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winter in Florida

Posted by whgille Oakland FL Zone 9B (My Page) on
Wed, Jan 15, 14 at 18:24

We are lucky to enjoy the weather in Florida, even with the occasional freezes.:)
My garden at this time is producing very tasty and nutritious crops.
Piracicaba broccoli is like broccoli on steroids producing an abundant supply of big leaves and florets something like broccoli raab but in my opinion better

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To make this dish I just chopped those big leaves and lightly cooked them, combine them with red quinoa, nuts, golden raisins, parsley, green onions and a light dressing of lemon, balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

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I am also enjoying kale in every dish that I can possible use them, the salad this lunch used dinosaur kale, radicchio, persimmon, feta cheese, a dressing with shallots, garlic, white wine vinegar, Mexican oregano and olive oil.

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This lettuce Skyphos has been holding well to the changes of weather, hot and cold, it is a butterhead type.

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Enjoying the blooms in the garden, Queens Wreath

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I planted sweet olive at the front of the house, when you walk in it smells nice.:)

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And I capture yesterday's sunset at my house for all of you to see.

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How are your winter gardens doing? we all like to know....

Silvia


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: winter in Florida

Your pictures are a site for heart-sick folks like me, who's plants in NW Florida look like picture #2 - not very pretty! I'm not saying anything about your salad - it's just that the color matches what my plants look like. LOL

They will look even worse tomorrow - more freezing temps here near the ocean, then we get hit again Friday with ANOTHER freeze - I'm 6 blocks from the water and it has not been this cold since 1996.


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  • Posted by whgille Oakland FL Zone 9B (My Page) on
    Thu, Jan 16, 14 at 7:30

Hi Kay

I am sorry about the cold front that we are having, it got very windy at my house last night and today is still cold. I have a lake near by and the trail at my backyard so I have a nice microclimate, a lot of blooms now in my backyard thanks to a lot of my garden friends.
It will warm up soon for us, before we know it we will be saying it is too hot for the garden.:)
I actually been enjoying looking at all the birds around the plants and having loquats ripe so early in the season. The avocado is full of blooms!
At least the sun is coming up today...

Silvia


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  • Posted by dlsm Z9b Titusville Fl (My Page) on
    Thu, Jan 16, 14 at 11:36

Silvia, Your garden pictures are beautiful as usual. The food photo's always make me hungry.

Due to our mild winter I tried something different this winter. I grew some Fortex pole beans. We had a nice meal of them yesterday.

Fortex Pole Beans

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Luther


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Wonderful and yummy pictures Silvia...really enjoyed them :o)

Thanks for sharing!!


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  • Posted by whgille Oakland FL Zone 9B (My Page) on
    Thu, Jan 16, 14 at 12:18

Thank you Luther! Your Fortex bean harvest looks great! it is so good that you are having fresh beans even now , I agree with you we had a mild winter, I just clean the tomatoes vines for the new coming season and I am having the last of the tomatoes, I slow roasted them with eggplant and parmigiano reggiano, so good! My carrot harvest has been great, use them daily in any dish, made carrot muffins this morning, ate some and freeze the rest.

The garden is sunny now, tonight it will be a different story.:)

 photo January2014_038_zps98e2dd61.jpg

Silvia


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  • Posted by whgille Oakland FL Zone 9B (My Page) on
    Thu, Jan 16, 14 at 12:24

Thank you Nancy, glad to know that you liked the pictures. Do you see the mango at the end of the picture close to the fence? well I have two more indoors for now till the bad weather passes.

 photo January2014_040_zps8b37d78c.jpg

Silvia


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  • Posted by dlsm Z9b Titusville Fl (My Page) on
    Thu, Jan 16, 14 at 13:46

They are predicting frost tonight in some areas. So went out and covered a few things. While out I cut the broccoli florets.

Broccoli Florets

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Luther


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Those mango trees are looking really good Silvia!! And blooms too, congrats!! December was way above normal and now we're paying for it...Weather has been pretty cold lately, I have another freeze warning for tomorrow :o(...keeping fingers crossed!


