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Wow, we had an entire six hours dedicated to Citrus today. More than I ever thought I wanted to know. Half of our last class was on propagating citrus. We learned about many of the most popular Door Yard(home grown) varieties, which are better for juicing, or resistance to certain pest or diseases. A lot about different pests and diseases and different control methods. Which root stocks are best for which varieties. Mutations, good and bad. Even which varieties require cross pollination and the best pollinators. We had to learn about maturity dates and how that affects fertilizing and pest control regimens. I will definitely need to review my notes from this class several times to soak up the information.
I think they should have different levels or types of Master Gardener. Some class just seem like so much information to take in. For instance one could be an Ornamental MG, a Door Yard MG (home fruit trees), or a Vegetable MG. Just because they give me a little certificate at the end of class that says Master Gardener I do not think I will feel as though I have 'Mastered" anything. (Personally I do not think I will grow any citrus trees either... That is a tree that requires too much year-round attention for my taste)
Good news! The only other class topic that merits more that one session of training is vegetables. Yea! I have been looking forward to this one. Thursday and Tuesdays classes will cover that topic.
In my own gardens things seem to be doing fairly well. My tomatoes have a little leaf spot but seem to be holding their own. They have several dozen fruit on them. =) I have been pruning out affected branches and will mix up some baking soda and water for them tomm. I did get a bad infestation of aphids in my peas and I think they are a loss. I think I will retry those next winter I looked them up and should have started them in Sept/Oct. I will get use to backward seasons... I will.
My sweet bell pepper plants have baby peppers on them, Hooray! This is a plant I don't have a good history with... perhaps this year will be a success. My cucumbers, squash, and cantaloupe all have flowers. I think my jalapeno seedlings have doubled in size this week too. My cilantro is done and I have started some more. I think I will move them to the vegetable bed, I read that they attract lady bugs and help to repel other pests. Tomm I will peek at the cuttings I started last week and see if they are still alive.
Oh, I did get the composter started up can't wait for the 'good stuff ' for my veggies. I didn't get to my air layering experiments but perhaps tomm. ( If I ever go to bed... Oops , what time is it?)
Classes this week were a lot of fun. Tuesdays class was on how to kill a tree. We learned proper planting techniques and pruning. Turn out my hubby does a pretty good job already. However we learned that we do over prune our palm trees. During class they drug us outside and we got to plant a mahogany tree. Cool.
Thursday we learned how to make babies! He-he, my hubby has had lots of amusing comments to make about that class this week. Seriously, Plant propagation was fascinating. This is the class I have learned the most in so far. The teacher for this class was great. He works at a citrus research station about an hour inland from here. He brought in bucket-fulls of plants and we got hands on training. I am anxious for it to be light outside so I can run outside and propagate some of my own plants.
Gerrrrr, I'm not adjusting well to the time change. Usually my hubby and I will go for a bike ride or something at 6:30a before he goes to work. Then I will run the younger kids from our block to school and by now I would have watered the veggies and seeds and be sitting down for breakfast. =( It is just now getting light out. Oh well guess we will have to ride at night. If only I could get him home before dark.
I bought a new composter about 2 weeks ago that I haven't got around to setting up yet. My plan today is to get that going. I need to take some pics for my records too and put some in my albums. Well hubby has to work all weekend so I should have lots of time to putter in the yard. I want to try some of the things I learned in class yest too. I have some hibiscus varieties that I would like some more of and I want more sea grapes for another bed I am planning too. I would like to try 'air layering' some of my fav crotons too. Which means I need to run to Home Depot and get some sphagnum moss and some potting soil etc.... Oh, I'm going to save so much money. =) We wanted to line the new fence with coco plums..... Now where am I going to put all this so hubby won't complain?????
Ya know, I really had intended to Blog after each class, hopefully going forward...
Our 1st Master Gardeners class was 2/28 "Orientation"
Our first class was mostly a meet and greet. They gave us our manuals and talked a little about the origins of the Extension Service. Land grant colleges, where our funding comes from, and what kind or services we provide rounded out most of the class. We also played a few 'ice-breaker' games to get to know the others in our class. There are about 25 of us. Most are retired persons. A least I'm not the baby. Two of the people in the class are Extension employees and they appear younger than me.
