Around the Garden
|May 10, 2012||Posted by Guest under Gardening, Kids|
The Fresh for Florida Kids Garden launched last month at the Holland Building in downtown Tallahassee. The Holland building houses the new Division of Food, Nutrition and Wellness. Amy Campbell-Smith, an employee within the Division, takes some time each week to go and check out what is growing and ready to harvest that day. Here’s her recap from today!
A coworker and I were just outside gathering good things from our garden! There are strawberries, blueberries and a couple peppers that are ready to eat. Some of the strawberries have been munched on by ants BUT—they are still good to eat. Just cut away the bad parts!
We also noticed the first tomato starting to ripen. It is a pretty yellow and may ripen to red or a beautiful school bus orange.
There was a GIANT zucchini my coworker is taking home. With its size, she may have enough to make 10 loaves of zucchini bread! The elongated eggplants are growing every day. They are not quite big enough to pick yet, but will be soon! There are hot and mild peppers galore. Nothing beats ultra fresh produce in taste or health!
We will soon be having a bounty of yellow squash. There are more zucchini forming. There are tons of cucumber blooms, which means that the cukes themselves aren’t far behind.
The corn in the bed in front has completely tasseled and we saw bumblebees all over the blooms, pollinating the heck out of it. You’ll start to notice tiny ears growing along the sides of the corn stalks before you know it. Then we’ll have to be extra vigilant and keep the squirrels and birds away! The other beds of corn aren’t far behind—everyday they seem to grow another inch or two.
The zipper peas and black-eyes peas are blooming and starting to form pea pods. The soy beans are coming along nicely and a couple of the plants already have tiny flower buds. The potatoes are flowering and working hard to produce their tuberous roots. I noticed a couple okra pods also.
If you poke around in the beds, you’ll notice quite a few ants. What they are doing is “farming” colonies of aphids. The aphids produce what is termed honeydew (no, not melons!), which is the aphids’ waste from munching on the plants. The ants then take the honeydew back to their nests to feed their queens, so that she will perpetuate their colony. It’s very interesting to watch them for a while.
I’ve seen many ladybugs munching on aphids. Ladybugs are “beneficial” insects in that they consume nothing but naughty aphids. There’s a picture attached that my husband took while we were weeding one weekend. There’s also another picture of our resident mockingbird.
Check back for more updates next week!