4/27/07

south florida water restrictions

Before I begin, I know other counties have more severe restrictions than mine. BUT, that doesn't bring back my dead grass. It wouldn't even be so bad if I knew everyone had a few dead patches. Over the past week, my husband and I have seen a dozen violations in our little development. If I'm losing my lawn, they should too. I'm going to start calling that hotline to report them if they don't play by the rules.

800-662-8876.

For the official rules, click here. Here's what the South Florida Water Management District has to say.

If they're going to cheat, they could at least do it in the early am before the sun comes up. That way (1) I won't have to see it and get upset (2) it won't evaporate before soaking in like it does at 1 in the afternoon. Who waters their lawn at 1pm anyway? And to that one neighbor, you know who you are...using the hose daily instead of the sprinkler daily is still against the rules.

I'm on the verge of getting rid of the grass anyway. St. Augustine grass is not a natural ground cover for south Florida. It is a water hog to begin with. It requires lots of fertilizer, which probably runs into the aquifer. We spend over $100 a month to keep it trimmed. I can't run through it with bare feet like northern grass because it makes my feet itch.

Phase 1 Water Restrictions
> Watering is permitted on Mon, Wed & Sat from 4 a.m.-8 a.m. for my house (odd street address)
> Hand watering with one hose and an automatic shut-off nozzle is also allowed from 5 p.m.-7 p.m. on the same days.
> New landscaping, planted for less than thirty days, may be watered Monday through Friday from 2 a.m.-8 a.m.
> Hand watering with one hose and an automatic shut-off nozzle of new landscaping shall be voluntarily reduced.
> Watering in of pesticide/fertilizer by homeowners or nonlicensed individuals is allowed during hours and days of the watering schedule and for 10 minutes after application. Owner or agent
must be on site.
> Watering in of pesticide/fertilizer by a licensed technician shall be voluntarily reduced. The technician must be present during application.
> When cleaning, adjusting or repairing existing irrigation systems, ten minutes of operating the irrigation system per zone/per week is permitted. And, 10 minutes per zone of system operation is permitted on a one-time basis for new irrigation systems.

4/26/07

Strawberry in hanging pot


The pot is not actually hanging, it's on the top of my Dr. Seuss Planter. But the strawberry is hanging. It began to turn red two days ago. I think it will be eaten (by me) tomorrow. I don't use any pesticide on these, so I literally pick and eat. I don't usually wash them...just give 'em a good look over.

4/24/07

The Swimming Lizard

Boy is this guy lucky. When John saved him, he was about to go under.
Swimming lizards look so goofy. Their heads poke above the water and their whole body jerks from side to side. I think the chlorine got to him because he needed a full 10 minutes to recover on the patio before he scurried back into the garden.

4/23/07

What you got there is a Milkweed Bug

That's right, an oncopeltus fasciatus, the large milkweed bug. Thanks to Thingfish23 over at Taming of the Band-Aid for the correct identification!

They belong to the Seed Bug family, Lygaeidae, and are considered to feed mainly on milkweed seeds by inserting a beak into the seed and injecting an enzyme to aid in digestion. The toxins contained in milkweed do not affect them, but ingesting them results in the bugs becoming unpalatable to potential predators. They occur throughout most of North America. The bug often appears in large numbers near buildings in a similar fashion to the related boxelder bug, for which it is often mistaken. It is roughly half an inch in length. (daylilies.org)

I guess thy're not hurting anything, but they also don't seem to be helping anything. I don't know of any milkweed around here. I wonder why they like my yard.

A curious little bugger

I think this is a box elder. I always find them on the oleander. This is the first time I've seen one on the orange tree.

Beware, box elder bugs may have a huge population explosion this fall. Turns out box elder bugs operate on a ten year cycle. Between years seven and ten, the bugs tend to be the most reproductively active.
What year are we in? Year nine.

This makes me think about those really colorful and huge grasshoppers that we get in cycles. They are bright yellow/orange. Anyone know what I'm talking about? When we get them, they're bad. Last I can remember, I was a kid when we had an infestation of these little guys.

Speaking of interesting cycles, what about the century plant? I thought this species of agave only bloomed every 100 years, but in fact, it blooms in about 7-20 years, then it dies!

