Dealing with the Aftermath

When I said we were done with the hurricane cleanup, I meant at our house, not necessarily at George’s. He had his place plus his daughter’s in Ormond and his brother’s in Deland to deal with. So for the past two days we’ve been focused on taking apart and burning downed trees and tree debris next door and I think we still have another day’s worth of work. I’m mentally and physically done with it! Now the aftermath – mosquitoes. They take a week or so to hatch from all the new standing water and they’ve done so with a vengeance. I’ve never seen so many aggressive, hungry skeeters. I cover up as best I can and spray whatever isn’t covered. That helps. I think they have a life span of about a week so as soon as we get a nippy morning, they should be only a memory.

Got back into the garden and planted the first set of root crops which included carrots, radishes, parsnips, rutabaga, and beets. It’s a tad early but we supposedly have a cool front heading our way. I’ve had really bad luck with roots the past two seasons and had vowed to drop them from future gardens but decided to give them one more chance and some extra special loving attention on planting. The rutabaga is a replacement for turnips which really did poorly last year – great greens but no root tuber. I really don’t know if rutabaga greens are edible or not but Nancy knows a number of elderly southern ladies who probably will have the answer to that. Or I can just give them away under the turnip green label and see what the reaction is. Never grown rutabaga’s so not exactly sure what to expect. The other possibility I’m mulling over is trying another patch of the same turnips that failed last year but with the extra attention mentioned above. My new approach is to add a large dose of “trace” minerals to the soil alongside the crop. That means Epson salts and bone meal. I fertilize very lightly, most relying on compost, and that may leave the soil lacking something needed for root crops. I’ll be able to answer that question in about 2-3 months. Except for radishes which will germinate in 5 days, all the others take a while to germinate – maybe as much as two weeks – so I have to be diligent in keeping the seed beds moist all that time. I got a break with a nice rain right after I got the first few rows planted. And while I was planting the root crop, I popped in a couple rows of spinach and lettuce. I suspect it’s too early in the season, i.e. not cool enough, but I like living on the edge! It’s a way to hedge the weather – better for zucchini’s if the weather stays warm; better for the spinach and lettuce if it cools off.

The other garden news is that each of the three zucchini plants have micro zucchini’s sprouting out. Ditto the cucumbers. That means table size by next week. The experiment with these is an occasional spraying with soapy water to ward off marauding critters. In one of the currently unused rows, a renegade plant just popped up that looks suspiciously like another zucchini or another kind of squash. We’ve had both acorn and butternut squash which means seeds in the compost pile so we won’t know what it really is until it produces fruit. I know it’s not a watermelon.

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