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Edibles Planted In The Garden, May 2020

Doesn't look like an edible? Keep reading to find out what it is.


I decided last year I was going to transition over from ornamentals to edibles in my gardens. Having very little gardening space, and even less full sun, it's been a challenge for sure. I've tried a few experiments over the years, some have succeeded and some have failed. Some did o.k., but needed more sun, so turned out to be gangly and not produce well. This year, I'm being a little bit smarter about it. I'm getting rid of a lot of the ornamentals and replacing them with edibles, opening up a whole new area that has the most afternoon sun, and trying new crops I've never tried before with any seriousness.

These are the edibles in my garden this year. Some are only tiny baby seedlings so far, but they'll start growing well soon, hopefully. Some are just grown from store-bought plants. Some may never do a thing, but some are already bearing, so that's something to celebrate.

Figs

I forget it it was 3 or 4 years ago, a friend sent me three each of three varieties of fig tree cuttings.  I killed all but two of them, probably by over-watering, but two survived and are growing and bearing. They bore a little last year, but this year, they're doing much better. The varieties are Settler's Fig (Celeste, probably) and Marseilles VS (black - very sweet). The Celeste is in a ten-gallon pot, and the Marseilles VS is in a 7 gallon pot, but they still seem to be doing well, so I may put off moving the Marseilles into a larger pot until fall.

Herbs

I planned to grow a lot more herbs this year, but got lazy. I'll try again in the fall. The ones I have going now are:
  • Rosemary - 11 rooted cuttings - trade
  • Basil - Mildew Resistant - trade
  • Peppermint - trade
  • Chocolate mint - trade
  • Turmeric - gift from a friend
  • Lemon grass
  • Shiso - can be used dried as an herb or fresh in salads.

Peppers - all grown from seed

  • Sweet banana (2)
  • Cubanelle (2)
  • Poblano (Ancho) (3)
  • Red, orange and yellow bell peppers - just planted a few seeds from store bought. Not sure they'll even come up.
  • various ornamental peppers for bonchi

Tomatoes

  • Cherokee Purple (1)
  • Homestead (3)
  • Gardener's Delight (2)
  • Everglades (1)
  • NOID plum tomato & small orange cherry - experiments from a pack of specialty salad tomatoes

Fruits

  • Banana - Orinoco - I'm torn as to whether to keep this banana or take it out. I really don't like the bananas it bears, and it takes up too much space. There is a variety that is more dwarf and bears regular size bananas that I may try to trade for.
  • Papayas (3) hoping for fruit this year. The large one has a fruit, but I think it already has worms. Originally grew them for shade in that area, but some more seedlings came up last year and made it through the winter, so I'll see what they do.
  • Strawberry - this has been a disappointment year after year. I don't know why I keep it.
  • Lemon tree - seed grown 4 years ago, I'm making it into a bonsai just to see what will happen. I never expect to get fruit from it 
  • Elderberry - first year bearing any appreciable amount. Hoping squirrels don't get them.
  • Loquat - just a seedling, but it's 3 years old now. May turn out to be barren or sour. I thought about taking it completely out, but if I stay here long enough, I'd like to see how it does.
  • Avocado (noid) - volunteer from a discarded seed. This is its third year, and it's still going, so we'll see.
  • Dragon fruit - I have one small one grown from seed (white inside) and one grown from a cutting I got in a trade that is supposed to be red inside. Not sure I'm going to keep either of them, because of lack of space, and it will take them years to bear.

Beans and Peas

  • Yard-long  - 7 plants, maybe more. Things that look like them are coming up in various places from last year.
  • Scarlett Runner - I planted six seeds, and interspersed them with more long beans, but I don't know what is actually coming up, so I'll see what happens. I'm told scarlet runners don't do well in the summer here, so may end up replanting something else.
  • Kentucky Wonder (7) - doing extremely well.
  • Pigeon Pea - several small trees planted. Using the largest as chop and drop now due to squirrels stripping the peas off. Planted a couple over by the fence where they run just for them so maybe they'll leave mine alone.

Other Veggies

  • Okra - had to plant these twice, but about 10 have come up.
  • Sweet potatoes - I can't ever get potatoes because of roots and lack of sun, so I just use them as ground cover and eat the leaves
  • Jerusalem artichoke - found a few tiny tuber bits when digging up the bed where they used to grow, so I planted them. So far, only one has come up.
  • Eggplant - just planted seeds from store-bought plant.

Tropical veggies

  • Potato mint - thought it had all died last year, but started coming up all over the yard, so hoping for a good crop this year.
  • Malabar spinach (6) - might be too many, but I love it and could eat it every day.
  • Taro (eddoe) - I don't usually get a lot out of these, but they're just grown for fun and because the leaves are pretty. If I tried hard enough, I could get a lot of food out of them.
  • Cranberry hibiscus - leaves make good tea and are great in salads
  • Hibiscus sabdariffa (Florida cranberry) - found some old seeds and planted them. I have about 5 that came up and survived, so I'll find a place for them.
  • Winged yam - Dioscorea alata. This will be the first year I'll dig the roots. Will be interesting to see how big they are. 
  • Molokhia (Egyptian Spinach) - actually haven't planted this yet, but will be this week. I don't know where I'll put it, because it grows into a shrub. I just wanted another summer green.
  • Chaya - I have four plants now of various sizes. I had to cut the huge one back, and may have to take it out. I love this for pot greens in the summer.

Weird Stuff

Now to the strange plant in the picture up top. I got a Bromelia pinguin in a trade. It's a form of bromeliad that grows wild around Florida, get very large and has dangerous long, spiky leaves. It supposedly has an edible fruit. I have no idea where I'm going to put it where it won't hurt anyone. I may take it down and plant it in the woods behind the community garden, where everyone else tosses their bromeliads.

So that's it. I know it doesn't sound like a very productive or even sensible garden, but you have to start somewhere and see what does well. In the fall, I'll try different things, but starting this late, this was about all I could come up with.

Happy Gardening!

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