what a season, huh?

pnbrownJanuary 29, 2013

Knock on wood, so far the warmest winter since I've been in central fl - around y2k.

Pigeon pea and lima beans still flowering and making new pods, amazing. Self-sown beans coming out of the ground, some citrus is flowering. Mulberry blooming, figs leafing out. Ripe papaya and more coming - it's almost like being in south florida.

Please stay away, killing frost!

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Michael AKA Leekle2ManE - Zone 9a - Lady Lake, F

No kidding. After watching the 10-day for the past two weeks and seeing few days below 40's at night or below 60's in the day, I finally broke down and worked in the garden today, putting up most of my winter protection stuff and moving plants around the garden.

My biggest 'problem' so far has been playing yo-yo with my tomato sprouts, bringing them in on the few nights when temps are going to drop below 50, which I will be doing again on Thursday. My milkweed and salvia sprouts just get moved up against the house to leech heat. I would be concerned by the brief dip into the mid 30's on Thursday and Friday nights, but considering the ground has been warming up so much after the past week, at most I'll have to throw a sheet over some of my more sensitive plants to retain ground heat and block the winds. I'm not even really worried about losing the new growth on my Firebush as I really don't think it's going to get burned this time. My gopher apple however... that thing seems to be super sensitive to cooler temps and will drop its leaves the moment temps hit 40. But they start to come back a week later.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 7:55PM
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pnbrown, where in Central Florida are you?

Leekle, I haven't been able to resist working in the garden for over a month now! So much to do! Started with dead-heading, weeding, and cleanup. Now on to planning for new stuff and grass removal for new beds. I'm so anxious for things to really get going!

    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 9:46PM
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Michael AKA Leekle2ManE - Zone 9a - Lady Lake, F

I kept resisting the urge to do anything more than pull weeds or watering plants when needed because I kept telling myself, "Winter isn't over yet." Now that I've jumped in with both feet and reshaped one bed as well as moved some young pentas cuttings that managed to survive the cold of late November/early December, I'm waiting for the big freeze to come in and wipe out the little guys, just to 'teach me a lesson'.

There's still a month and a half of 'winter' left to go. Officially speaking.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 10:51PM
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I like to live dangerously. You don't want to even KNOW what all I've done already! I've moved mature plants, cut back frost-bitten foliage, put little baby cuttings in the ground... just to name a few. I'm crazy like that. LOL!

    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 11:13PM
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L_in_FL(8B/9A Border, NW FL)

I am itching real bad to do spring planting. It's going to be cool this weekend...next week when it warms up I will have to see what the extended forecast looks like. If it looks good I will probably risk some zucchini, cucumbers, and herbs next week at least.

I'll hold off on the eggplant, though they are big enough to go outside already. I'm sure we'll get some more nights in the 40s at least, and eggplants will really sulk if they are exposed to those kind of temperatures.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 12:55AM
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I'm kind of between deland and ocala.

I agree it's early to set out the warm weather starts. But I think it's a reasonable gamble to direct-seed a lot of stuff, including common beans. I put in bush beans the other day, and fava beans a week ago, though probably a little on the late side for those as well as the irish potatoes I put in at the same time.

With a little luck the limas and my one pigeon pea plant will get through and I'll be able to see what those do with two years growth on them. That'd be neat.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 1:25PM
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I was out there removing grass and weeding again today. All of the seeds I threw on the ground in, oh, maybe November? They've sprouted. I almost yanked them out in my weed-pulling frenzy! Actually, I did put out a few, but I popped them right back in. I have billions of Money Plant (Silver Dollar Plant, Honesty, Moonwort, Bolbonac), Nasturtium, and a variety of cactus babies!

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 2:44PM
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whgille(FL 9b)

Hi Pat - I am having the best of both worlds, cold season crops and some fruit ripening that is not supposed to.
I made some really good banana jams and I still have more fruit ripening, loquats are ripening too.

Fava like a long cold season to produce, I plant them in the garden before snap beans when I am growing them. Since I am still harvesting peas, after they are gone I will put green beans.

My many kinds of irish potatoes are doing well and it is warm enough to start the sweets but I will wait to have the space, I am still harvesting carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, beets and a lot of different cabbages.

