Monthly Archives: November 2013

Quick Update

Sweet potato flowerLast Weekend  (November 10 and 11)

Messing around with WordPress occupied much of my time. I had jumped into blogging without any idea how it all works. Now I’m no longer completely clueless (just mostly).

During the preceding week I harvested a handful of (small) sweet potatoes. This was the result of overenthusiastic weeding. They were First fruitsquite good (stir-fried). On the weekend I got my first Jalapeño and my first ripe tomato. The pepper wasn’t quite as hot as I prefer but it tasted good. The tomato was delicious—the best Florida-grown tomato I’ve ever had. We’ll see if this continues.

The first flowers have appeared on the sweet potato vines. According to my research that means I can harvest in four weeks (December 7 and 8).

I mowed my front yard, probably for the last time this year. The dry season is under way.

I broke some more sod and planted four cabbage plants. I also began installation of a simple drip irrigation system. I used one-gallon-per-hour emitters for the eggplants and tomatoes. Everything else is still being hand watered. I think I’m going to add emitters to the compost bins. I haven’t been faithful about keeping them damp enough.

Then I stopped watering when, this past Friday (11/15), it began raining (sprinkling). This continued, off and on, through Saturday noon. My yard got a little more than a half inch.

This weekend (November 17)

Today I broke more sod and planted four broccoli and four cauliflower seedlings.

YpresMy planting method has changed slightly going into the dry time. After I prepared the bed I raked it nice and smooth and level—because it looked so nice. Then I took my shovel and scooped out a crater where each seedling will go. This makes it look not so pretty–more like Ypres in 1918.

Into each crater goes a measure of Compost teapotting soil (q.v.) and two cups of aerated compost tea. Remind me to tell you about aerated compost tea sometime. Simply marvelous stuff—I’ve been using it for the last month. Finally I press the seedling into the muddy hole and I’m done.

I’ve switched to the crater planting method because of the nature of our soil. Water tends to pool on the surface and, if there’s any slope, run off to water the weeds. The crater forces the water to flow toward the (desirable) plant and soak into the potting soil. This makes hand watering quick and easy—dump in a measure of water and move on. My soil is so well-drained that the garden must be watered every other day. Saving time is important.

I was almost out of potting soil so I mixed up some more. This is the third time I’ve made potting soil at my new house and I used a new recipe (that I made up on the spot—just like the last two times). This time I used three parts each of vermiculite and compost plus two parts of worm castings. I also tossed in a palm full of 2% slow-release nitrogen fertilizer. This made 5 gallons.

MeasuringMy measuring scoop for the ingredients is an old, plastic Folgers coffee canister ($0.00). When I plant, I use one 8″ plastic flower pot ($1.00) to measure the mix into the prepared hole. Finally I add precisely two cups of water (more or less) with an expensive Pyrex measuring cup. I know—it makes no sense.

In other news:

A roll of toilet paper lasts me 19 days.

I use one pint (about 5.5 ounces) of dried chopped onion every two weeks.

I’m afraid to find out how much coffee I go through!

And my clothes dryer stopped working this week! I will not post pictures of how I fixed it (the door switch failed). My solution is completely safe but definitely looks like a “don’t try this at home” solution. I need to find a new switch.