So I take great pride in my bananas. Yes, my wife points out that I don’t even like bananas. Yes, I probably don’t deserve to be proud because the trees are doing all the work. Yes, I don’t actually have bananas yet, just rapidly growing flowers. I can still be proud.
Last week I told you that my first homesteading step at our new home was to put in a vegetable garden. This time I’d like to go into more detail regarding what I’m doing, as well as the usual assortment of how’s and why’s. We live in zone 9b in central Florida, which means that I’ve had to shake up my knowledge of gardening a little bit to make this work. The winters here are very mild, with only a slight chance of frost in December, January, and February. In the last two winters there had been no frost here at all, and we had only two frosts this winter. This means that most vegetables do great here all winter long, and others need only a little frost protection. On the other hand, the summers here are brutal. The temperatures don’t rise as high as some parts of the country, but from May to October the average high is above 88 degrees Fahrenheit, and in this period we we also switch from bone-dry to steam oven, with nothing in between. So, most folks here garden from September to April.
The other thing for me to get used to is the soil, or lack thereof. The ground here is sand, and dries out very quickly if I’m not careful. Both of these issues, along with the fact that I’m not home much to weed or water, have shaped the way I plan to do my gardening here. I’ve borrowed strategies from the organic and permaculture folks, as well as local conventional agricultural practices, to build my garden.
Well… It’s finally happened. It’s hard to call yourself the Homesteading Hippy without a homestead, especially while living in an apartment or a friend’s spare bedroom. It’s hard, even when you rent enough space to make a garden, when you move every other year. Last fall, my wife and I made the step into homeownership, buying a place of our own. Now, I can finally get homesteading for real! All my practice runs, which some of you have followed over the years, can finally be put to proper use. Let me give you a tour.
A few days ago, we noticed that we had enormous numbers of flies in our house. After chasing them with a vacuum cleaner for two days and catching about half of them, I decided to make a simple flytrap to deal with the rest. Continue reading
I’m sorry for not posting recently, a lot of craziness has come up and I’ve had to put my blogging on hold. Today, we had a gardening party and potluck at our house. Ace and I, as well as our neighbor and our landlady got a ton of gardening done! Continue reading
I know it’s a bit early in the season, but the weather has been so mild that I went ahead and planted out my broccoli and cabbage plants today, and plan to plant my kale tomorrow. This also means that two of my four raised beds are fully planted! Continue reading
Just a short post today. I planted my onion sets today, both red and yellow varieties. I planted 63 sets in my root vegetable bed before running out of space, and I put another twenty or so as a border around my tomato bed. Continue reading
We’ve had a bit of mild weather, and my grow box is getting a bit full, so I’ve started hardening off my cole crops so that I can plant them out in a week or two. If I were to plant them out without hardening them first, they could be shocked by moving them from a luxurious warm grow box to a windy, cold, and harsh outdoor environment. Continue reading
Yesterday, I planted my beet seeds in the garden. I’ve dedicated about twelve square feet to them, and was amazed when I realized just how many beets can grow in such a small area. Continue reading
I don’t know if I’m unusual about this, but I rarely use celery unless I’m making soup or stew. When I do, I need to buy a bag of celery, use two sticks, and promise myself to find a use for the rest. Then I forget, and have to compost the rest two weeks later… Continue reading