Chicken Under A Brick with Rosemary from the Garden

I made Chicken Under a Brick lastnight and it was delicious. I found "leg and thigh" (connected) pieces for $.59/lb. This pack came with 4 pieces and cost $2.12. With a baked potato, this meal totalled about $12 for 4 people!...and I would submit that is was definitely restaurant quality food.

Ingredients for Chicken Under a Brick:
12 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 tbls italian salad dressing
4 tsp minced garlic
salt & pepper
4 pieces chicken (leg and thigh)
2 bricks wrapped in foil
large oven safe saute pan
large oven safe pot

Stuff rosemary, garlic, and italian salad dressing under the skin. Smother chicken on both sides with dressing, top with remaining rosemary and place in fridge to marinate for 30 minutes or more. I used the saute pan that I would be cooking in.

Pour off any pooled liquid, then allow the chicken to rest 10-15 mins. Top the chicken with a pot and two bricks. I didn't foil wrap them. Saute them on med-high heat for 5 minutes. The weight of the brick helps the skin form a crispy brown top.

Put into a preheated 400 oven for 10 minutes. (I had potatoes already in there at 400, so I let them share the space). I gotta remember to prick the potatoes next time. They made an exploding mess all over the oven.

Take the chicken from the oven, remove the bricks and top pot. Flip the chicken and place back in the oven for 5-10 minutes.
I used a thermometer attached to the oven and took the chicken out at 160. The juices were running clear. These two guidelines are better indicators of doneness than time.

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Here's a neat photo where you can see the whole rosemary sprig under the skin of the chicken. It was beautiful on the plate.

The lovely baked potatos sat in the 400 oven for an hour. They were first brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with course kosher salt. The chives that topped the potato were grown in my garden too! Check out their story here.


Christmas Palm Problems - Lethal Yellow

I have been having problems with the Christmas palms over the past year. Here’s the run down of the problems:
These little ants always congregate on the stem near where the green part and the rings touch. I haven’t treated the palm for these insects because I don’t know if they are doing anything to damage it.
Here’s (below) a photo of the white powdery stuff that hangs out on the fronds.
IMG_0547 IMG_0551
The powdery/flakey stuff is white, gray and black. Here’s some more photos that shows it.
IMG_0553 I think the spots on the fronds are from the recent cold weather, but I could be wrong.IMG_0568
Here are two photos of the palms showing the center trunk that died. I think it may have had lethal yellow.
Here’s the top of the dead trunk.


Lettuce Grows in 45 Days

I platend Grand Rapids Lettuce seeds today. I have no space in the garden, so I decided to plant them 2 inches from the rosemary and tomato plants. The more I hear about square foot gardening, the more I think I can pack the veggie garden with seeds. We'll see.

This variety of lettuce is supposed to be harvested in 45 days. I also sprinkled some seeds amongst the pepper plants, so I will have overlapping there, but I will just thin out any seeds that are too close.
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Meyer Lemon Blooms in Spring

The meyer lemon bushes are looking healthy right now. They have survived what I hope will be the worst of the cold and have loaded up with fruit and blossoms.

I usually have ripe fruit in December. The variety is considered everbearing according to one IFAS article about Florida citrus varieties. Another IFAS article says that harvest is from November to March.

This website says that from bloom to harvest, a meyer lemon needs 3-4 months. So, I should have fruit ready to eat in May or June. Here, June is very hot, so we'll see.
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Aloe Vera Blooms

Down here in zone 9b, the aloe sends up pups a few months before Christmas and send up a blossom a few months after Christmas. Here's the baby plants which I first noticed in September.

Now, the aloe is beginning to send up a long spear from the center which will eventually bloom for a few months. The yellow blossoms begin opening from the bottom and then each falls off just when the next one opens. Below is the spril 2008 photo and you can see a month into the blooming that half od the flowers were still hanging on. This reminds me of the grapette ground orchid which blooms the same way.

From danielle's garden blog

Here are the flower spears a month before they bloomed.
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UF Sun Peach Blooms in February

The UF Sun Peach just blossomed for the first time this spring. Last year, it blossomed in January and I pruned it as soon as I saw the flowers....this was the wrong thing to do according to a great IFAS article. The proper time to prune this tree is before it blooms. The problem is that pruning reduces cold hardiness. We have been having 40 degree nights this whole month.

