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Taking Stock

It is finally sunny with a perfect spring temperature of 82F. After 5 straight days of sunlessness, raining and cold with temps rarely above 55F and in the 30F at night – which for Florida is exceptionally rare and annoying – the weather is a greatly welcomed respite. I walked the property taking stock. We’d had a warming spell about a month ago and I was (too) bold and planted my seed starts that I had been nurturing since late December. I transplanted four varieties of cucumbers in my search for the perfect pickle. I planted my pasting tomatoes with the goal of my own canned tomato paste and sauce. I planted peppers and cabbage and basil. I even planted my bush beans.

All of it is dead. A harsh eight hour frost last Wednesday night/Thursday morning killed everything. Tomorrow, I will simply sow seeds right into the ground and start anew. Given that this is my second gardening season, I must accept the learning curve.

The olives fared this winter much better and there are only a few browned leaves as opposed to extensive browned branches last year. One of the six pecan trees planted last February has officially died or rather, I am declaring the death official. I’ve long suspected it had died when it stopped leaving. I will need to get a replacement tree. All three pears, which are all different varieties are leafing and the sand pear has flowers. I am excited since that is the only pear I have designs for use in my conserve. The peach is also flowering but it is a lopsided tree after having lost its main left side of branches last year to frost damage. The chickasaw plum has leaf buds but no flowers yet. That tree is going to be fun to watch and if I get fruit, to make plum jam. The blueberries are on the verge of exploding into green and much to my surprise and pleasure, the raspberry canes appear to have taken root and are growing. Yippee. I won’t expect any fruit from them until next fall. Also, thebirds have discovered the trellis and the bird feeders and they are quite content.

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Blueberries 2.0

Blueberries in bagsI bought eight new blueberry shrubs at the farmers’ market yesterday. At $5 a piece, it was a great deal. I have spent the morning digging, planting and setting up irrigation. Blueberries want acidic soil and I am fortunate with my land.

Wheelbarrow berriesI dug the $50 dollar hole for each of my $5 plants, adding 3 double handfuls of Black Kow compost. I filled each hole with water, making a sloppy dirt soup and cut each plant out of its pot. Blueberries don’t like their roots disturbed. I broke up all the soil and filled the trench around each plant.

The $50 hole with Black KowI planted Misty, Sharp blue, Springwide and Gulf Coast.

Sharp blue

I then encircled each plant with pine straw, even adding more straw around the blueberries 1.0 line.

Pine straw skirtsFeeling very accomplished with the planting, I drug out all my irrigation supplies and tied into the drip line I made for the 1.0 line. I plugged a individual drip line for each of the eight new plants.

L-juntionT-connectionDrip connection

Now when I attach the hose to the end of the 1.0 line, the 2.0 line will get watered too. Next year’s blueberry season should be great.