South Florida Gardening

Well it’s a strange time of year here in South Florida. While anxious to get started on our fall planting, and after weathering the recent tropical storm winds of Irma, we have one more hurdle to overcome: our very rainy season in September, albeit a little late this year. We had torrential rains last night and expect at least a week straight of rain – not a good formula for getting our seeds in flats or in the ground. One lonely flat of tomato and pepper seeds has been started and we will have to see how it does through all the rain. Meanwhile we will continue with a bit of cleaning up from the storm and prepping our beds for planting, weather permitting.

We sustained very minimal impact from the storm, in large part due to the hedges that surround our garden. The biggest loss was our pond full of beautiful, full sized fish – so sad to watch them die as we had no electricity for the pump to clear the water. We managed to save the last few by moving them to a more viable pond, and miraculously the ones on the top part of the pond did survive! Other than that, just a little fence damage, one leaning tower, and debris from a tree fallen into the garden from across the street. Luckily this time of year we have few plants growing – the okra pretty much survived, and although our beloved kaffir lime tree took a hard hit from the tree above, it looks like it’ll make it with a good staking. For the week we were without power (and no pump running), it was incredibly hot and dry, so all our remaining plants and shrubs in the garden were kept watered by hand. So we just have some post-storm minor organizing and clean up of the grounds to complete.

One advantage for us from the storm is that with all the tree damage around, we will have a bit more sun in the garden this year. Sunlight for our garden has always been a problem as we are surrounded on the south, east and west by very tall canopies in neighbors’ yards. While they work with us somewhat on trimming, it still remains difficult to get a good, full day of sun for our crops, especially in the southern portion. So, sorry for tree damage, but it’s an advantage to us for now.

While we are in this pre-planting waiting period, we will honor our ongoing okra harvest by posting a recipe for simple, easy and delicious roasted okra. Then you can look forward to the exciting news of our fall plantings!