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  • Posted by whgille Oakland FL Zone 9B (My Page) on
    Thu, Jan 16, 14 at 16:46

Luther, those broccoli florets look yummy! mine were already trimmed yesterday by my canine children, they love the stems,lol. And I also finished covering the fruit trees just in case that we get a freeze, better safe than sorry.

Nancy, we are sure paying now with the cold, I hope that don't last, all my tropicals except the two mangoes are planted in the ground and I hope they make it, keeping the fingers crossed!

Silvia


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Luther - Very nice broccoli harvest. I have been harvesting some broccoli but didn't take any pics. Fortex pole beans is a variety that I like to grow too but that isn't possible for me at this time of year.

Silvia - If I remember right, you had mentioned the piracaba broccoli before. I wrote the name down to try to find where to buy the seeds and then I forgot about it. Well, I wrote the name down again. If you remember where you got the seeds that would save me some time, if not, then I'll google it. It sounds like a variety that I need to try. BTW, I grew the Bordeaux spinach that you like and I was very pleased with the harvest. Best of all of the spinaches for me.

Your photos are so interesting. The sunset was a bonus! I'm going to copy your piracaba salad only I'll use the closest thing that I have in the garden for it's replacement. Did you cook the quinoa in a broth or water? I often cook quinoa in Swanson vegetable broth but I'm not sure if it is necessary when used in a salad.

Christine


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  • Posted by whgille Oakland FL Zone 9B (My Page) on
    Fri, Jan 17, 14 at 9:47

Hi Christine

I got the piracicaba broccoli from Fedco but I am sure other places have it too. You will like it, it is my first time growing it and is suppose to be heat tolerant, I will probably plant some more later on...

The leaves are huge and tasty, here they are with Merlin

 photo December2013_040_zpse09ebfb7.jpg

This morning fritatta, chopped cooked piracicaba, green onions, rosemary, parsley, peppers, eggs and I topped it with cheese before it went in the broiler.

 photo January2014_043_zps6cf2b695.jpg

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About the quinoa, the most important thing is to rinse very well before cooking, other than that you can cook in broth or water and no more than 15 minutes for my taste. I cook mine in water not to have any flavorings but the dressing that goes in the salad.

Silvia


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Silvia - Sounds like you are getting a lot of mileage out of your piracicaba. lol That fritatta looks like something that I would like to make for a light evening meal too. Yummy.

Red is not my favorite color of quinoa but in that salad it may work better than in the recipe that I used it in. I have both colors. I'll make your salad recipe with the red.

Glad that it didn't get as cold last night as expected. We protected the plants anyway.

Christine


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  • Posted by whgille Oakland FL Zone 9B (My Page) on
    Sat, Jan 18, 14 at 9:06

We didn't get any frost this couple of days but it is very cold and windy.

The plants in the patio this morning, they are all fine

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The ones in the yard look fine too

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Time to start the tomatoes for my area, the success depends a lot on the care, you will do better when you grow your own seedlings and plant them in good soil...

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Silvia


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  • Posted by dlsm Z9b Titusville Fl (My Page) on
    Sat, Jan 18, 14 at 9:59

Silvia, you are a very organized individual. You have already made plans for your spring garden. We can all learn from you. Enjoy your pictures, they are organized and beautiful as usual.

I have tomato plants up an inch high. Also have other starter seed planted. I'm eating the last of my tomatoes. The Caribbean white flies wiped out my winter tomatoes with that disease they bring with them. The frost missed my garden also.

My dog Phoenix, loves fresh vegetables also. We hand feed him green beans, carrots, broccoli, oranges, apples and just about anything.

Christine, I have extra bean seed of several varieties, if you would like to give them a try, email me.

Stay warm,
Luther
Luther


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The peas look super good, Silvia! Also, everything else - as per usual.

We got to florida a few days ago to find that my ongoing perennial legume experiments have been finally completely over-run by grass and weeds. Even very tough landrace crops eventually lose to root competition. I will have to run through with the tractor and tear everything out, or more likely give up on it. I did learn that Worcester Red pole lima and the day-nuetral pigeon pea can do very well here in a low-maintenance setting (just not zero maintenance!).

For those interested, some southern-cultivar perennial onions that I set out last february over-summered well and multiplied. This is encouraging and indicates that very low-maintenance beds of perennial scallions would be easy.