Green cauliflower from Italy, is a cross between regular and Romanesco, very delicious!



    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 2:52PM
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L_in_FL(8B/9A Border, NW FL)

I've got thousands of little volunteer marigolds along one section of the fence. They are about 4" tall already and growing like...well, you know. ;-) At this rate they will be blooming before March. This is several weeks ahead of normal.

I threw some cilantro and dill seeds along two other sections of the fence, hoping to make permanent patches out there, both for culinary purposes and for bee forage/beneficial insect habitat. I have a few dill and cilantro volunteering elsewhere, so I know this is good weather for them.

I have had some nasturtium blooming under the banana trees all winter.

Most interesting, my bananas have never completely gone dormant this year. They look pretty bad, with most of the leaves yellow or brown, but they have had at least some green all winter, and have put out new leaves during every warm spell. I am wondering if it has been mild enough this winter that they might actually fruit this year??? That would be a first.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 3:05PM
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I was thinking the same thing, L. I'm not sure anything I have has gone dormant this winter. Hibiscus has flowered all winter, new growth on all palms non-stop, Jasmine has been blooming continuously. My Geraniums and Coleus never died back, either, nor the Glorybower, Elephant Ears, Caladium. Actually, three things went dormant (but are now covered with new growth): the Guara, Heliconia, and the Porterweed. I keep getting up and walking over to look out at my yard, but really that's it. The rest looks like it did all summer practically. Now THIS is why I moved to Florida!

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 3:17PM
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brute(Florida 9B)

My lychee and macadamia are in full bloom. Unheard of this early! I'm waiting for "the other shoe to drop" in February. It would be nice if we got away scot-free.
We'll see.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 3:33PM
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We will get off scotch-free. I already know it. I can feel it in my bones. I'm originally from Michigan, so I can smell a frost coming from a few miles away. I am never wrong. (Just ask my children, grandchildren, or husband) LOL!

*Can you imagine living in a place where the rule-of-thumb is that you plant NOTHING outside until after Mother's Day? I don't have to imagine, I lived it. Gag.*

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 3:38PM
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L_in_FL(8B/9A Border, NW FL)

So can I fuss at you if I stick some peppers in my Earthboxes next week, and then a mid-February frost kills them? :-D

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 6:10PM
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Yes, you can. ;D

Well, wait. I'm just talking about 9B here. I'd have to come smell your air to answer that. LOL!

This post was edited by shear_stupidity on Wed, Jan 30, 13 at 18:16

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 6:14PM
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L_in_FL(8B/9A Border, NW FL)

See, now you're not being a good enabler anymore. :-D

How cold is it going to be down there with this front? We may actually be looking at frosts the next couple of nights. Projected lows here are 32-37 tonight and 30-35 tomorrow night. Clear skies and light winds.

Hope my bananas don't die back now, after making it so far this winter.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 3:12PM
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Michael AKA Leekle2ManE - Zone 9a - Lady Lake, F

According to Weather Underground, I'm looking at 37, 41, 39, 41 over the next few nights. That's up from the projected temps of 35 and 38 for tonight and tomorrow night from last Monday's forecast, but now it's stretched out. I think on Monday it said 35, 39, 50, 52. So lower temps over four days, but not as low on the first two.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 3:19PM
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I just looked at Weather Underground (which I never, ever do)

Tonight (Thursday) 45
Friday 43
Saturday 45
Sunday 45
Monday 46
Tuesday 50
Wednesday 59
Thursday 61
Friday 64
Saturday 63

    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 7:24PM
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Glad to see I'm not the only one who can't wait to plant! I think I'm going to risk a few squash and plant a row of beans. I can't resist checking on my little tomato seedlings throughout the day either:)

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 1:30AM
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muslickz(Zone 9 CenFL)

I've got stuff still out from last summer and TONS of seedlings coming up outside. I'm in Winter Park, just NE of Orlando. Zone 9b.

Just got done setting up my hydroponic Strawberries!


    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 8:24AM
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Michael AKA Leekle2ManE - Zone 9a - Lady Lake, F

Weather Underground failed me. I woke up this morning and checked my thermometer. 34F. And apparently it got down to 32F. My wife thought I was a little nuts for boiling 3 gallons of water last night and encompassing the new growth on my firebush with jugs of hot water before covering it, but this morning it looks to have survived the night's temperature drop unscathed.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 10:09AM
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Great idea!