3/4 Entomology "Bugs"
Eeeew. Glad we got that out of the way first thing. I had the creepy crawlies for two days! Bugs are a big problem here. Because we have such mild winters, bugs often just breed year round. Where some insects would only have a generation or two of invasion up north we often get 4 to 7 generations per year constantly attacking. That was a lot of scary information about invasive bug species too. I hadn't realized how bad the problem was. Over the last 3 to 6 years we have had some invasive species arrive that have devastated some of our major ornamental and native species. In some areas there in not a living sago palm left. Species such as Fica and Cassia that were viewed as hardy and nearly indestructible are dying in startling numbers. Sad news
3/6 Applied Botany
This class mainly delt with leaf, flower, and fruit structure. The focus was mainly learning how to 'professionally' identify and describe plants. What is a leaf; simple, pinnate, & palmate forms. What are their arrangements and so on, the same with flower forms. I did go to the library after class to check out a couple Biology books. I though a quick review on plant biology might be beneficial. It's been a "few" years since high school Biology and I never took it in college. Besides my youngest will have Biology in Middle school soon. I will be a better homework helper. =)
Unfortunately there has not been much time for gardening. My hubby is fishing in a tournament this weekend so Sat we will be at the Seafood Festival watching the weigh-ins. Then on Sun we are all headed to the Rodeo. I love the barrel racing! So, probably not much time in the garden this weekend either. I have discovered aphids on my Arugula, Fire Bush, and Hibiscus so I do need to do battle with them today. I have tried just spraying them off but they keep coming back so it's time to take off the gloves...
Gee.... I've been busy. Unfortunately not in the garden. I've been trying to get everything squared away so I can go back to work next week.
We took the girls Strawberry picking at the 'U Pick' fields last weekend and had a blast. YUUUMMMM Strawberry Shortcake! I think I have gained a few pounds this week.
My little friend has come over for a visit today and I thought I'd blog while he naps.
All the seeds I planted for my second secession have sprouted. The spinach seems quite happy since I thinned it. I completely forgot that some time ago I stuck some garlic cloves in the big 20 & 30 gallon pots around my tomatoes. I can't even remember when I planted them. Well, they have sprouted nicely. And... I found buds on the bell pepper plants. The Bibb lettuce I moved out to the bed are doing nicely. =)
I have decided I want to try some Heirloom tomatoes this fall. I ordered some seeds for Tropic, Brandywine, and Abraham Lincon. I also ordered some seed for Bushel Gourds, Small Spoon Gourds and Luffa Gourds. (Debstr inspired me) I ordered some Soapwort too, on a whim. Ya know, sponges and soap (he-he). No one at my house gets it. Oh and I found some seeds for 'Tom Thumb' lettuce. They were too cute they look like a type of bibb , they only take 43 (or was it 47) days to mature. Each head is about the size of a softball. Cool. I think my hubby has hidden my seed catalogs though.....
A few of the seeds I planted for my butterfly garden have sprouted, less than half..... slow sprouters. I could just be impatient. My White Bird bud has opened and sent out two more buds.
Tomorrow is the orientation for my Master Gardeners class. I'm excited. Our regular classes start on Tues.
I was thinking about those great charts Deb made to keep track of her seeds and stuff and decided It would be great to have all that info to reference. The other night when I was playing insomniac I started some too. I guess I'll finish them next time I can't sleep =). Now I hear that my friend has woke up from his nap.... time to go. =)
When I went out to check on the 'babies' this am I found my 1st baby tomato. =)
Yum-Yum! This is one of the sweet 100's. I looked up the other little ones and they are yellow pears not lemon boys.
I found some great books at the library on vegetable gardening here in FL. Learning a lot! But everything is backwards here. I think I have already made a mistake with my bulbing onions. I should have planted them in the fall. I still have another set to plant too. maybe I should plant green onions instead. I'll ask that great guy 'Carl' at the nursery. The book says they need cooler weather to develope their bulbs. Well, they are growing, I guess I can still use them like green onions. I'll give them some time and see what happens.
I've had some kind of sore throat/fever yuckyness for 3 days now. =( I was asleep last night when the eclipse started but my daughter came in and woke me up to see if I wanted to watch it. I did not drag out the telescope but I did try to take a couple pics. They didn't come out great . Here are two of the better ones
All my babies are growing wonderfully! I started some more carrots and red and yellow onions today. This time I planted them 'square foot' style instead of rows. Wanted to see the difference. Still planted the 3 diff types of carrots so I can see which kind does best for me.