Another point of considerable interest: in my folks garden, potatoes (irish) were planted last february and harvested at the usual time; now there is a volunteer sprout meaning that a tuber survived the summer in good enough condition to be viable. I did not believe this was possible in central florida. Anybody else ever have this happen?


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  • Posted by whgille Oakland FL Zone 9B (My Page) on
    Sat, Jan 18, 14 at 18:07

Thank you Luther, you are so nice! And yes the life of us gardeners is planning for the future crops while enjoying the ones that we are harvesting. When the crops are coming in, it is also time to think about the best use for them. In times like we are living today having home grown produce is the best that we can do for our health.
Sorry to hear about your tomatoes and the fly, hopefully the cold cleaned them out of your garden.
I am looking forward to spring...

Hi Pat, thank you! it is so great to hear your report, always learn something from you.
I don't know about any no maintenance crops since my garden is small, I keep everything moving, taking some out and putting something else in.
A perennial bed of scallions sounds very good to me, I am going to try that some time.
I love a good potato but having seed potato varieties that I like is very expensive to buy from the specialty seed places. This time I decided not to buy them and when I went to the local feed store they had them for very cheap, so I grab a few pounds to plant them but before that I tried them to see if I like them, and they were not any special so I decided not to plant them after all.

Carrot bread is good for my coffee and the cold weather.:)

 photo January2014_055_zps78522042.jpg

Silvia


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pnbrown - About the Irish potatoes, I have had some resprouts in the past but I pulled them because I needed that spot for other crops. If you got an extra extended season, you are very fortunate since the summer rains are rough on those spuds.

Luthur - Thank you for your offer for the seeds. I will send you an email. Since you are in a warmer area, I'm not surprised that you have your tomatoes up and running.

Silvia - Carrot bread, how interesting. I've only make carrot cake before. Is carrot bread made just like zucchini bread?

I started my pepper seedlings on Jan 5th, so they are up and under the lights. I started my tomato seeds on Friday, 2 days ago.


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I've got my tomato seeds on heat mats with a thermostat to control the temperature. I planted 18 varieties, ranging from small to large.

Christine


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I'm just so amazed that a solanum tuber can survive the summer heat and humidity. Apparently only one did, so I guess the success rate is not high.


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  • Posted by whgille Oakland FL Zone 9B (My Page) on
    Mon, Jan 20, 14 at 14:29

Christine, your set up is very nice! and the seedlings look good too, you are getting ready for spring that is for sure.
The carrot bread is something like the zucchini but I think is better, if you have a good recipe for zucchini bread you can use that, for the carrot bread that I made I used The Joy of Cooking recipe. I will be trying more recipes this week using the bountiful carrots, I selected a Jewish and Italian recipes to sample.

If you or anybody is interested in fruit growing, I just saw a documentary on Netflix, the Fruit Hunters, it was interesting. Some of the places they show was the Fairchild in South Florida...

And I saw Emeryl on tv, in a program about Florida. The last episode he showed Lake Meadows Naturals, it is a farm in Occoe where they raised their own meat, eggs, honey,and local produce from nearby farms.
Got a lot of things to sample, it was a good experience and I got butter and mandarins for free. I just had the mandarin and it was the best that I ever tasted! so sweet and packed with flavor!. I will be trying the cheese, yogurt and butter. I didn't buy any of the veggies, mine look better and I have a lot anyway.:)

Here are some pictures.

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Weather is beautiful today!

Silvia


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  • Posted by dlsm Z9b Titusville Fl (My Page) on
    Fri, Jan 24, 14 at 10:10

Silvia, those are some beautiful pictures. I wish I had some of your energy. Maybe it is all that good food you are eating in those food photo's.

Christine, you are really organized in your spring seed preps. You put me to shame when I looked at your set up.

We had a freeze on the 19th. It was suppose to get down to 37 and we had 31. I had some damage as I wasn't proper prepared. We also had a frost yesterday morning but I had things covered with heat lamps on.

Luther


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Silvia - Looks like a nice place to visit. I wonder what they are feeding their bees. Their feeders have a colored liquid in the canning jars. We use just plain sugar water to feed our bees.

