3/14/11

UF Sun Peaches After Thinning Tree

The UF Sun Peach Tree has produced hundreds of delicious little peaches this year!!! I should have thinned the tree a bit more than I did because the peaches this year have been on the smaller side. I've picked and eaten about 10 so far this season. I have been letting them ripen in a brown paper bag for a few days. I had to look back at my notes from last year because I forgot about how to tell if your peaches are ready to harvest.


Curious about when to harvest peaches? Here you go.

Look for these other indicators before picking the peach:

Smell it. The scent should be very peachy. Before it's ripe, the scent is unnoticeable.
Feel it. It will give a bit. Unripe peaches are very firm.
Twist it. If you lift and twist, and it comes off the branch easily, it's ripe.

You can pick a peach prior to it ripening. Pick it a few days before you think these indicators will be present and bring them inside. Place them in a brown paper bag for a few days to ripen. This is how growers do it, except they put fruit into gas chambers instead of paper bags. Down here in zone 10, the peaches are supposed to ripen in mid-May.
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When Does Amaryllis Bloom in Zone 10?

The amaryllis is beginning to bloom again. Last year it bloomed in mid April. Two years ago, it bloomed April 25th. This year, it's blooming in Mid-March. I think it's early because our winter was relatively mild and we've had many hot days recently.

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3/6/11

Podocarpus in the front yard

We planted a bunch of podocarpus yesterday along the front of the house. We got 15 3 gallon pots and planted them a foot in front of the house. They were spaced 20 inches on center so they will form a dence hedge. Afterward, we watered and mulched the young plants and we hope that within a year, the plants will fill in to form a nice dense hedge.

We have a neighbor that has a mature podocarpus hedge along his property which shields his house from the main road. Down here in south Florida everyone uses ficus to form this kind of living wall. However, new plantings of ficus have been outlawed in many counties because the root system DESTROYS any underground plumbing eventually cracks sidewalks and roads. Palm Beach is known for their walls of ficus hedges...they are indeed gorgeous.

FICUS WALL in Palm Beach. Photo courtesy of Vivian Reiss: The Joy Of Life

Podocarpus often comes in two varieties down here in So. Florida. There is a dwarf variety which is slow growing and reaches 3-5 feet in height. It's considered a compact evergreen. I chose the regular version because I want the hedge to fill in quickly.


As you can see, all along the brick, we planted podocarpus. The grass is lemongrass and the chartreuse plants are Duranta gold mound.

A few years ago, I began researching the BEST hedge options for south florida. We have many gorgeous options, but many of the options have drawbacks. For example, Eugenia is susceptible to aphids. Duranta gets leggy at the bottom, gets damaged by cold snaps, and often gets insect damage.

Podocarpus can handle temps below zero....which we NEVER get.
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