I was also wondering if the size of some of the pieces of mulch in this garden soil was giong to cause a problem for my carrots developing properly. I dug out the section I planted today and filled it with a much finer soil. Then I can compare the results. Oh, I also planted another row of radishes between the squash mound and the peas. I figure they will be out of the way before it gets too crowded.The salad bowls I planted on my porch are doing great except for the Bibb lettuce. So I took the strongest seedlings from the pot and moved them out to the raised bed, you can see them above on the left. If they make it cool. If not, oh well.
I'm going to start two more pots of the spinach and romaine for the porch. I hope to keep them going on a cycle. I thinned the spinach pretty hard yest. to see if it would grow better. This is my 1st time growing spinach and I'm not sure which way it's happier.
Hubby and my OD (older daughter) worked on the lot a little this weekend. There were some nice young oak trees covered in vines that I wanted to try and 'free' so they can get in some healthy growth this year. I think we are going to take that check from uncle sam and finish cleaning up and fence in the lot. Can't wait. =)
The tent is YD's (younger daughter) 'club house'. We can't start on the real one until we get the lot graded. YD and I suprised them with some baked apples with crumb topping for working so hard. =) Maybe they'll do more next weekend.
Oh, I finally started those bottle gourd seeds on Sun 2/17. I just stuck them in one of the 20 gal pots against the fence behind the pool..
It's official!! I start next week. I am so excited I can't stand it!! Our program runs 2 days a week for 9 weeks. It seems to be similar to other programs I've seen but with a few extra classes like Tropical Fruits, Citrus, Palms, and Environmentally Friendly landscaping to reduce pollution. Fertilizer in our run-off is a big deal here. There are two vegetables classes =). I love to grow anything but I especially love to eat what I grow! I hope to learn lots of wonderful things to share with everyone. It would nice to be able to answer an occasional question instead of always asking the questions.
I started some seeds for my butterfly garden today, a few diff zinnias(I love the little ones) some butterfly weed, and Red Hot Pokers. I have a Mexican Flame I would like to move into it and I am looking for an old bicycle frame to train it on to. I thought it would look cool, maybe hang a humming bird feeder off a handle. I started some morning glories too for the fence outside my youngest's window. She picked them out special 'cause their purple(her fav color). I also have some large bottle gourd seeds I want to start. I want to make a bunch of birdhouses this fall. Just can't decide where to put them.
It's been raining for about 4 hours now. I'm not complaining! =) We really need it. It's a nice steady relaxing rain.... the weatherman says it's not going to stop until sometime tomm. afternoon.
I picked up some Thyme, and Flat Leaf Parsley today and got them planted in pots around the grill before the rain started. For herbs I now have mint, basil, rosemary, cilantro, thyme, and parsley. Those seem to be the ones I use the most. Espically basil and thyme!!!
When I showed hubby all the seed packets I'd been collecting he decided he would dig me up an area next to the screen porch so I could sit out there and watch the butterflies. As usual he requested a diagram. =) I went looking for some flats to start seeds in. I'd forgotten I had all those pots back behind the shed, nothing small to start seeds in though. I have a couple diff varieties of zinneas, red hot pokers, and butterfly weed seeds. There is a mexican flame vine growing next to the shed I'd like to move to the butterfly patch and there is already a fire bush next to the area. Maybe one or two more additions and I should draw alot of butterflies! I'd like to build some kind of cool trellis for the vine and put in a puddling spot for the butterflies. My neighbor use to have a vine growing on an old chair frame. It looked cool.
When I started organizing my recipies yesterday I unleashed a monster. (wow) Mission organization is finally over and I can't believe thats my kitchen! (seriously) I think I've cleaned out every cabinet and drawer in a single day. I even took a picture....for proof! It may never be that organized again (grin)
I'm so excited..... all my seeds are peeking out! I was beginning to give up hope on the Jalapenos. I was able to cut enough salad from my bowls for the table last night. I can't wait for some tomatoes to go with. The tomatoes at the store right now are horrendous.
I had my little friend over again today. We went to Walmart this AM ( How did those seed packets end up in my cart???) I picked up some magnetic photo albums and page protectors. My recipe collection has kinda taken over the shelves in my kitchen. Little pieces of paper and magazine clippings floating around everywhere. While the little guy was sleeping I tried to get my mountains of recipes organized. Last time I went to dad's I went through all my grandmother's recipes too and brought back many favs. I found a pickle recipe I want to try for my excess cucumbers. I think it actually worked out pretty good. After my little friend went home I took out my favorite recipe books and used pretty stickies to mark all my favorite recipes and labeled the important ones. Maybe I'll be able to find stuff faster now. I have recently started making bread and rolls too. Kneading dough can be very therapeutic...