Luther - Luckily I have a spare bedroom to use as my propagation room. My set up is simple but it works very well for me. Not only do I have pepper, tomato, and eggplant seedlings growing there, I have over a dozen rooted fig cuttings under lights also. Some are of the same variety. I also have over a dozen additional cuttings laying in sphagnam moss hoping to root. If I am successful rooting at least one cutting of each of the varieties that I have I will be adding 13 new varieties to my yard this spring.

*edit: I forgot to mention that we have been having a series of light freezes. Nothing serious but enough to turn sensitive plants brown. Wed morning we had an incredible frost. The ground on the nearby cow pastures was white. If your forecast was for 37* and it was 31*, well that was off by quite a bit.

Christine

This post was edited by happy_fl_gardener on Fri, Jan 24, 14 at 17:07


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  • Posted by whgille Oakland FL Zone 9B (My Page) on
    Fri, Jan 24, 14 at 17:22

Thank you Luther, I guess I am lucky because what I eat is mostly good food. When I am planning a vacation or an outing near by one of the important things to consider is the quality of the food that I am going to eat. If the food is not good, then I am not going.:)
We are experiencing some cold nights too but I have been lucky so far, I don't think I saw a freeze yet, but I might be wrong.

Christine, I didn't ask about the colored liquid on the bees I thought it was different. I didn't get the honey either because I still have jars of the local groves honey that my friend gave me.
It is a good place to the get heritage eggs chickens, I think they said they produced 1,500 a day. And I don't have to take care of them,lol. I was impressed with the free butter that they gave me, yogurt was also the best! I will go back again.

I am harvesting beets, I made a roasted beet salad with carrots, the greens I used it in a gratin, delicious!

 photo January2014_079_zps856f9e0c.jpg

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Carrots and apple muffins

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Silvia


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No such beauty here in Panama City this morning - 27 degrees, sleet falling and everything covered in ice!

The plants in the yard and greenhouse are all frozen - what a waste of time and money! Some of the yard plants will come back from the roots, but those in the greenhouse are piles of black slime.


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Here are pictures, taken this morning - we're just trying to stay warm!


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Another from this morning:


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All our city is covered in ice - nearly everything is closed:


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  • Posted by whgille Oakland FL Zone 9B (My Page) on
    Wed, Jan 29, 14 at 10:16

Hi Kay - I am so sorry for all the people going through such terrible weather, especially our fellow gardeners in North Florida like you. It must be so hard to loose your plants that you took so long to invest money and time wise.

But there is always some good news like your lovely pets. What a cute picture! All the pet family sharing the warmth of the indoors and each other.

If you have to drive or walk outdoors, be very careful with the ice, it is so easy to slip when you are not used to such weather and please report to us, this will all pass and you will be gardening again.

Silvia


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Mighty cute animal family Kay!

Silvia and Luther, always an inspiration!


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  • Posted by L_in_FL 8B/9A Border, NW FL (My Page) on
    Wed, Jan 29, 14 at 17:09

So sorry to hear about your plants, Kay. I know you had a lot invested in them - both money and time.

I would rather have had real snow than the freezing rain, sleet and ice pellets - my kids have never seen snow and really hoped to.

Still, the ice can be beautiful. The picture doesn't do it justice, but the ice crystals on my kale this morning were quite pretty (see pic). The ice pellets are pretty when you look at them closely - like tiny crystal beads coating the ground.

But I am staying off the road until all that beauty melts, heh.


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  • Posted by whgille Oakland FL Zone 9B (My Page) on
    Wed, Jan 29, 14 at 18:54

Hi L, I agree with you about the snow being pretty, especially around Christmas and looking from a nice and warm window.:) It always amaze me to see children and dogs enjoying the snow, I am sure your kids would of like it too.
Your kale will probably get sweeter with all that ice. We also had a very cold and rainy day, the weekend looks better.
Keep warm!

Silvia


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With this recent cold, wet, damp weather we actually lit our fireplace. We haven't done that in years, but I'm glad that we did to take the chill off the house.

This recent cold snap didn't get unnoticed by my broccoli plants. The are loving it. Picked a nice harvest for supper last evening.


