Wednesday, April 22, 2009

First Time Grower Here!

Being that today is Earth Day, I couldn't think of a better time to start my blog about my garden and EVERYTHING I am having to learn being a First Time Grower. 

My name is Jen and I consider myself a city girl, originally from Miami, I now live in beautiful Cocoa Beach. I have to admit, the beautiful weather here has not translated into me loving it. I miss the city, the action, the art. In my former life I worked in advertising and I am used to a fast-paced environment and lots of stress. I didn't know what to do here. I found a couple of packets of flowers while helping my mom and dad move into their new house and I decided to plant them and this whim has fueled my new obsession. And when I say obsession - I am now living, breathing, reading and caring every minute about my little garden. I find myself at the grocery store thinking about growing fig nuts or apples. Admittedly, when I say I am a city girl I mean I love concrete, streets, malls, commerce, business suits, heels, and food that comes in packages. I love my microwave and hate cooking. I never really cared about being "green" just to help the environment. But somehow when I saw my first little pepper buds it all changed. I'm even learning to cook.

Seeing as how gardening takes time and how I've had to do so much research just to keep my little plants alive, I figured I should share my new gardening knowledge to help others deciding to grow. And I would love some feedback too or helpful suggestions.

I just started seeds in Jan 09. It is now April and I am surprised at the growth dealing with a COLD spring in Florida - which means it has been between 30-75 degrees. And it has been fluctuating like crazy. Even now it is 75 in April when it usually runs higher. 

Back to the garden!
I will list the plants I am currently growing and seeing as how I have just now learned there are growing seasons, I am working out a better growing schedule. Most of the seeds I bought in packages, although some of them have been donated from other local growers and are heirloom varieties (I will explain in another post). Some of them are rare varieties too, which I would like to get into growing more rare items seeing as how I like special things. 

Onions (like chives)
Onion - from my kitchen which sprouted so I planted it 
Red peppers (California Wonder and a Florida Heirloom )
Chocolate peppers 
Lettuce (Parris Island Co Romaine)
Winter squash
Summer Squash (Zucchini Dark Green)
Tomatoes (Varieties: Beefsteak, Plum, Patio (hybrid))
Purple Dragon Carrots


Parsley (Italian flat leaf)
Sweet Basil 


A few times I have been attempted to blow my garden up with explosives or get my evil kitty cat Luna to pee in it. But I love going out everyday and seeing the new growth and feeling the dirt in my hands. 

Today I will be planting some new seeds that my friend Barbara brought over.
Creamy Sausage Tomato
Purple Beauty Bell
Long Red Sweet

Barbara uses and gives me only heirloom seeds which means a few things: 
1. They are typically old-time varieties (over 50 years) but can be a variety thousands of years old.
2. Heirloom plants have pure seeds and will produce plants with seeds in them. Usually they are bred because of taste, flavor, beauty, or because they produce well. Often some hybrids and varieties will not produce seeds but heirlooms will generally grow the same plant unless (see 3)
3. Heirlooms are often open-pollinated so if you plant other breeds near each other they will cross-pollinate and can change the breed and may not produce fruit that grows.
4. They often have been bred to with stand certain local problems like bugs or diseases (Florida has alot of these problems) so I try to get my seeds from local growers that have been around a bit - but I have bought varieties from places like walmart too (I'll let you know if they grow different)

Some heirloom seeds have even become famous or extremely expensive but I'm working with a limited budget here so we are doing this one the cheap. 

Here are some pics of my current garden, because all gardeners big or small can be proud that they got something to grow.

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