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Garden Diary: September 24, 2018 - Yard Crew Weed Killer Disaster, and a Sign of Hope



My beautiful hibiscus, which was killed back to the ground by the freeze this past January, has finally put out its first bloom. What a beautiful site after the disaster I have been faced with since last Wednesday.

The yard crew for my apartment complex, which is an outside contractor, has not been doing its job this summer. I was patient, because of all the rain, but finally, I complained to my manager that they had not trimmed or edged in my yard for months. I had been edging myself using a pair of scissors, but I couldn't really keep up. They would edge right to the corner where the sidewalk turns to go to my yard, then stop.

So he told them in no uncertain terms that they had to start edging and trimming in my yard, and their reply, which we both agree was probably out of spite, was to use industrial strength weed killer around my gardens, which poisons the soil for a year after it's used.

(click images to enlarge)

They knew exactly what they were doing. You can see in this picture that they started well past the large purple sweet potato patch, but did not spare the cannas or the red sweet potatoes planted under it.

I had several small Brugmansias (angel trumpets) planted all along the bed, which I had to dig out, rinse the roots, and pot into fresh soil to try to save them. Thank heaven I had just bought a new bag of potting soil. So far, they look o.k., but I don't know yet if they will live.

They continued all along the top bed, killing my lone Jerusalem artichoke and damaging all the other plants, including the sweet potatoes planted there. I had to wait a few days to see if all the sweet potatoes were affected, and when the new leaves came out, I could see they were.



This is how you can tell if weedkiller has gotten into the roots of a plant like sweet potatoes. The new growth comes out yellow and can come out deformed. Since I now know that the roots are poisoned, I can only dig them up and not eat them. I can't plant other crops there for a year, as I said above.


The one brugmansia, my Charles Grimaldi, that was in that bed looked o.k. for now, so I left it, but we'll see how it does. I may yet have to pull it up to try to save it.

They sprayed all around the banana plants, so I don't know what will happen to them. I know I can't eat the eddoe I have growing behind them, or use them to grow more next year, as I had planned.

They didn't spray along the left edge of the sidewalk, which still hasn't been edged, but they sprayed in front of the hibiscus bed, where I have my wandering jews and peacock ginger planted. This shows me that they were trying particularly to kill my plants, or they would have sprayed the other side of the sidewalk that needed edging.

As if all this wasn't bad enough, the yard is sloped, and the death is spreading downhill, killing everything slowly. There is no telling how far it will go. It may kill the entire front yard.

All I can do is to water as much as possible to try to dilute the poison that is in the soil. the more I water the top gardens, the more it runs down into the yard. It's a catch-22 situation.

They knew what they were doing, as evidenced by the fact that they didn't spray the large purple sweet potato bed, or the part where I had planted the Little Ruby alternanthera to grow as a ground cover. My manager agrees that they purposely targeted my flower beds.

I'm going to ask him if I can put up a chain across the yard to keep them from coming in again, with signs that say "No Mowing." I can buy a cheap weed eater and do the work myself from now on. I can't plant anything there for a year anyway, and I don't want them to do any more damage.

I wish the complex would buy its own yard equipment and just do a bit every day to keep it done. It might take a week to do the whole place, but it would be done properly. They won't, though. They really have no place to store the equipment, and there is a gang of yard equipment thieves plaguing Gainesville right now.

My only choice for planting food in that area is to plant GMO crops that aren't affected by the Roundup, but then what am I eating? There will be glyphosate in all my food. I will probably just overseed it with something to draw the poisons out of the soil, and then pull them up and toss them afterwards.

Just when you think it's safe to go back into the garden...

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Garden Diary - September 2, 2018 - Potting, Repotting and Cleaning




The sun comes up later now , but the mornings are staying cooler longer,
which allows me to get much more done. Yesterday, I had an orgy of transplanting rooted cuttings and repotting potbound plants.

Month-by-Month in North Florida: What to Plant in September

Beautiful calla lilies are wonderful container plants for spring blooms.

September is the main planting month for fall/winter crops in North Florida, so get out your shovels and get to work! All the cole crops can be planted this month, and you still have time to plant bush/pole beans and winter/summer squash although this is the last month to do so. This is also your first month to plant lettuces.

Mid-September is the time to start planting strawberries, in fact,

Garden Diary: August 2, 2018

South Facing Garden

I know I should keep up with this blog better, but there is just so much gardening to do, and work, and housekeeping -- there never seems to be time to get in here and give updates.