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Silvia - You mentioned that you got some great yogurt from the Lake Meadows Naturals farm. I bet is was really good straight from the farm. I have been making homemade yogurt too. I make it more often now that I have discovered a tastier way to make it, better than the typical yogurt recipe. I eat it with fresh fruit or mix in some of my homemade cranberry sauce.

Christine


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  • Posted by dlsm Z9b Titusville Fl (My Page) on
    Sat, Feb 1, 14 at 21:40

Christine you have some beautiful Broccoli. I have never grew any yogurt so I can't commit on that.

I still have some Jade 2 green beans growing that I planted the 1st of the year. We haven't had the cold weather you folks have had in north Florida.

Jade 2 Green Beans

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We have the air conditioner on at present and they are saying the low eighties this next week. Never know when we will have to turn the heat on. It is a day to day thing.

Luther


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  • Posted by whgille Oakland FL Zone 9B (My Page) on
    Sun, Feb 2, 14 at 7:44

Good Sunday morning to All!

Christine, those are some beautiful broccoli! I am sure that you made a nice supper with them. I like the greek type yogurt and only sometimes and when I have it is usually in savory dishes.
Last week the chef from Cress restaurant in Deland and others from Orlando Rustic Spoon and Victoria and Alberts reunited at the farm to talk about local food...
They have their own goats at the farm and I prefer goat cheese over the cow, this week I will go back again.
We went to Jiko yesterday at Disney, it is a good experience for African food, appetizer and sauces were very good! then I had the monkfish and dessert of a fig crusted pastry with goat ice cream, wow!

Luther, those beans look fantastic! you are having a good weather that is for sure, the past days were gloomy and rainy around my area, couldn't work in the garden but today I hope is different, it is warm at least.
I have a red banana fruiting at the side of my neighbor's fence, I have to find out how it is doing.:)

Silvia


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Yes, it is a good morning, Silvia. The sun finally came out! With some of the broccoli I steamed it and then added it on top of a wilted spinach salad. The Bordeaux spinach was in need of being thinned out.

I used Stonyfarm Greek yogurt as my culture. My newly discovered secret to making tasty thick yogurt is to put the milk in a crock pot for 5 hours on low. This helps to develop the flavor and dehydrate it a bit so it is a little more condensed. A Russian friend told me about how to do this. In her country they call it "steamed milk". Then they add the yogurt culture, as I do now. Before I started doing this I had to add powered milk to thicken the yogurt. It gives an off flavor which I didn't like. Now I love it.

The Cress Restaurant is located very close to where I work. It has a good reputation. We never eat lunch there during work days. I'll have to look into why. The service may be too slow for us that need quick service at lunch.

Tell me more about the fig crusted pastry. Thanks to Bamboo Rabitt I have a lot of fig cuttings that I am rooting now. I expect to greatly expand my fig growing area. I'm going to be looking for all kinds of way to use them up, come harvest time.

Can you tell me where the farm is located? It sounds like a place that Miranda and I would love to visit. Too bad we missed that farm talk you went to.

Luther, your beans look so healthy and strong for this time of year. Way to go!

Christine


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Bordeaux spinach:


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Oh, these delicious dishes! Oh, I am so hungry! Now I have to go get some lunch. Yum!

Carol in Jacksonville


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  • Posted by whgille Oakland FL Zone 9B (My Page) on
    Sun, Feb 2, 14 at 16:42

Christine, that spinach looks good! I am growing a different spinach this season and I recently planted, I will see how it does.
The Cress restaurant is only open at night and I think with reservation, it is on our list to try some day...
If you google the name of the farm Lake Meadow Naturals Egg Farm, you get a map, the address and the days that they are open. It is a good place to visit.
The morning started with a fog but the sun came out and it got warm.

 photo January2014_087_zps7f9b9781.jpg

Hi Carol! It is so nice of you to say hi, I have been busy in the garden this morning and looking at the plants and see if anything got damaged with the recent cold weather. I hope the weather is nice from now on for all of us in Florida.

