Saturday, June 11, 2011

No, this isn't PBS

In my personal Vegetables 101 class today I started with cover crops aka green manure since that is the first / next thing I have to do . I learned from the online UF / IFAS that summer in Florida is not the time to grow vegetables, but it is the time to grow a cover crop that will organically prepare the bed for fall vegetable planting . And then lots of googling led to YouTube videos . Some were really helpful .

I'm also excited that this green manure will be beneficial to 'Souv de la Malmaison' since no vegetable will take her place .

A bit of a disclaimer right up front . Most gardeners are not as inadequately prepared to grow vegetables as I am, so I suspect this post may be incredibly boring for some . However, I found that watching these videos really informed my brain and comforted my nerves by providing visual information almost like being there gaining hands-on experience . For one thing I learned what the "no-till" method is . Yay! No digging-in . Also, a bit of good news - one purpose of cover crops is to give rest - to the soil and to the gardener . I like that!

So if your game, grab a bag of popcorn and enjoy .

On with the show!

Improve soil fertility in your food garden with a green manure crop

Sunn Hemp for Soil Health and Nematode Management

Sunn Hemp growing in central Alabama

Harvesting Hairy Vetch in Ohio

Cover crops and compost crops IN your garden

And now...   views from the garden .
Salvia farinacea
'Le Vesuve' - Maybe he's shivering in his roots . Mama watched a video on vegetable gardening in a circular bed, but I forgot it instantly .
'Clotilde Soupert'
'Le Vesuve' vs. the vegetables

My golden NOID - I love it!
I forget .

'Le Vesuve'


  1. Piękne róże ,ale podobają mi się Twoje liliowce .Ja też mam dużo liliowców ale jeszcze w pąkach ....pozdrawiam

  2. Thank you, Bogusia. I’m sure your lilies will be beautiful, too, when they bloom.

  3. Oh, your roses are so pretty! Are you sure you need those vegetables? Couldn't you just drink rose tea? ;)

  4. HolleyGarden, maybe petal salad but not just rose tea. I took out six roses this evening. Don’t worry. They were the easy choices - very under-performing ones. I have some harder choices to make in the coming days.

  5. Not even tomatoes in FL in summer? Ah well, roses are better anyway. :) Speaking of edibles with roses, my 'Le Vesuve' is beginning to use the Avocado tree as a trellis. I'll have to do something about that eventually or no more guacamole.

  6. Gotta have guacamole!! I’m told that if I want to do tomatoes now, I’d have to find big plants that are blooming. Not likely. Tell Le Vesuve to play nice.

  7. Sherry, I just watched the videos with my morning coffee. Fun, fun, fun! Now I want to try it. :)
    I have a perfect spot to plant a cover crop late this summer in anticipation of next spring. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Sherry,
    I will never forget how very fearful and intimidating it was when I first into veggie gardening in the spring 2008. It was as if I had not one gardening bone in my body. Then I just went for it and learned by trial and error just like I did in the rest of the garden. I've never planted a cover crop as it seems the spring garden overlaps too closely with the fall garden. Besides the summertime is when all the sun-loving flowers (zinnias, cosmos, coccinea) reseed and I can't bear to pull them out for a cover crop. One practice I DO adhere to though is when a seasonal crop is finished I cover the bed or row with a fresh layer of compost and new dirt mixed with blood meal and bone then when its time to plant again the bed is ready. Good luck. I know you will get the hang of it and veggies will look really pretty with your roses.

  9. Hi Sherry...It seems as though your roses are not minding the drought. Are you getting rain? My roses seem to be holding back on blooms, and I thought perhaps it was because of the lack of rain.

  10. No, Susan, we haven’t had rain either. I have a micro-irrigation system (homemade) in all my beds, so they don’t know there’s a drought. Lack of water and heat will stress a rose, and they will go into dormancy in self-defense. If they’re really stressed, they’ll start dropping leaves. Roses are a very thirsty plant. They need water one way or the other – either from rain or from the hose.Their roots really can’t be allowed to dry out. If they’re mature roses and are mulched very well, you can probably get away with – well, I don’t know. I can’t say because I’ve never been there. If they’re very young roses – a year or less, then they need water quite often. When I was watering by hand and my roses were that age, I was watering every other day in the evening after I got home from work, thinking that was enough. In July and August the roses were getting worse and worse. Forget blooming! They didn’t have any leaves! Along about October I started watering one rose that was really scraggly every evening and while I was at it I watered a couple of others nearby. After less than a week they all had new growth everywhere. That’s when I determined to put in the micro-sprinklers which I did in January, 2010. I figured out that watering in the evening was part of the problem because the water had all night to drain away through the sandy soil, leaving them to get drier and drier and hotter and hotter during the day. Then they had to go through another hot day without water. I think watering that way was only barely keeping them alive, and the water they got never even enabled them to recuperate from the stress. It didn’t matter if I sprayed water on each plant for 15 seconds (which is a lot of water) every two days because it didn’t keep leaves on them. They’re much happier now with 30 minutes of misting at 7AM every day. And they do bloom every 6 to 8 weeks depending on their individual cycle. But when I have a zone go down (darned squirrels!), I can tell from the look of the roses.

    This may or may not relate to your roses, Susan. You just pressed my button and boom! I start blathering. By the way, roses on Fortuniana need even more water because Fort is a shallow root system.

  11. Sandra, I’m so glad you enjoyed them and your coffee. Let me know what you decide to plant.

    Oh, good, I’m glad I‘m not the only one who was intimidated by veggies. It sounds like you have a routine that’s working in your garden. Hopefully, one day I will, too. Thanks for your nice, long comment.

  12. Hey Sherry...A micro=irrigation system is a great idea for roses. It keeps the water off the leaves, too. Is it hard to set one up? Is it the kind where you punch a hole into a long tube...add a smaller hose with a mist sprinkler at the end directed toward one plant?

    If so, how do you make sure it hits the other surrounding plants, too? And, do you have to hook it up to a water spicket or is it part of your irrigation system? Sorry so many questions but we need some sort of irrigation system at the school butterfly garden so I'm trying to find something affordable that saves water as well. Thanks.

  13. Hey, Susan, it doesn't keep water off the leaves, but it happens early enough that the water evaporates quickly with no harm. It is the kind you mention. I use the sprayers in the garden (drippers in pots). They spray a 6' radius and come in 90-degree, 180-degree and other parts of a circle, and there's even a 14' circle sprayer. I get mine at Lowe's. They put out such a fine spray sometimes you have to stand in the spray to know it's going, and the spray looks like a heavy mist. I like it because it wets the whole bed which keeps all the microbes and earthworms happy! They do have adapters that fit on regular sprinkler system heads. Don't know exactly what's involved since I never had an in-the-ground system. The micro manufacturer says they use one-thirteenth of the water that a regular system puts out.

  14. Sherry, as a fellow Le Vesuvian, I hope you'll understand that I quailed at your (momentary) thought of displacing her for a veggie patch. Give me Le Vesuve or give me death......Oops, went a little overboard there but you understand. I adore salvia farinacea, by the way.