What other interesting cycles can you think of?

4/22/07

Green Thumb Sunday - First Tomato of the Season

I'm so excited! This is a husky cherry, a determinate variety that I've not tried before. It was very yummy and I can't wait for the others to ripen. I think this plant has this disease; actually, I think all but one of m tomato plants have a disease. The only plant that's doing well is the one that's in the hanging container.

The fruit set on this plant before it showed signs of the disease. I'm curious to see if it will set more fruit. The indeterminate tomato plant right next to this one has a ton of flowers, but no fruit.
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4/19/07

How to Pinch an Avocado Tree

I pinched the very top two leaves of my small avocado tree a few weeks ago. I saw a post somewhere about someone who wished she'd done this to her young avocado to encourage branching out. I didn't quite know why, but I decided to do it too. It's been a few weeks now, and I noticed two new stalks growing.
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4/16/07

Why is it 62 degrees today...it's been in the 90s the past few weeks. my pool was 84 two days ago.

4/15/07

Oleander Root System

We had to take out three oleander trees this weekend to make room for a new deck. The trees were not doing well anyway, so I don't feel bad about giving them the axe. We thought about transplanting them, but the root system spreads a good 10ft out and down. It took us an hour of digging and cutting per tree!
Green Thumb Sunday

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4/14/07

Wildflowers in the Backyard


So, I bought a packet of wildflowers from Home Depot. I don't often grow flowers; I'm more into edible plants. So, I figured I couldn't go wrong with wildflowers. You just broadcast the seeds on soil, tamp, and water. Then in a few months they grow up. I don't therefore know what these flowers are, but aren't they pretty?!

I will go check the seed packet (because I ALWAYS save a empty packet) to see what they are. I'll let you know...
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4/11/07

How to Pinch Coleus

















This picture illustrates how, in 3 weeks, you can turn a young coleus into a bushy bundle of color by pinching new growth. Let's not discuss the bougainvillea right now. I have no idea why it dropped its blooms. I got these coleus at the local home improvement store for $.88 each. Each time I water them, I do two things that will help make them beautiful.

- look for flower buds and pinch them off
- pinch off new little leaves in center of plant

Take a look at this photo of what and where I pinched. I pinched these little "new growths" off whenever I saw them. For example, I watered the planters 5 times a week and probably pinched 5-6 of these new growths each time.

In a future post, I'll show you what I do with a new growth when I find one that's a bit larger that the ones shown here. Hint: I pot them and get a new plant!



4/10/07

Young Habanero Pepper


















A very cute little habanero pepper is getting ready to turn orange. I harvested a ton of peppers a month and a half ago and thought the three plants I have were done. I left them in the ground and hoped for more peppers. I think I'll get another dozen if I'm lucky.

By the way, these peppers are HOT! I can't eat one raw. Although I made an asian marinade for chicken the other day, and put a finely chopped habanero in it. The marinade was not too hot for me. I'd say, if you could handle a kung pow chicken at PF Changs, for example, you could handle one habanero in your chicken.

4/9/07

Egg Muffins from the Garden

I got this recipe from Kaylins Kitchen, a great food blog that is
about how I'm combining a love for delicious food with a commitment to healthy, lower glycemic eating.
I made these Egg Muffins this morning with green beans and herbs from the garden. They are so delicious, and I can;t belive how easy it was to make. I used Egg Beaters instead of real eggs.

Garden Green Bean Salad - Easter Dinner

This is a photo of a salad I made for Easter dinner. It's adapted from a recipe I saw on the Manic Organic. Take a look at my original post about this recipe. I realized you could eat this hot, cold, or lukewarm. It could sit on a buffet for hours and be just as fresh as when you first made it. It's a keeper.

I grew some of the green beans. I have cherry tomatoes in my garden, but they're not ripe yet. The pesto is homemade too. I should have undercooked the green beans. They weren't mushy, but they weren't crisp.

Thanks!

Just wanna give a quick thank you to several people who have left great little comments for me recently. I read all the comments left on my blog. I appreciate it.