I have noticed a lot of butterflies fluttering around lately. I planted a tub with cosmos, zinnias, and lantana for them and put it out front. Some how I ended up with several packages of zinnia seed at walmart today too. Hummm... so I guess I need to find a place to plant them. I seem to have alot of little projects floating around that I need to try wrap up.
I picked up another 1/2 yard soil yesterday and Hubby was nice enough to shovel it all for me while I made supper last night. This AM I went out and finished planting the tomatoes and peppers and got the last of the seeds in (at least for a couple weeks) I'm trying to control myself and plant in secession. Now all that's left is to make the veggie spot 'pretty'. Hubby wants to mulch all around it. He decided the compost pile would go back there too (right where we plan on putting another bed this fall). The radish seeds I planted Sat. are already sprouting. I'd forgotten how fast they grow.
After I finished I decided to go around front and start cleaning out my beds out front. My White bird of Paradise has sent out a big flower bud. I love to watch those open. One of the crotons I thought had died last year is coming back behind the fountain grass. I was surprised 'cause I had cut it to the ground. Oh, and I found the coolest spider wed. I have never seen one like it before. It was shaped like a funnel and there is an opening in the bottom. Neat! I put a picture of it in my pictures. I haven't figured out how to put pics in here yet.
I'm trying to decide what to border my beds with out front. We used to have a 'dwarf' form of fountain grass that was very pretty but after a few years it wasn't dwarf anymore. It would get so big they hid everything else in the beds. Last year we tried a verigated lithrope. All the ones on the left side died and the one on the right side look very sad. Hubby thought that some of the Daylilies at Walmart were 'cool' I might try that but I am trying to keep the front looking very 'tropical'. I guess I'll keep looking.
It's bright and warm outside! =) I can see some butterflies fluttering by as I sit here at the table. Today I am babysitting for a friend and wishing I was outside playing instead. However this handsome little 10mo. old boy fills my day with laughter.
Saturday Hubby helped me get the raised veggie bed filled and planted. My tummy rumbles when I think of having fresh stuff again. I did find some more pots, I think I have enough now. We ran out of dirt though so I need to go pick up another 1/2 yard. My lettuce containers are doing great. Only problem is the cats seem to think they would be a great pleace for a nap. So I filled them sticks pointing up b/t the seedlings. Seems to be working so far even if it looks kinda silly. I will post some more pictures now that I've figured out how. I'll have to wait for my little friend to take a nap.
We purchased the lot behind us last week. One more and we'll be all boxed in. Then we won't have to worry about neighbors too close. Our Neighbor at the corner owns every thing between us. It's nice to have a little room to spread out. The kids still love to play in the woods even though their getting big.
I brought up a btterfly garden to the hubby when we were at the beach Sat night. He seemed to really like the idea. I think I may be rubbing off a little on him. ('bout time) ......Although he did bring up a new string of tournaments he wants to fish this year. Maybe he's just getting better at negotiating. Well I guess I'll go see if the little one is ready for his nap.
Yea! My raised vegetable bed and trellis' are built. Thank-you Hubby! Well, I think I've figured out what I'm going to plant in the raised vegetable bed; cucumbers, peas, squash, onions,carrots I've decided to put the onions all the way down on one end and seperate them from everyone else with the carrots.
I have been searching out very large containers to grow my 3 types of tomatoes in. I purchased some seedlings for Better Boy, Sweet 100's, & Lemon Boy? (It's the little yellow ones & I can't find the tag) They are just waiting for the soil to get delivered so they can move into their new homes. Saturday I think. I found some great , hugh containers when we were cleaning out the lot we purchased next door. I would still like to find a few more. The guy across the street is a tree guy maybe he has a few.
I would like to grow some Cantalope too.
Oh, I told hubby I would try to grow some Bell peppers too, but haven't figured out where to squeeze them in yet . I have a few large pots of herbs growing aroud the grill maybe I start a new pot there. i haven't had muck luck with Sweet Bell Peppers in the past. But I have to try for all his help.
I am thinking about building a berry fence but not sure if I will get to it this year. I was considering putting up a 15 or 20 ft fence and lining with blackberries and raspberries then capping it off on either end with blueberry shrubs. We'll see.... I think I need to start a compost pile first so I can start 'fixing' the soil... or should I say sand, where I would like to put them.
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