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.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Fall is in the Air and Things are Happening in the VegHeadz Garden

Mornings were a little cooler this week and gardeners turned out in force to begin applying compost and other amendments recommended in our most recent soil test.  We'll be planting seedlings and seeds over the next several weeks.  Also underway is a make-over of the 4-H area of the garden and big plans are being finalized for the re-design of Bed 5 and the VegHeadz area in that garden. 

We've been concentrating on organic amendments this season, as our soil tests showed we were deficient in some elements.  As a result of our research and calculations, we've added several resources about fertilizing your garden to our list on the left side of this blog.  We hope they will assist you with your garden. 

We also welcome three new VegHeadz gardeners who have showed up with energy and dedication.  They are such a welcome addition to our faithful crew. 




Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Peppers, Peppers, Peppers

We've had a plethora of peppers this year in the VegHeadz garden.  They are so beautiful.  They range from mild to hot, hot.  Just thought we'd share some of the beauty with you. 

Permaculture Events Coming Up - All are Welcome

Permaculture structure at LuLuLand
There are a number of events coming up for those who want to learn more about permaculture.  They all look very interesting and include hands-on activities as well as opportunities to connect with others.  All are welcome.
October 1st - Garden Tower Workshop at Bless The Waters - 1311 Tom Still Rd. Tallahassee 32305
This is a great excuse to come visit the developing Bless The Waters Urban Permaculture Site as well as to participate in erecting two Garden Towers.  These towers are a terrific design for growing over 50 plants in a small space and using vermiculture to feed them.  Bring a seedling to install once the tower is up!  

We'll begin by 11 AM and likely run until 3 PM, weather dependent. Bring seedlings, snacks to share, and an open mind !

October 8 - Brains Brawn & Beauty - Women in Permaculture Workshop at LuLuLand - 4560 Charires Cross Rd Tallahassee 32317. 
This is a day long workshop focused on women's particular attributes and perspectives on healing ourselves & our planet through permaculture design.  Areas of discussion and demonstration will include:
        -  Breaking the Grass Ceiling
        -  Remembering women's contributions through history
        -  Communing with Nature
        -  Loving Self, Loving our Planet
        -  Beauty and Function in Permaculture Design
        -  Empowering women to design & build structures we need
        -  Using tools well - with special guest Bill Oterson (and perhaps another guest) 
        -  Working with your body's needs in mind
        -  Hands on building project (weather dependent)
        -  Building our social network
        -  Moving forward
Women of all ages welcome and needed.
We'll gather at 9 AM, begin the workshop at 10 AM and go into the evening.  Sun sets at 7 or so, and a fire can happen then if there is a desire stay longer to enjoy this for a while (weather dependent). .Bring chairs or blankets, food to share in potluck, Work gloves and clothing.  Donation of $20 suggested or trade in work time.

North Florida Bio-Regional Permaculture Gathering  November 3, 4 & 5 at LuLuLand
All ages welcome!  We'll work wiuth parents to set up a special play and learn space for children.
Just interested in Permaculture and want to know more?  Come with an eager and open mind to learn and participate!

Think you are well versed in permaculture and still want to know more?  Come share your experience with others, learn more, and build our community!

This will be a camping out event at beautiful LuLuLand.  Of course, you don't have to camp here, but you would miss out on some of the adventure and fun!  Water and tea will be available, but food is bring your own & share as a potluck as you choose.  Having someone bring prepared food is a possibility if there are enough people who want that and are willing to pay in'll have to let us know if this is your preference.

There will be an entry fee, but teams will be needed to make this event happen and work time can be scholarshipped in lieu of entry fee.  Sign up ahead of time to be assigned to a team as more information details are released.  Team members will be encouraged to come on Thursday November 2nd to set up your personal camp and to get instructions and team building play time ahead of the event opening on the 3rd.

This is a fun and fullfilling permaculture opportunity for anyone seeking information about permaculture, how-to coverage of a multitude of subjects, hands on experience, interactive dialogue, inspiration, connection, relaxation, music  & FUN! 


