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Thursday, June 28, 2012

container growing

Sunday Mornings at the Farmers Market I love to talk gardening with customers and friends . If you know me , then you know  I'm not a fan of container growing for many reasons.  However Pineapples seem to be the exception to the rule.       For the last 4 years or so  I  have been experimenting  growing pineapples and has learned a few things. One thing I've noticed is that Pineapples do very well in containers; I use large  15-25 gallon pot's  filled with  premium  potting soil, a hand full of Organic 6-6-6 fertilizer and water every day. I've also found slow growing pineapples can some times sunburn so I leave the pots under the shade of a small oak tree.  The fruit harvested from these potted plants can get nearly as big as fruit bought in grocery stores.   Gardening is about results so spend the money on the premium potting soil, I do not recommend bagged "topsoil" or "50/50"

Friday, June 22, 2012

Redland Rambles ( re-post) thanks Marian

Giant pineapples revisited

One year old plants which started from hapas.
Recently, farmer Margie and I were invited over to The Lettuce Farm to pick some pineapples. Really! Farmer Tim Rowan has all kinds of fruit growing during the summer, when it’s too hot for lettuce and cabbage.
Whenever you visit a farm for the first time, the farmer will take you on a tour of all the significant plants and features of his or her place. Tim pointed out Tommy Atkins mango trees loaded with blushing round-shouldered fruit, ribbon-like dragon fruit cactus vines ready to bloom and complete with an abandoned bird’s nest, passion fruit vines thick on a trellis, and quite possibly the area’s largest compost pile running the length of his property. The field where he grows lettuces and cabbages in winter was covered densely with elephant grass as tall as our heads, and home to twittering birds.
Farmer Margie learns the fine art of picking pineapple.
But what drew our attention and curiosity were the large raised beds, loaded with pineapple plants, which ring his modest house. In the west bed, all the plants were two years old, fully grown from green tops cut off pineapples, and they were loaded with fruit. Each plant produces only one fruit, which grows on a stalk at the center of the plant. The fruit were very large, and the ripest ones were peeking out golden through long leaves. In the east bed were plants bearing slightly smaller pineapples, which looked like they would be ready in about a month or so. Those plants were a year old, originally hapas (or slips) that sprouted from the bases of the older plants. Last summer Tim had snapped off hapas and planted them in their own patch. Each mature plant sprouted one or two hapas. Plants grown from hapas bear fruit in one year, but plants grown from tops bear in two.
More hapas potted up. These will be transplanted to a raised bed.
Tim let us pick our own fruit. He pointed out the ripest ones, and told us what to do. Picking a pineapple is fairly simple. Grasp it firmly with both hands, give the fruit a snap to one side and a small twist, and it easily breaks off the stalk. I was once again surprised by how heavy and substantial it was. After picking, Tim aimed a hose at the base of the fruit and washed off a bunch of ants. They are attracted to sugar in the fruit, which start to ripen from the bottom.
Hosing off the ants.
The pineapples we picked were amazingly heavy. Out came the scale to check weight. One was eight and a half pounds and the other was nine. (I haven’t weighed the ones you can get at the store, but they’re about half the size and weight.) Must be the special soil mix and organic fertilizer that Tim feeds his plants! The ripest fruit was ready to eat, and its sweet aroma tantalized us on light breeze, as we chatted on the back patio. Tim’s feisty Chihuahua jumped from his lap onto the table and sniffed at the fruit, which easily dwarfed her. It can truly be said that on that small farm located at the edge of the Everglades, pineapples grow as big as a dog.
Tim’s chihuahua is dwarfed by a giant pineapple.

Monday, June 18, 2012

opportunity for a learning experience

 When my daughter has a bad  day or bad experience I always say to her ; This is an opportunity for a learning  experience  or spiritual growth. Today is my turn, it seems some of the pineapples are getting a bad case of sunburn. The bad sunburn can range from  superficial  to causing the fruit to rot. Solution;   I cut up an old  floating row cower and wrapped them to see if that helps .

Monday, June 11, 2012

vacation tips

Yahtzee ! the outlets are 6 feet apart, and have a hedge for concealment 
If your last vacation was as memorable as a Ben Affleck Movie , you might want to save this post on your favorites.  I've just returned from a truly memorable exciting, affordable vacation adventure !  All you need for this a 100ft. extension cord( and power strip) and 100ft of garden hose, because  most Foreclosed homes don't have  power or water. No hassle check-in  just use a lock pic or an open window.  Plugging into the neighbors power and water is exciting , and  in Jacksonville Beach  they speak American  and fire warning shots
It's rare when I can't talk my way out of a Felony Breaking and Entering charge , so just a reminder, you can't bribe someone with a Visa Card, so take some cash.  and save money eating Ramen  noodles , Mosquito repellent is also effective against bed bugs. I would also recommend sleeping with a head lamp and shoes on 
" OMG that homeless guy is staring at us !"
"Those chick's are totally checking me out"

Friday, June 1, 2012

Hurricane Preparedness guide ?

    Today is the first day of the 2012 Hurricane Season  and   I just returned home from grocery  shopping, the Cashier put a “ Hurricane Preparedness guide” in my bag. I was appalled at their so call tips . We are talking real life Emergency and that’s the best they can do . The only thing I took away from it is that I’m in the wrong business , I should be selling bottled water .  I took it upon my self as a Public Service to bring " You People" up to speed , I just hope I’m not to late .. First of all I survived Hurricane Andrew , and when a tree fell on the house  I didn't reach for a bottled water . So Tip #1 is stock up on Alcohol !  A tree limb through a window can break glass, so  I prefer Vodka in  plastic bottles and twist off caps . I’m going to finish my Preparedness tips with captioned  pictures  ..   be  safe South Florida

In the event of a direct hit from a storm, please go check on my house !  I'll be 1/2 way to Nebraska

First thing don't Panic !  you might  spill your beverage

Time to  get in line at Home Depot for plywood , by the time you get home the storm will be over .

Stock up on Medication , It could be 3 days before FEMA shows up to save your ass, and you could run out of Prozac, ,Xanax  and Vagisil

Make sure you have supplies for at least 3 days .  A flashlight  will help you look for you Homeowners Insurance Policy , the  pages of worthless paper can be used for toilet paper  after all the Insurance  Companies declare Bankruptcy

  In case of post storm looting,  I have a ferocious dog to protect my life and property