Graduations

Big graduation week coming up. It starts with Tom’s PhD ceremony and extends to include Olivia’s BS award, both at UCF; wrapping up with Simon’s Master’s degree from Auburn. There’s a few days of parties and celebrations so we’re going to get a hotel near the UCF campus rather than driving back and forth to the lake several times. The next academic event on the horizon will be Olivia graduating from PA school or Med school. I’m very proud of them all.

While I was weeding the garden I was struck by the number of tomato seedlings that I routinely pull out as weeds. The tomato season generally runs from April thru June and then again from Dec thru March or April. Too much heat and humidity in the summer; too many frost events in the winter. When growing and producing fruit, a certain amount will drop off the bushes and fall onto fertile soil. Some tomatoes varieties produce fruit continuously for a few months so the fruit dropping is also more or less a continuous happening. The germination of the seeds from the fallen fruit is spotty and depends on weather conditions, soil conditions etc etc but at almost any time you look, there will be a few baby tomato plants popping up. I pull them as weeds. But today I got to thinking, why not dig some of them up, put them in pots (aka yogurt cups) and let them grow in a more controlled environment. By the end of January we are usually done with frost and these plants will be ready to hit the garden a couple of months earlier than I usually plant and more mature than the seedlings I’m usually dealing with. I’ll still start some indoors from seeds since then I know exactly what variety I’m growing but my picking season should then start in April and continue on into July. The downside is that most of the plants I’m going to preserve from this season will be cherry tomatoes. That’s because a cherry plant produces so much fruit, so quickly and for such a long season, that the wild renegades tend to be cherry. In our case, probably 50% of the tomatoes grown end up as sauce, so whether the sauce comes from giant tomatoes or cherry’s – it all works.

We have/had a ruby red grapefruit tree near the front of the house. It’s been there for about 15 years where It thrived and produced lots of fruit up until a couple of years ago. Florida has had a citrus problem called “greening” for several years and it basically destroys the trees. I suspect that’s what happened to this one but it also could be something else. So I decided to cut it down – but at the last minute changed my mind and just severely trimmed it instead. Citrus puts on new growth in the spring so I gave it a heavy dose of fertilizer and will give it 6 months to recuperate.

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