Silvia


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Silvia, I know any time I read a thread with your name on it, it will result in a trip to the refrigerator! LOL! My gosh, your cooking is fantastic. It's a good thing I don't live closer... I'd find a reason to be around your way every day around mealtime. :)

Carol


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  • Posted by whgille Oakland FL Zone 9B (My Page) on
    Mon, Feb 3, 14 at 17:37

Carol, you should come around my house sometime, so I can spoil you.:)
Day was mostly nice today and I could walk on the trail, neighbors look happy with the warmer weather.
I always look around the garden and then the pantry to make the daily meals. Today I picked a savoy cabbage, made a slaw with apples, celery, ginger and a dressing of cider vinegar, olive oil, a little bit of honey, salt, pepper, fresh herbs.

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Silvia


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Oh my gosh, that looks GOOD! Delicious! Knock-knock-knock.


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I'm still picking sugar snap peas even though we had a couple of freezes and there are still plenty of flowers so more coming... except for a few lettuces and some collards, that's about all for me. We have some scrawny Kale plants, tried a different variety and they aren't doing well, so I'm pulling them out one by one and feeding them to the chickens.


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  • Posted by whgille Oakland FL Zone 9B (My Page) on
    Tue, Feb 4, 14 at 15:43

Carol, lol

Hi Rita, I agree with you about the peas, they are doing so well in my garden too. Almost all the kale varieties do fine for me, some of them are thicker so I precook them before adding to dishes, some baby ones are good raw for salads. I always have a mixture of tried favorites and at least one new one to see how well it does in my garden.
This morning in the garden picking some veggies for lunch...

This kale makes sprouts when older

 photo February2014_013_zps4aac4c65.jpg

I cut the cauliflower straight like steaks and roasted with a mustard dressing

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Some snap peas

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Soon the purple snap peas

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Made a salad with roasted beets, carrots,mushrooms and I saute the greens with olive oil and garlic, mixed it with wild rice, add seasonings to taste.

 photo February2014_017_zps1edf66e6.jpg

Silvia


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Silvia, that is the healthiest-looking stand of english peas I have seen in FL! That's how they generally look at home, in June. I'm impressed.

What crop was growing in that bed before, and when did you sow the peas?


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  • Posted by whgille Oakland FL Zone 9B (My Page) on
    Wed, Feb 5, 14 at 18:50

Thank you Pat, my garden is very small so is difficult to rotate the crops, instead I kind of rotate the soil. In the same space that I grew pole beans before I grow the peas after but in one gallon pots with new soil, either store bought or mixed by me, whatever I have available at that moment. This is my third pea crop, I succession plant them to last me for a longer season. I don't keep a garden calendar so I don't remember when they were planted.

Today I harvested the second crop of delicious carrots, red outside and pink inside, my family asked me to only plant this kind.:) I still have more carrot harvest coming up in another bed. The carrots were shredded, some to be used in recipes for us and some for our pets, the rest goes in the freezer.

 photo February2014_021_zps9f39844c.jpg

Silvia


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Thanks for the explanation, Silvia.


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Silvia!!! You're such an inspiration!! I love seeing your garden and food pictures!!


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  • Posted by L_in_FL 8B/9A Border, NW FL (My Page) on
    Thu, Feb 6, 14 at 15:11

Silvia, what is the name of those carrots? I would love to try to grow some.

Thanks!


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  • Posted by whgille Oakland FL Zone 9B (My Page) on
    Thu, Feb 6, 14 at 18:47

You are welcome Pat

Thank you Leelee! My garden is small and humble, but I hope that comes through the pictures my love of vegetables and good for us food.

Laura, I have a lot of carrot varieties planted but for sure the favorite is the red samurai Japanese, a lot of vendors carry them. When shredded are so easy to put in all sort of dishes from soups to salads to breads. Your kids would love them. But if your soil is less than perfect another carrot that do well for me is the Chantenay red core, it is a shorter carrot, the picture is above with the beets.

Silvia

Here is a link that might be useful: red samurai carrot


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  • Posted by L_in_FL 8B/9A Border, NW FL (My Page) on
    Fri, Feb 7, 14 at 11:48

Thank you, Silvia. I'll have to get some of those. I have some 12" raised beds that are nice and fluffy. I will have to give those a try.


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Silvia, your food and your garden look awesome as usual.
Have you a date for the spring party yet and can I help in anyway?


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