Back into the Garden
One of the best things about being a gardener in Florida is the fact that I can enjoy two growing seasons. While many of my northern neighbors are harvesting their bounty and closing their gardens for winter, I’m planting anew. Days are growing shorter, temperatures are falling (supposed to be falling though I’m still waiting), my peanuts are maturing, my sweets are fattening and I’m knee-deep in the till of it!
Yes, my back is aching but my corn is in and so are my Limas and zucchini! Okra, pole beans and pumpkins, too. What a great feeling it is to plant a fall garden, like the breath of spring only better, because within weeks my weeding and harvesting will be accomplished with a nip in the air and a breeze at my back. Fall in Florida is a great time to be outdoors. Actually, fall anywhere is a great time to be outdoors and my favorite time of the year, what with scents of cider and cinnamon drifting through the house (thank you pre-packaged potpourri mixes), the evenings growing cool and cozy indoors. Not too long now and I’ll once again indulge in the soft flicker of flames in my fireplace.
“You have a fireplace in Florida?”
Sure do! And the minute the outdoor thermometer hits 60 degrees the heat is on in my home–and by heat I mean firelogs! Then the kids and I will head out to the garden and harvest some golden sweet potatoes and mash them into the most delectable pies and sides for the dinner table. Wish we had an apple tree. It would be so neat to send the little ones scurrying up its trunk with instructions to pluck to their hearts’ content. We could make apple pie and cider, float some in a tub and practice our bobbing technique tossing the leftovers onto the compost pile!
Now doesn’t that sound like fun? Until then, we’ll grow what we can. Next weekend we’ll transplant our tomato sprouts to the garden along with some squash, red beans and carrots. Come November we’ll add our garlic and onions and put them to bed for the winter, tucking in a few potatoes here and there beside them. Yes, we run the risk of frost with an early crop of potatoes but I must confess, there’s nothing like the taste of fresh buttery sweet Yukon Golds. Definitely worth the extra effort in frost blankets and kid-crafted greenhouses. (Yes, that’s a potato castle above.)
We do like a challenge around the Venetta household and what better challenge than to go head-to-head with Jack Frost? He’s a feisty old guy but we’ll be ready for him if he tries to take out our potato crop this year!
Anyone else planting their fall vegetables? How about cover crops? You know, a key concept to keeping the organic garden healthy and productive? I’m thinking of playing around with some soybeans this year. Should do wonders for the soil and we may even be able to harvest some. Which would be a good thing. I’ve heard soybeans are great for a “maturing” women’s health! 🙂