Beautiful, Bountiful Earth

In honor of Earth Day, I started my summer garden. So far it’s very basic; I only have a raspberry bush and four different herbs in pots. In the upcoming days (provided the weather stays nice), I’ll plant some squash, spinach, tomatoes, corn, melons, and green beans. The other crops will have to wait until August, when the second growing season starts.

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Cilantro, sweet basil, dill, and parsley.

 

Raspberry bush

The Mysore Raspberry will produce dark fruit when ripe. When it produces berries in the next year or two, I hope to make jam out of them!

During the “cool” season, I’ll plant bell pepper, sugar peas, pickling cucumbers, carrots, onions, potatoes, and some mesclun. I also hope to plant some lavender, spearmint, and sweet pea flowers.

Last year nothing grew well. I don’t remember seeing a lot of bees, and I know that the issues with my cucumbers were due to a lack of fertilization. My tomatoes were amazing, until a huge green caterpillar (think The Very Hungry Caterpillar meets the Incredible Hulk big) ate all of them. Hopefully this year will yield a better crop…I really want to have fresh green beans with dinner, and I want to pickle my own cucumbers!

I’m very dedicated to making this the healthiest garden possible, so I’m using some of the wonderful heirloom, organic, and non-GMO seeds from Moonlight Micro-Farm right here in Florida! My favorite from last year were the Organic Heirloom Trucker’s Favorite Pink tomatoes. They grew and grew and grew, and boy, were they tasty! I also used a bunch of their herbs both this year and last.

I also planted a tree in our backyard for Earth Day! The Bald Cypress, a tree native to Florida, has been growing in the local area for over 6500 years. They tend to grow best in wetlands and along ponds and rivers, and they are the most flood tolerant. A young sapling can live completely submerged for up to a month! Cypress trees are also beneficial to the environment – they absorb storm runoff, slow (or even prevent) flooding, and improve water quality.

It's a bit hard to distinguish from the rest of the green, but this cypress tree is already 7-8 feet tall with beautiful, feathery branches!

It’s a bit hard to distinguish from the rest of the green, but this cypress tree is already 7-8 feet tall with beautiful, feathery branches!

I planted this particular tree in order to help with the flooding that occurs in our lower backyard. When the rains come down hard during hurricane season, our backyard remains thoroughly saturated. Even today, the hole I dug quickly filled with water. It’s mushy and mucky, and when Ellie patrols the perimeter of the yard, she kicks all of that water up over her legs and belly. I hope that we will be able to control the flooding a bit by planting such a thirsty tree. Also, the tree itself is such a beautiful green, and apparently it makes for good shade in the summertime! Can’t pass that up!


 Cypress information from: https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fr152

 

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