As you can see in the picture above, the rain has caused the gardens to go berserk. I always have a plan, then that plan always goes to hell

Month-by-Month in North Florida: What to Plant in August (UPDATED for 2018)



The main garden season has finally arrived in Florida, and here in the northern part of the state, we are already planting our winter crops. Since we have a shorter growing season than Central or South Florida, we plant a lot of our cole crops and leafy greens in August. Yes, I know, it seems it would be too hot, but somehow they survive until it starts cooling a bit in September.

Garden Diary: July 4, 2018 Fat Plants, Skinny Plants, Plants That Grow on Rocks

Got this gorgeous white pentas on half price sale at Lowe's.
It really stands out in the garden. 

Hello again. I've been so busy gardening, I haven't had time to post. I think about it a lot, but then I end up just going over to the Florida Gardening Forum on Gardenweb and posting there.

The Saga of the Unruly Banana

The other day I noticed a small green leaf on my window sash. I thought it was just a piece of banana leaf torn off during a thunderstorm, but it didn't dry up and die, it got BIGGER!


Upon further inspection, it turns out that a pup from one of the large banana plant had grown up between the siding and the concrete block wall. YIKES!

I had to do something about it, so I looked at the situation, and found I would have to take out it's mother plant to get it out of there. Not a problem. I was thinking of taking the bananas out anyway.

After taking out the basket hanger and moving a lot of containers to clear the way for it to fall, I pulled it out of the ground by

Garden Diary - April 5, 2018 - Creating a Pollinator Paradise



I'm determined to attract more pollinators to my garden this year. I had planned to plant a bunch of annuals, but missed my chance in the fall, and now I'm just changing gears on that.

I cut back all my milkweeds during the freeze, but most survived and are growing strong with many more branches. I rooted about 25 cuttings in water

Month-by-Month in North Florida: What to Plant in April (UPDATED for 2018)


April is the last planting month for many vegetables in North Florida before the heat of summer comes. There are actually very few vegetables you can still start from seed, but you can still use starter plants for some, and there are oh so many

Cheapskate Gardening - Lining Wire Baskets, Worm Poop, and Homemade Potting Soil




As most of my gardening friends know, I'm the cheapest of cheapskate gardeners,, and I'm not averse to dumpster diving or curb shopping for gardening supplies. So I decided to do a series on some of my cheapskate gardening methods that let me garden for next to nothing. Enjoy!

Using Available Resources and Buying Cheap

I used to buy bags of compost and mulch, and now I just use what nature gives me by mulching with leaves as well as layering them in potting holes to feed the earthworms, who in turn

Month-by-Month in North Florida: What to Plant in March (UPDATED FOR 2018)



This is one of our prime planting times in North Florida, the time when we plant most of what people consider summer annuals and vegetables. There are still a few hardier winter crops you can plant, but

Garden Diary 2/12/2018: Better Health and a New Garden Plan

So my last post was terribly depressing. My health was so bad then that I was going to give up on gardening completely. Since then, my health has much improved, thanks to medication and a regimen of handfuls of vitamins and supplements every day. With warm weather hereat last, I'm feeling much better about my gardening.

I lost a lot in the freezes, so the last couple of days I've been clearing out

Change in Gardening & Life Plans

I know I have not done much in this blog for the last couple of months, and I apologize for that. I've been going through a lot of personal stuff, and I have lost my enthusiasm for gardening.

As some of you know, I waited six months to get a community garden plot, but after only a couple of weeks of having it, I gave it back and they graciously returned my money. I have faced the fact that I am now not healthy enough to take care of a big garden. In fact, I'm really burned out

Month-by-Month in North Florida: What to Plant in October

Shasta Daisies
October in North Florida is the time when summer plantings are finished, and it's time to plant your winter crops, and some perennials and bulbs for spring blooms. It's also the last chance to plant strawberries, although you can still plant quite a few herbs. It's the best month to plant

Garden Diary: September 15, 2017

Well, Hurricane Irma has come and gone, and I still have a living room full of plants. I wanted to do some much-needed maintenance before I put them back out, but I've been so exhausted, it didn't get done.

Everything fared well. A few plants got bent over, but I have propped them back up, and they seem to be fine now. Gladly, it hasn't rained for a few days, so maybe I can avoid losing so much to root rot.

I'm going tomorrow to be assigned my