Thursday, June 7, 2018

Garden Update

Maxibel green beans -- this many from half a row.
We'll be planting them again.
The VegHeadz garden looks better and is producing better than it has in it's approximately seven years of operation.  Come join us on a Wednesday morning and learn how we have accomplished this and what's in store for the future. 

Our squash garden is taking off.  Many
butternuts, some Seminole Pumpkins and at least
 three huge Candy Roasters

Garden sentinels -- two hawks looking for prey.  You might catch
them if you arrive at the garden early like Cathi did

And some beautiful white flowers from our garden.  In addition to adding joy to the garden experience, they attract pollinators and predator insects, a part of our goal to control pests naturally. 


Queen Anne's Lace


Permaculture Design Course

Beginning June 29, a 72 hour Permaculture Design course will be offered at the Leon County UF/IFAS Extension.  For details, click the link below.  Many of the techniques used in the VegHeadz vegetable demonstration garden are derived from permaculture sources.  What is permaculture?  Click on the link to a recent article published in the Tallahassee Democrat. 

What is Permaculture?: 

Permaculture Design Course:

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Ultimate compost bin

The new VegHeadz compost bins drew a lot of attention at the recent open house at the Leon County UF/IFAS extension. Designed by Mike Dugger with input from VegHeadz volunteers, and constructed by Mike, Glenn Berman and Buddy Holzhauser, the new bins provide space for hands on compost workshops resulting in great compost for our garden, and space for storing purchased or scavenged garden amendments. By popular request Mike has designed a smaller version for home use with two bins 3 x 3 x 4. Drawing and material list below.  Thanks to all who contributed to this project which is part of the ongoing upgrade of the Bed 5 and vegetable garden areas. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Superior Lettuce Variety

Master Gardener Glenn Berman, one of the VegHeadz volunteers, is a leader in trying unusual varieties in our garden.  This year he grew Brown Dutch Lettuce (Lactuca sativa) which has proven to be an outstanding variety. 
It is a non-heading variety, with large, tender, floppy leaves similar to butter lettuce.  An heirloom from Thomas Jefferson's Monticello, it has resisted bolting, and at this late day in the spring is still mild and tender.  It has survived heat and cold equally well.    Glenn started the seeds indoors on January 22 and transplanted them to the garden a little over three weeks later. 
It was the most frequently planted of the approximately seventeen lettuce varieties documented by Thomas Jefferson in the vegetable garden at Monticello.  It was one of the most popular fall and winter lettuces in colonial America and was mentioned as early as 1731 by British botanist Stephen Switzer.
Seeds can be obtained online directly from the Monticello website. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Rest In Peace Ed Schroeder

Tallahassee’s consummate gardener Ed Schroeder--Gardener Ed-- passed away on Friday, April 13 after a long illness.  So many of us have benefited from his willingness to share his gardening skills and knowledge through workshops, writing, and personal conversations. He was also the source of great ideas for unique gardening tools which he created or modified to suit a particular purpose.   We will miss him, but his timeless gardening tips will live on as we continue to feature his month to month gardening agenda on the VegHeadz blog.  Thank you Ed for making us all better gardeners.  Obituary and Funeral Arrangements 

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Open House Coming Up, May 12, 2018

The VegHeadz have been busy getting our garden spruced up for the upcoming Open House at the Leon County UF/IFAS Extension on Paul Russell Road.  New plants are sprouting and perennials are returning.  We like to try new things, so new varieties, new trellises, new garden designs are on our minds.  Come join us any Wednesday morning and help us pull a few weeds. 
Jeanne works on herb bed

Yen and Evelyn add compost

Carole plants potatoes

Mike is enjoying the new
seats he added to a corner of several raised beds--
just right for a tete a tete

Cathi and Peggy get beds read for planting

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Children Love Gardening

Grant arrives at the garden ready to work,
 The VegHeadz had visitors this week as we prepare our garden for spring planting.  Young Grant Smith, his mother, Bethany, and his younger brother joined us on Wednesday morning.  Grant arrived prepared to do some serious gardening with his wheelbarrow, gloves and gardening tools.  He was eager to help and learned a lot.  He and Carol planted potatoes and green peas and he helped other gardeners with garden maintenance work.  Visitors are welcome any time, to help or just to observe.  Spring is in the air and our gardeners were out in force to enjoy a beautiful morning.
Carol prepares bed for potatoes

Helping Cathi pull
turnips and radishes

Removing damaged leaves from cabbage
and Brussels sprouts with Mike
Going home with some veggies

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

VegHeadz "Job Fair" presentation and recipes

The VegHeadz participated in the very enjoyable annual Master Gardener meeting this week.  The recently graduated Master Gardener class and the new trainees who will be starting in January were there as well as many "old" Master Gardeners.  There was a "job fair" consisting of tables manned by the folks who carry out the many MG projects.   The VegHeadz provided the "proof of the pudding" and prepared a number of edibles from produce in our garden.  These included salads from cactus and chayote, Mirliton (Chayote) dressing, Roselle jam, Meyer Lemon and Rosemary cookies,  and Seminole Pumpkin muffins.  Click on the links below to access our recipes and enjoy.

Roselle Jam
Seminole Pumpkin Bread
Chayote Salad
Nopales (cactus) Salad
Mirliton (Chayote) Dressing
Meyer Lemon and Rosemary Cookies 

Roselle Jam--the seed pods provide the pectin

Herbs from our garden

Lemon-Rosemary cookies

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Chayote Abundance

VegHead Mike Dugger picks Chayotes
 We had a bumper crop of Chayotes this year.  The VegHeadz plan to have some chayote edibles at the annual MG graduation and Christmas party so be sure to give them a try.  A perennial vegetable that takes very little care and will cover an arbor in no time to provide shade all season. 

Friday, October 13, 2017

Allelopathy--plants that keep your seeds from germinating

We've previously posted  our discovery that sweet potatoes planted in your garden act to deter subsequent crops from germinating or thriving. A recent post by UF/IFAS sheds further light on this.   In fact, I learned from the UF post that a recent cover crop in the VegHeadz garden--Sunn Hemp (Crotalaria judncea)--is one of those plants. We used Sunn Hemp as a cover crop in one of our plots last spring.  It will be interesting to see how this season's crops fare in that area.