems about 2-3″ tall I know I’ll be getting a reward.  Yes Bugs, it’s like magic!

November 16, 2011

Pigeon Pea Clan

Pigen Pea FlowerWhen DH moved in to the house in 2006, my Dad and his two siblings stopped by for a visit. While I poured steaming coffee into cups and placed them on the dinning room table, Tati walked into the kitchen and stared out the window looking at the back yard.  “You should grow pigeon peas”.  Tati is my oldest Aunt. The oldest of the 12 children my grandmother Delia had during the 1930’s and 40’s. Lots of uncles and aunts; all whom I only know by their nicknames. “Just throw them on the ground. They don’t need any attention and they love dry land.” For someone whom I never saw tend a garden or grow food, she seemed to know a lot.

Years later while browsing on Ancestry.com, I found a couple of 1910 census documents that looked like my great grandparents but I wasn’t sure. So I asked my Dad during our weekly phone calls and it turns out it was them. Not only that; I found out they were the only ancestors in that generation to read, write and own land. “That’s nothing” answered Dad confiming the amount of land on the census document. “My grandmother was a ‘hacendada’ (farm owner), but her husband lost most of it gambling. “What did they grow?” I asked. “Pigeon peas” he replied. “Of the many Toro families in Lajas, our family is know as ‘el clan de los gandules'(the pigeon pea clan).”

Sometimes I sit in my back yard and think about Alejandrina and wonder about the details of her life back then. What was her daily routine? How did she mange once the farm was gone? What did she think of grandma Delia when her son Arquimides decided she was the one?
Pigeon Peas
Last Saturday I went out in the yard. The sun was shining but it didn’t burn. An ocasional breeze would go by swaying the pigeon pea branches like dancing arms.  I water and fertilize the bushes with loving care.  I patiently wait until November for the early Christmas gift they bring.  DH and I sit in the back yard and remember growing up in Puerto Rico while we shell the the harvest.  On Christmas Eve, the roasted pork steps aside and gives the place of honor on the table to the rice and pigeon peas.  Of all the things I grow, the pigeon peas have the most meaning to me.

Pigeon Peas behave like perennials and go dormant during the frost, but come back again in the spring.  Like me, they feel right at home here in Central Florida.  I might not have a hacienda, but I can proudly say I’m a landowner.  It is one of the dreams that we all collectively share in this country.  I’m sure Alejandrina would approve.

What do you grow that is part of your family tradition? trees? flowers? heirloom veggies?  What are you doing to pass them to the next generation?

Linking to Transformation Thursday

October 11, 2011

Fall Garden 2011

After 3 days of non stop rain, I finally got a chance to go out into the garden today.  You can water your plants all you want but there is something special about mother nature’s sprinkler system.  Everything in the yard seems to get an instant boost!

This is the new annual flower bed.

Annual Flower Bed

The Cosmos is growing fast.  No buds yet…I patiently wait.

Cosmos

The Zinnias on the other hand are ready to make an appearance any time now.

Zinnia Bud

Zinnia Bud
Zinnia Bud

This Leaf Footed Plant Bug tried to hide in the Zinnias. He is NOT a welcome guest.

Leaf Footed Plant Bug

I harvested arugula this week. I’m really looking forward to some fresh tomatoes.
Tomato

There are quite a few more blossoms and the plant looks healthy so far. The garden center recommended I use lime in the soil. I also used the bucket/container method recommended by the local extension office.

Tomato Blossoms

And the roses are just amazing. Here is the yellow tea rose. Maine coon kitty is in the background supervising :)

Yellow Rose

Transformation Thursday