Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Farm School Week Nine

 Farm School is back in session.
It was another busy day with lots to do and see.

Ah, yes, another day in paradise.

Last week, Lynn had discovered that a bird
had gotten into the tomato netting from the side
and sampled one of his delicious morsels. 
 Here's the new and improved version of protection 
from flying tomato eaters.

They can easily walk inside to retrieve fruit,
but the critters cannot penetrate the barrier.
Is there anything that's not improved 
with clothespins?

The metal stakes on the tomatoes keep the leaves off of the soil,
which protects the plant from pests.

Plenty of blooms on these sweet things.

It was time to cage these babies.

This is a cutworm.  Nasty critters.
They can be found at the base of plants
when they surface from just beneath the soil.
Read about them here.

We pulled out all this lettuce that had bolted from the heat.
The pots were tidied and prepared for another crop.

 Lynn explained how he gets his fertilizer from a local company.
He uses this on most of his crops.
It's got the right mix of minerals that his plants adore.
 It's more cost effective to buy a bag this size 
than what you might find at a big box store.
It lasts a good long while.

Some of the more exotic plants were in bloom.
This is called a king's mantle.

The contrast of the purple and yellow is striking.

This is the queen's mantle.
The purple shade is similar, 
but what a difference in texture and form.
Just gorgeous!

This is a sausage tree which is native to Africa.
We will visit this one again when we can show you what it produces.

This plant is a mystery even to Lynn.
When he first showed me, 
it seemed like the blooms were plastic or vinyl.
What a wild sense of humor God has.

This experience is something I couldn't have dreamed and yet,
I know that I created it in my life 
because I was meant to travel this path.
Feeling grateful for everything learned
and all that God provides.

"Get over the idea that only children should spend their time in study. 
Be a student so long as you still have something to learn, 
and this will mean all your life."
-Henry L. Doherty


Monday, April 29, 2013

Backyard Gardener Festival

This weekend the local Master Gardeners
hosted their annual plant sale.

Most activities were outside in a nearby field.

One of the first tables I came across displayed orchids.

Never saw one with this shade of brownish-red before.

Orchids have a bad reputation for being difficult to care for,
but in our humid climate, they thrive with very little effort.

There were edibles for sale,

as well as a vast array of beauty for the eyes.

Textures were varied.

The contrast between the leaves and the blooms 
on this lovely is stunning!

Just look at the center of the blossom.

Zinnias are a personal favorite.
These were exceptionally large and vibrant.

There were many I'd never seen before.

The foliage was as diverse as the blooms.

There was a demonstration about worm farming on a small scale.

These critters can really improve your garden soil.
It's something I'd like to try.

There were a couple of garden design displays...

to give ideas to those of us who aren't so good at designing.

Rain barrels and mulch could be had for a small price.

This is perennial peanut.
Our city landscaper has used it in town
along the sidewalks throughout the downtown area.

It's drought tolerant, takes sun, heat, cold and some traffic.
It can die back with a freeze, but bounces back.
It's a great choice for the city, 
as it saves money on water and maintenance.

Here's what I brought home.

The perennial peanut will be tried in a test area in the backyard.
If it were up to me, I'd plant it everywhere we currently have sod.
Since we live in a deed-restricted community, 
I don't want to fight the HOA,
so we'll keep it in the backyard, away from prying eyes.
The Asiatic Jasmine will be planted under our weeping elm.
The Society Garlic found a place in our mailbox planter.
The Bald Cypress will be given to a friend 
who has the space to let it go.
Three more blue-eyed grass plants were brought home as well.
(Forgot to get the picture of them.)

All of the new plants join the rest 
of our growing native and Florida-friendly menagerie.
It makes gardening easier and provides habitat for local wildlife.
Enjoy your natives!


The Chicken Chick

Friday, April 26, 2013

Backyard Garden Festival

The 7th Annual Backyard
GardenFest and Plant Sale

Saturday, April 27, 2013
9 am to 2 pm
Polk County Extension Service Campus
1702 U.S. Highway 17 South
Bartow, FL 33830


Visit the “Ask the Expert” Gazebo 
to chat with the IFAS Polk County Extension Horticulturist, 
Dr. David Shibles and the Polk County Master Gardeners. 
Visit the Florida Friendly Landscaping booth 
for free garden design ideas,information and hand-outs 
FREE pH soil testing—Bring a 1 cup soil sample in a small baggie

Plants and More for Sale



‘Know & Grow’ Workshops:
10:00 am
11:00 am
Visit www.polkmastergardener.ifas.ufl.edu

Youth Activities
Rain or Shine
Food & Fun!!!
Free Admission
Free Parking

"See you there!"


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Pay Attention

12 Simple Ways to Improve Your Life 
(or someone else's)

*When driving, leave the radio turned off 
and the windows rolled down.
You'll notice things you haven't before.

*Park further from your destination and enjoy the walk.
Just a few extra steps can add up to a real difference.

*Close your eyes when you brush your teeth.
You'll do a better job!

*Use your own pen when filling out forms.
*Bring your own reading material to appointments. 
These two will keep you healthier, 
as you are not sharing materials (and germs) with others.

*Leave unneeded coupons on the shelf at the grocery store.
The next person to purchase the product 
will get a wonderful surprise!

*Add the year to the first ten checks at the beginning of the new year.
By the time you use the tenth check, 
you'll be used to writing the new year's date.

*When making new entries to a phone book, 
write the name in ink,
the address and phone numbers in pencil.
Hopefully, you'll keep your friends, 
even if their address or phone number changes.

*Bring shopping carts back into the store for someone else.
You'll save someone an extra trip back to their vehicle and 
store employees won't have to take the time to round up carts.

*Leave a note in dry erase marker 
on your child's (or spouse's) bathroom mirror.
Start their day with a smile and a good feeling inside.

*Donate the leftover balance on a gift card to the next person in line.
Maybe they can get something they weren't expecting.

*Say a quiet prayer to every school bus, fire truck, 
police car and ambulance you encounter.
Something as simple as, "God bless and keep you
will keep the good stuff moving.
*Leave one dollar bills in children's books at the library.
Reading really pays off-in more ways than one!

These are all small things,
but can add up to improving your life
(and maybe someone else's).

"The manner of giving is worth more than the gift."
-Pierre Corneille

Homestead Barn Hop


Simple Saturdays Blog Hop

Motivation Monday Linky Party Sunday 6:30 pm at www.alifeinbalance.net