Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Last of the Broccoli

In South Florida, you can plant Broccoli from September to Jan.  Broccoli enjoys cool weather and is quick to bolt (flower) as soon as temperatures warm up.  Depending on the variety, you can harvest 75 to 90 days from planting.  After the first main head is harvested you can expect the plant to continue to produce smaller side shoots.

Planted last fall, my broccoli grown in my square foot garden was ready to harvest from around Christmas till present.  From six plants I was able to get four full sized heads and a few side shoots.  However due to my holiday travels two heads were not able to be harvested before they went to flower.  I noticed that the bees loved the broccoli flowers and since my citrus were in bloom I allowed the pretty flowers to stay until this past weekend when I finally pulled them all up.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Yellow Bougainvillea

I love the way Bougainvillea looks with weeping drapes of colorful paper like blossoms.  It gives me the sense of warmth and temperate climates like the West Indies and the Mediterranean. Common in South Florida landscapes, I decided to give it a try and planted one last year.  While I love the gorgeous yellow blossoms, I must say I didn't quite take into consideration the thorns on the plant when I envisioned that the not so brilliant plan of training it towards my fence over the Mexican Petunias.

Bougainvilleas are relatively easy to grow.  They prefer well draining soil however once established they do tolerate dry conditions and underwatering.  It is recommended to fertilize three times a year, however this plant even tolerates forgetful me, who honestly can't remember the last time she fertilized this beauty.  It makes a great security barrier near windows with it's thorny branches.  It can easily handled with a heavy pair of gloves though, so don't let this beauty deter you, it's worth having in your garden.

Bouganvillea comes in a wide variety of colors, pinks, crimson, peach, purple, white and of course yellow.  I think this year I will add another color but instead of planting it in the ground I think I will try in containers against the wall.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

A single white tea rose has bloomed just in time to wish you all a Very Happy Valentine's day.  May your love be pure, strong and everlasting!

Friday, February 4, 2011

I Hear the Trumpets

It's February and the trumpets are blowing in the breeze.  Started from a cutting taken from my aunt's yard, this very beautiful Angel Trumpet Flower (Brugmansia) is in full bloom.  This gorgeous plant starts out with yellow pod like flowers that open up to become a gorgeous shade of peach.  I fertilize it once or twice a year, when I remember to and really don't give any extra care or attention, other than to remove hornworms which ravages the leaves during the summer.  It's a stunning plant and one I will keep in my collection.  I'm think if I found a hot pink or red brugmansia, I'll need to add it to my collection.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Gardening in February

It's February 1st and South Florida gardeners should be planning and starting their spring gardens this month.
I will be cleaning up the winter garden after successful harvests of tomatoes, broccoli, eggplant and peppers between November and January. I plan to keep the eggplant and peppers going into the summer while adding new varieties.  Carrots and Parsley started in late December are slowly growing.  The citrus plants, Key Lime, Persian Lime and Meyer Lemon are all blooming.  If you didn't fertilize your citrus last month, do so now.

With the chance of a significant frost lessening it also time to plant pretty cool weather flowers before our temperatures get too hot.  Impatiens, Begonias, Verbena, Snapdragon are great for transplanting now for instant color and gratification.  If you are starting from seeds, try Marigold, Zinnias and Alyssum.  Try groupings of several or more varieties for a lovely cottage look.  There are many bulbing varieties of flowers however the majority of them do not stand up to the South Florida summers, I have only had success with caladiums and gladiolas and this is what I'll be preparing to plant again for summer blooms.

In the vegetable garden, you should start seeds now if you haven't already for tomatoes and peppers or you could always get transplants from Home Depot, Lowes or your favorite plant nursery.  Many vegetables can be sown directly into the ground at this time here in South Florida.  Carrots, Cucumbers, Canteloupes, Eggplant, Summer Squash, Collards, Pumpkins, Sweet Potatoes, peppers and tomatoes could all be started or planted now. Ideally if starting from seeds, you would started mid January for transplanting into the garden from mid February to mid March, but it's still not too late to do it now either, so don't procrastinate or you'll be paying at least $3 per transplant.

For more information visit University of Florida Vegetable Gardening Guide