Thursday, August 24, 2017

Soil Solarization

Solarizing pathways in the VegHeadz  garden
Are you tired of pulling weeds, are insects demolishing your crops, do you suspect you are infested with nematodes?  One solution which lasts through a growing season is solarization. 

The VegHeadz garden has several patches of recurring nut sedge.  We've pulled, dug, covered with cardboard and mulch, all to no avail.  The nut sedge always prevails.  This is a good time of the year for solarization, so we're trying it on several patches in our walkways where the nut sedge is thickest and most persistent.  We'll keep you updated. 

Solarization consists of wetting the soil, covering the area in question with transparent plastic (ours is opaque even though the container said "clear"), sealing the edges, and leaving it to bake in the sun for six weeks.  If there are consistent days of sun for this period, much of the living matter under the plastic will be killed, including weeds, bugs, and nematodes.  For more information, access an excellent article at UF/IFAS on Soil Solarization.
Master Gardener Evelyn Gonzalez covers the edges of the plastic with
mulch to seal in the heat

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Ancient Squash

Candy Roaster Squash
A friend gave me some seeds for Candy Roaster Squash.  I'd never heard of it.  I had some extra space at the neighborhood community garden, so I decided to plant them.  It's a good thing there was space, because the vines took over the garden.

As far as I can tell,  there was only one squash on the vine, but I'm not sure as the vines are so dense. 

This squash was almost five pounds and last night we roasted it for dinner.  We brushed it with olive oil and roasted for about 45 minutes.  About 15 minutes before it was done, we brushed it with butter melted with a little brown sugar.  It was delicious! 
With fresh creamed corn, white acre peas, sliced tomatoes and fried chicken, it was a great southern meal.

The Candy Roaster Squash is an heirloom grown for centuries by the Cherokee Indians.  I've saved some seeds, and plan to grow it again.

Even more interesting, Master Gardener Peggy McDonald recently posted an article on the VegHeadz Facebook page about another heirloom squash grown by Native Americans, the Gete-okosomin (translated "big old squash").  Gardeners in the Miami nation of Indiana have reportedly grown the squash for thousands of years.

The Gete-okosomin grows to 18 lbs. (some stories say up to 30 lbs.) and has smooth sweet flesh much like the Candy Roaster.  Both types can be used for pies, puddings, roasted, steamed, mashed, you name it.  The taste is similar to sweets potatoes or a sweet pumpkin.

The similarity between the two varieties is striking. 

Seeds for both types of squash are available at Bakers Seeds

Gete-okosomin Squash

Friday, July 21, 2017

July in the VegHeadz Garden

Perennial Edibles 1 -- Lemongrass, turmeric, culinary ginger,
roselle, sochan, Tahitian taro, Poke weed, arrowroot,
sugar cane

Perennial Edibles 2 -- Okinawa Spinach, Longevity Spinach,
Goji Berry, Naranjilla, Slippery Cabbage, Yacon,
Nopale, Cardamum,
As is typical for this time of year, some of our garden has played out.  The tomatoes are gone, as well as the squash and corn.  But the peppers, beans, herbs, and eggplants are hanging in there with almost daily rains.  The perennial edibles are also thriving.  We have had much fewer bug problems this year than in previous years.

Cover crops are being planted in spent areas.  This year we are using Sun Hemp, inoculated Pink Eye Peas, and Buckwheat to add organic matter and minerals to our soil.  Samples for soil tests in the various areas will be gathered next week.   

We're looking forward to planning an interesting and fun garden for the fall season.

Come visit us in the garden.  We are there almost every Wednesday morning. 

Sun Hemp cover crop in Bed A

Anise Hyssop was buzzing with
bees and wasps

Horticultural Assistant
Kelly Thomas trims an over-rambunctious
chayote vine that was shading the

Loofah squash growing on
the arbor

The loofah has such interesting