4/8/07

Green Thumb Sunday - Gigantic Basil


This basil is awesome. It's called Lettuce Leaf M Lettuce. I see why they call it that. I made pesto this morning for the green bean salad I posted about a few weeks ago. I'll show pictures of the salad later. It's very yummy though...I alrady tasted it.
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4/7/07

How Much Goodness Can You Have In One Picture?

Okay, from left to right.
Parsley, strawberries, jalapeno peppers.
The parsley is taking over the garden. I don't know when it's going to bolt, but I have no idea what to do with all this parsley. Anyone have an idea? I could dry it, but I would never use it dried. I could freeze it like I freeze cilantro, basil, and mint. But when would I use it other than in soup or a casserole? When the ice melts away, it's the consistency of thawed spinach. You can't garnish a salad with soggy parsley.
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trying new stuff post

I've been reading about how to increase traffic to my blog. Not because I want to make money or become instantly famous, but because....well because I...maybe I do want to be instantly famous. Let me really think about this for a minute.

This begs the question, why did I start to blog int he first place?

That's answer is easy. I love keeping up with other blogs on a daily basis. So, does this mean I want people to keep up with my life on a daily basis? Maybe.

Now, I feel like I need to google why do I blog? to see what other people are blogging about why they blog.

I hope I don't scare any of you regulars off by this rant, but I think I may have just had a deep moment. So, at the bottom of this post are links that will enable people to automatically bookmark my posts to their del.icio.us accounts. I will also try out a few others to see how they work.

">[Del.icio.us] ">[Technorati]

4/6/07

Tomato Leaf Curl

I think I have Tomato Leaf Curl in my garden. Great. I'm going to post this to GardenWeb too. We'll see.
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Jalapeno Poppers in the Making


I had a ton of jalapenos from this year's plants. So here's my first shot at making poppers. I found the recipe a few weeks ago on Kerry's blog. This shot was taken after I stuffed a cream cheese / monterey jack cheese mixture in the jaleps. My hands are still burning from doing this yesterday afternoon! Next, I dipped them in milk and coated them in breadcrumbs.









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4/2/07

Mint


So, now I'm hooked on word definitions. Say you're from Germany and you are trying to learn English. The word mint could really confuse you.

Mint (def.):

any aromatic herb of the genus Mentha
a soft or hard confection
a place where coins are produced
a vast amount
intent; purpose

Shown here are two types of mint I just froze to keep for another day. The top picture is pineapple mint. I'm not crazy about it. The bottom is orange mint, which is spectacular. I put it many different drinks and always take a bite when I'm in the garden. It grows like a weed and spreads like crazy. I have almost a dozen little plants that came from one mama plant.
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What Would You Do With 2 Dozen Grapefruit?

And maybe the more important quesetion...what is the plural of grapefruit? It has an "s" right?

grapefruit [ˈgreipfruːt] noun — plurals ˈgrapefruit, ~ˈgrapefruits

Anyway, I had about 2 dozen grapefruit that only had another 3 days---that would have been 8 grapefruit per day for three days. That would not have worked, so I decided to juice and freeze them. I made two trays of ice cubes and about a gallon of juice.

This leads me to tell everyone about my favorite cocktail (possibly of all time).


Danielle's Grapefruit Drink
3-4 oz. vodka
3-5 mint leaves
juice from two grapefruits

muddle the mint and vodka together then put into a shaker. Add a handul of crushed ice and juice. Shake. Pour into a tall glass. I don't strain, but you can if you want to. Garnish with a frozen green grape.

Go Gators!

Well, tonight we could make history. Here is John's lawn art. He puts it out for every game. We're going to Carson's Tavern tonight to watch the game. I am going to cheat on my diet again tonight and have red wine. But, as long as I eat a salad, I think I'll be okay. We'll see.

Fig Update

Still no definitive answer. Top Tropicals' photos indicate it may be a mature creeping fig.

4/1/07

Green Thumb Sunday - Fig (?)

Here is a cutting I took from a neighbor's fence yesterday. It appears to be some knd of fig, allthough that's just a guess. I'm going to do some snooping online and probably post a "Pland ID Needed Please" on GardenWeb in either the Flodida forum or the vine forum. I hope it survives. I think I'll cut off the fruit so the plant puts its energy into making roots instead of a big fruit.
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