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Garden Diary: January 1, 2019: Drastic Changes in the Gardens in the New Year


2019 is a year of out with the old, in with the new for me. I started this garden with the hopes of growing food, but that didn't work out well at all. There is absolutely no full sun, so most of what I tried to grow either did nothing or very little. Plus, there is a distinct lack of pollinators, so even the things I managed to get to grow didn't produce anything. So I've had to rethink what I have and what I want.

Giving Up On Growing Most Veggies

My sweet potato patch produced only one twisted little potato that looks like a turnip, and two babies that grew from the vines growing into the ground. I know more will come up, so I'll just eat the leaves and not worry about getting any tubers. I'll continue to grow the eddoe, because it's really a pretty elephant ear plant, and seems to put out a decent amount of roots.





I tried tropical edibles, but wasn't too crazy about them. I have the chaya, but I don't really eat the leaves from that, because I don't like spinach that much. I'll keep it because the bees love the blooms -- IF it ever blooms! Since I don't eat salads, the cranberry hibiscus is pretty useless, but it's pretty and adds color in the summer, so I may keep that one.


I planted Jerusalem artichokes this year, and they grew well, but I don't think they put out many roots. I have to dig them soon to see what I got. I'll keep those, but will be moving them to a place with more sun where they won't interfere with the space in the courtyard.


Other than that, I may plant a few greens, like amaranth and collards, but no lettuces. I honestly just don't like leafy greens that much. I'll continue to grow my one Everglades tomato, because it's basically the only tomato that will do anything here.

Catering to the Pollinators



One problem I have in this garden is a lack of pollinators. I used to have paper wasps and a few native bees, but even those seem to have gone, so I'm going to plant pollinator attractors this year in hopes of bringing in whatever I can.

I'll be planting a lot of blooming plants for bees. I'm getting rid of most of the larger plants that are taking up way too much space, like the amaryllis, and putting in things like tall marigolds, zinnias, cosmos and pentas.

I'll be getting passion vine for the gulf frittilary butterflies and coral honeysuckle and more morning glories for the hummingbirds.

I'm taking out ALL the bananas and replacing them with brugmansias and pigeon peas for pollinators. I'm also planting more elderberries for bees, and praying my chaya blooms this year, because bees love those flowers.

My whole focus this year is BEES. I need to attract them and keep them here.

Re-configuring the Courtyard

One of my first projects will be to reconfigure the courtyard. I want to start selling plants, but to do that, I need to create room for them to grow. My son installed a small seating area for me to put the table and chairs so I can have the regular "porch" for growing sun-loving plants. It's the only place I have where I get full southern sun in the mornings and afternoons.

I also plan to build a small lattice shelter somewhere for my shade plants. It's so hard keeping them from being fried in the summer, especially when the shade plants I have for them die back in the winter, so a lattice house is a perfect solution to get them out of my LR in the summer and out into the fresh air.

Since I'm taking out so many of the large plants this year, the entire look and feel of the garden will be changing. It will be lighter and brighter, without so much green. It will have much more color and much less foliage.

What do you have planned for your gardens in 2019?

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HAPPY GARDENING!

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



January is one of the coldest months in North Florida, but it's a great month for starting veggies for your spring garden. Put your potatoes in the ground this month, and start some tomatoes from seed or clone some from your existing plants for spring planting. You can also brighten up your landscape with the cute smiling faces of pansies or add a graceful camellia to your flowering shrubs. As the days get longer and winter is upon us, gardening is still going strong in our part of the state.