I noticed that the blooms appear to be swelling on both the older, hard, brown growth as well as the newer green growth. According to this article, "fruiting wood should be thinned annually to reduce crowding and stimulate the production of new wood which bears next year's crop." So, I'm confused beacuse it appears that both old and new wood is going to produce fruit. To be continued...

Below is an example of poor pruning. I should have snipped off this branch completely instead of leaving a few inches. Now, I have all these new shoots growing from a stub.

The tree looks pretty pathetic now, but it will be pretty once it's in full bloom.


The Lawn Seems to Be Receeding

One thing I don't know how to maintain is the lawn. A landscape company cuts it for us. Here's my question...what is going on with the huge gap between the grass and the wood border I put in? The edger guy must be out of control.
Here are the newly planted duranta gold mounds and impatiens.

Below is a photo from May 2007, a few months after I installed the border. I guess it's taken three years for this to happen, but it doesn't make it ok. WOW!......look how tall that Christmas Palm (Adonidia) has gotten in three years.
By the way, I planted my sunflower seeds yesterday! I'm excited. I got Mammoth that will reach 12 ft and another kind that reaches 5-6 feet.

Walk Through the Veggie Garden Today

Below is the husky tomato plant. It's doing great but is beginning to need some extra support. Way in the back of this photo is the miracle fruit tree that was recently transplanted to the ground from the container. It's one of my most prized plants. Here are other posts of mine about this miraculous plant.

Below is patchouli and rosemary. There are rows of seeds planted in the empty areas. The orange cord is the cable cord that still has not been burried (since November)! They are once again supposed to come out in the next 48 hours to complete the job. I'm worried what the garden might look like when they are done. Glad I have photos :)

Below are the new pepper plants I planted yesterday with Amanda. We got baby green bells, poblanos (anchos), and something else I can't remember.

Below is my humble miracle fruit plant (Synsepalum dulcificum). It's doing ok with the cold. There's no visible damage. I think it just needs some fertilizer and it's still getting used to being in the ground as opposed to high up in it's pot. Here's how it looked in Feb 2008 when I first purchased it in a 1 gallon sack.
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White Onion Growing in South Florida

The onion bulbs I planted two weeks ago have been growing nicely. They have not been getting misted with the drip irrigation system twice daily for 2 minutes (like I had planned) because someone damaged the main line. I think it was Comcast, but I can't be sure until I dig down to survey the problem.

Anyway, the white onions are doing so good. My goal is to use the green tops on our salads.
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Easy Drip Irrigation System

We just refcently moved part of our drip irrigation system to a spicket that uses well water as opposed to city water. It was so simple and it should save us a minimal amount on our monthly water bill.

The drip system consists of the gray oval timer with a backflow attachment and a long 3/4" funny pipe. This is what you can see here in this photo. What you can't see that the funny pipe travels 50 feet through my veggie garden and has little offshoots with sprinkler heads. Here's a posting about my drip irrigation system from 2008.
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How Often to Water A Vegetable Garden

I trust the extension office at the University of Florida. They recently published an article recommending how often a vegetable garden should be watered or irrigated.

Thie article called Florida Vegetable Gardening Guide says this about watering:
Frequency of irrigation depends upon the age of the crop and your soil type.
Young plants need frequent, but light irrigation; maturing crops need more
water,but less often. Sandy soils demand more frequent irrigation than clay, muck
or amended soils. Conserve water by using mulch, organic matter, andtechniques
such as drip irrigation. Make a slight depression at the base of plants to hold
water until absorbed by the soil.
So, I believe I will have my young onions on a twice daily drip for 2 minute intervals.


Tomatoes and Onion Planted in February

I planted this large celebrity tomato along the fence, gave t a drip irrigation head, and a dousing of tomato fertilizer. Also, to make it easier on myself, I cut off the bottom 1 inch of its pot and just planted the whole thing. Even with my recent soil amendments, I'm still unsure of why I cant get tomatoes. We'll see if this helps.

After planting the tomato, I planted a row of green garlic chives (Allium T berosum) just to the left.
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How to Remove a Bougainvillea

The bougainvilleas from three years ago have been replaced with two eugenia topiaries. Here are the planters back in March 2007 when I planted them.

From danielle's garden blog

Here are the planters 4 months after planting.

From danielle's garden blog

Here they are in January 2008 after a freeze very similar to what we had this winter.

From danielle's garden blog

And below is how it came back 3 months after the winter freeze.

From danielle's garden blog

Today, it took me 20 minutes to get the roots out of the containers, but I managed to get the whole rootball. Here's the time lapse video for anyone who's interested.

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