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Graden Diary: August 3, 2017

The Little Ruby Alternanthera is Taking Over the Outside Garden
 
The heat, the heat, the heat --- the rain, the rain, the rain -- that is about all I have to say about this summer so far. Last year's drought had me out watering every day, so I was happy for the rain, but be careful what you wish for!

A Garden Out of Control!

There are plants I'm beginning to regret planting now, because this summer's overabundance of rain has them growing out of control. Plants I relied on for groundcover last year during the dry weather, such as sweet potatoes, wandering jew, and Little Ruby alternanthera, have now gone wild. I spent part of yesterday, out in the drizzle tearing out huge patches of sweet potato vines and the native creeping spiderwort I had thought would be lovely as a ground cover.  The purple wandering jew I dumped out under the hibiscus bushes is threatening to choke out the white wandering jew and the peacock gingers, so I have to get that under control.

The Little Ruby alternanthera is NOT creeping along the ground, but growing so tall I'm going to be forced to yank a lot of that out also, since it's covering up and taking away light and nutrients from other plants.

Rain, Death, and Destruction

In the meantime, some plants are simply rotting from the rain, such as my Ichiban eggplant, which I cut back due to fungus caused by the distinct lack of airflow in the courtyard. Now it's stayed so wet that it's starting to get root rot, and I haven't had time to save seeds from it yet. The bell peppers, which like it a bit drier, are also struggling and have had to be cut back drastically to try to save them. The chaya cutting I planted in the new garden by the fence rotted very quickly, which surprised me since it had several leaves and was growing nicely. I have plenty of other chaya I can take cuttings from, though, so not a problem. The Taro I planted in the courtyard are evidently in a space that is too wet, and refuse to grow, while the ones I planted in the butterfly garden are thriving.

Plants That Love the Rain

Luckily, some of the plants are loving the rain and heat, and are thriving. The perennial hibiscus are doing well, especially the H. sabdariffa, which did nothing last year. I have four plants now growing with great abandon, so I'm looking forward to a nice crop of sepals to dry for tea. The cranberry hibiscus are also doing fairly well, but aren't large enough to harvest leaves from. I've managed to get several cuttings from the three plants that survived. I have a couple of the H. radiatus plants that are growing, but not thriving.

The daturas are liking the rain, which is odd, since they usually like it dry. The triple yellow daturas are growing and one is setting buds, and I have one double purple which is dong well in a container, although the ones out in the gardens seem to be languishing. The poor little single LeFleur lilac was drowned after I put it into a larger pot, but luckily, I have more seeds.

And of course, the bananas are flourishing with all this moisture.



So that's it for this update. Due to the outrageous heat, I've decided to put off all but the most necessary maintenance until fall.


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Happy Gardening!

Month-by-Month in North Florida: What to Plant in August (UPDATED for 2017)



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.

The heat has been unbearable lately, but at least there is rain this year. I'm waiting to hear from the UF community garden about the availability of my garden plot there, so I will be starting my seeds in 3-inch pots so they will have room to grow until then. It will probably be September before I can get in, so they'll be pretty well established by then.


Vegetables to Plant in August

* last month to plant this vegetable

Beans: bush
& pole
Lima Beans* Beets Broccoli Brussels
Sprouts
Cabbage Carrots Cauliflower Celery Chinese
Cabbage
Collards Cucumbers* Eggplant*Endive/
Escarole
Kale
Mustard Onions,
bunching
Peppers* Summer
Squash
Winter
Squash
Shallots Tomatoes*Turnips

If you want to grow lettuces or tender greens, you can grow mico or mini greens, such as those pictured above. Simply sprinkle your seeds in a tray and let them grow to the size you want, then cut or pull them up.


Ornamentals to Plant in August

With the hottest days of summer ahead of us, only a few ornamentals will take the heat.

VincaGaillardiaBulbineColeus

Bulbs to Plant in August

Aztec LilyButterfly LilyWalking IrisSpider Lily

Herbs to Plant in August

Bay LaurelGingerMexican TarragonRosemary

August is a hot and miserable month, but as you can see, it's still a good time to get a jump on the fall garden. If you have any questions about growing food here in Gainesville or the surrounding area, post them in the comments.