My Favorite Jacksonville Garden Shop

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A Gardener's Work Is Never Done

The time has arrived.... harvest season is over here in Florida.
The veggie patch in the driveway garden has been composted and mulched over. I used a simple “lasagna” layering technique. The only thing that remains are the Rosa Bianca eggplants that are just reaching peak season, and the small meadow of Susans and Cosmos at the bottom.

The patio is overflowing with herbs. I’ve had a lot of success this year starting plants from seed, including my all time favorite, basil. I have so much basil now that I haven’t even had a chance to get it all into pots. I also have a pot of peppers that has decided it also loves the heat. In the past if I didn’t have peppers by June, I would cut the plants back to about 8 inches and wait for fall when they will generally take off again and produce well into December.

The side garden is a mess. The tomatoes are ready to be cut out. The vines are sprawling everywhere and are over run with aphids and wilt. Any remaining tomatoes have rotted and are creating a huge mess. On the opposite side of the same bed is a cover crop of cow peas. I thought it would be fun to have fresh cow peas, but shelling them is not easy work. So for now I will just continue to stock up on fresh bags of $5 peas from the farmers market. I have a huge respect for anyone who takes on the task of shelling that many by hand and will gladly pay the steep asking price with gratitude. The vines are not a complete waist though. I will use the vines as a layer of compost when I begin my “lasagna” layering. Beans are unique in that they fix nitrogen into the soil at the root, so they are great to till in.

Harvest: No harvest this week.

Remove tomatoes from side garden raised bed
Cut down cow peas and “lasagna” layer the raised bed
Pull vines from Azaleas in front yard
Cut back roses
Cut back any plants showing signs of heat stress - ok all of them
Clean out and mulch over remaining earthboxes
Discard any dead annuals and clean out pots
Start broccoli seeds inside for planting out at the end of August for November harvest

(did I mention that it’s been 98 degrees out everyday)


  1. Hi, this is my first time on your blog. I'm curious about that picture of your driveway garden - do you have a circular driveway that goes around that garden? It looks really cool! I can't believe your summer harvest season is already over, and mine's just getting started! I do love learning about climate differences all across the country. Did you have any pests on your basil? I've been having trouble with Japanese beetles, aphids, and other unknown crawlies attacking my precious basil leaves this last month.

  2. I'm always sad at the end of each season, and yet looking forward to the next one. Florida sounds much different than what I'm used to here in Northern CA, even though we have very warm summers. Your circular planting should be nice to see every time you drive in!

  3. @thyme2garden - thanks for visiting my blog. I am indeed using the inside of my circular drive for growing veggies and such. It was just a weed pit for the longest time. I have enjoyed having the extra room.
    The only thing I have found that gets rid of pests from my herbs are lady bugs. I generally buy them 2 or 3 times a year and they do a good job of taking care of the aphids and whiteflys.

    and also @Dirt Lover - gardening in florida is a crap shoot. Here in Jax especially. The zone chart literally splits right through the middle of our city. I never know what to expect from year to year, except that not much will grow right now. Even the CSA's are off right now. Farm shares run from late September to May.

    and yes, I get a lot of Joy almost (see my entry "a funny story") every time I pull into the drive.