As I said in "Confessions," I never cover anything. Some day I'll probably be sorry, but that day is not today. LOL!

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 10:49AM
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puglvr1(9b central FL)

Good luck to you guys (mostly north of Tampa)...seems to be another Freeze Watch for the Nature Coast for tomorrow early morning. I've been lucky SO far and have had only 2 mornings of low 30's. I sure hope "Shear stupidiy" predictions are correct that the frost/freeze is over for us in Zone 9B :o).

Love your Cauliflower Sylvia!!

Here is a link that might be useful: Freeze Watches...(Northern counties)

This post was edited by puglvr1 on Fri, Feb 1, 13 at 12:47

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 11:12AM
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Ok. shear stupidity I am depending on your nose to be correct..no frost/ freeze just beautiful gardening weather..

Silvia.. your cauliflower looks great..I am still harvesting the collards and cabbage you shared at your garden party...

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 11:59AM
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L_in_FL(8B/9A Border, NW FL)

35 was the low this morning, but I didn't see any frost. Now the predicted low for tonight is 29-34. The bananas looked good this morning - I hope they can hang on for one more cold night!

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 12:24PM
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Funny I would start this thread and a cold front would shoot in so fast! Probably a coincidence rather than the gods being angry at me, let's hope.

Just touched frost at my place, grass everywhere was white at dawn, but all blossoms seem fine. Recently germinated plants are hit and miss, a bean shoot here fine, there frozen. Something how much colder it is at ground level than just a foot or two higher.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 12:41PM
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Michael AKA Leekle2ManE - Zone 9a - Lady Lake, F

The only thing that's bothering me about this... 'Return to Winter' is that the temps aren't looking to get above 50F (at night) for the foreseeable future. And as I understand it, tomato plants don't like to be below 50F. So I'm going to have to keep juggling my tomato plants over the next week. Outside during the day, inside at night. That $40 single-shelf 'greenhouse' they had at Big Lots is looking really good right now.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 1:37PM
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I'd pay $40 a DAY just to not carry plants in and out!

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 2:00PM
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whgille(FL 9b)

Thank you Nancy, I will be watching for frost but I think that we are not going to get it.:)

Thank you Maxine, I am glad the cabbage and the collards are doing well for you, those are my favorite. Time to pick some collards...

Pat, I hope that you didn't bring the cold with you.:) It is nice and sunny today around my house.


    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 3:22PM
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Close again this morning, though a few degrees warmer. Blossoms look ok for the most part, but I noticed this morning some new fig leaves got burnt.

Silvia, we didn't bring the cold right with us, at least, because it was warm here when we got here and meanwhile plumbing froze at the house up north. Then it snowed nine inches and I had forgotten to put a prop under my glasshouse roof, so I may get home to find that collapsed. Anyway 3 nights under 10 degrees probably killed my nice two-year-old chard plants. Best case scenario the roof held and the snow insulated enough that the plants survived.

Your cauliflower looks spectacular! I'm starting to think someday we should move a zone further south into florida.....

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 11:46AM
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Michael AKA Leekle2ManE - Zone 9a - Lady Lake, F

And here we go. One last night of this weird almost-winter-like weather and then we can get back into the spring of things and I can move my tomatoes back outside. In order to keep myself from digging plant holes and such today, I spent my time in my garden shed with Dremel tool in hand polishing and sharpening various garden tools and blades.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 9:01PM
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Yeah, hopefully this will be about it.

The pigeon pea and limas look like they came through ok. So cool.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 11:43AM
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Michael AKA Leekle2ManE - Zone 9a - Lady Lake, F

I was only expecting temperatures around 44-45 (as per Weather.com and Weather Underground's forecasts) and so I didn't bring my tomato plants inside. Woke up to the thermometer reading 38. I hope I didn't lose all 11 tomato plants.

Not to mention all the salvia and milkweed I had lined up on the lip of my lanai instead of tucked back against the house. Mother Nature may have just showed me just how unpredictable she really is.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 6:50AM
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