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Fruit Tree Rescue

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For everything there is a season…

Our lawnmower stopped running, for the third time, about two months ago. Yes, that is the time when the grass grows fastest in South Florida. I made a few half-hearted attempts to repair it and then just said “The heck with it.” It was too hot to mow anyway. Turned out that was not a good idea. Mower is now running, but the grass has become an almost impenetrable jungle. We also let the garden “go by”… as it is too hot to grow much of anything. We should have turned it over and mulched it heavily to discourage weed growth during the summer. Sometimes we have to “relearn” the hard way… It has been a real chore turning this weed-filled patch back into a viable growing plot…

Hot, sweaty, hard work, but Lucy did it with pleasure

Hot, sweaty, hard work, but Lucy did it with pleasure

This morning, while I was having my new patient orientation meeting with the Veterans Administration Clinic staff, Lucy got busy and grubbed out another ten feet of bed. Hot, dirty work and she loves it. In the morning, I will haul enough mulch from the front yard stockpile, to cover the entire area to a depth of ten inches. The thick wood-chip mulch will; foil weeds, cool the soil and help retain moisture. As it breaks down it will encourage the growth of organics in the sandy soil.

Just a little bit of work with the soil, pays huge rewards…

We already have baby okra making an appearance and the squash are blooming. A few hungry caterpillars have been removed by hand and sent to bug Heaven. The only control we use is a bit of Neem oil spray and organic soad for aphids. We don’t want to make our hard-working honeybees sick.

Healthy baby Okra. Yummy.

Healthy baby Okra. Yummy.

We have managed to actually get a few things planted and a bunch more ground cleared to plant…

Now we can easily access "Starclucks"

Now we can easily access “Starclucks”

Since the mower was still running I started “hacking out” the area around “STARCLUCKS” our hen house. Since Aimee and her daughters are living here at O.O.C. now, we will be buying a new flock of hens. Nothing beats fresh squeezed cackle-berries. The girls will be around to tend the flock while Lucy and I are traveling and vice versa…

I can’t stand to see plants suffer

DSCN0403

Time for a “Plant Rescue”

Tuesday, I had to pick up a few things from my local farm supply store (name omitted). I noticed, sitting out in the direct sun, a bunch of very nearly dead fruit trees. They were badly root bound and looked as if they hadn’t seen a watering can in a long, long, time. I grabbed one of the clerks and inquired “Are you just going to let all the trees die, or will you mark them down and let a customer try to save them?” She explained that she was powerless. Said the corporate office said “No markdown.” She went a step further and told me the store manager would be in the next morning. I went back, met with the manager and cut a deal to try to save seven of the trees. Two “Red Skin” peaches, one “Moorpark” apricot, two “Brown Turkey” figs and two “Golden Dorsett” apples. I am going to return on Monday and see if I can rescue the balance… I hate to see animals, people, or plants suffer.

We Triaged the trees and began treatment STAT…

Already starting to leaf out

Already starting to leaf out

After only three days in our plant ICU the Brown Turkey figs have begun to leaf-out and produce buds. It makes us so happy to see the improvement. Soon as they are deemed healthy enough to travel, they will be transported to a place of honor in our O.O.C. Orchard. Instead of being thrown into a land-fill they will be producing; shade, oxygen and delicious fruit for our family. I hope I can afford to bring the rest of them home to our fine plant rehab facility. A little love goes a long, long, way…

even the delicate Golden Dorsett apples have responded to our "CPR" (Careful Plant Revival)

even the delicate Golden Dorsett apples have responded to our “CPR” (Careful Plant Revival)

Every day Lucy and I thank GOD for our little piece of the earth. We feel very blessed to be caretakers. We also know we need to do a much better job…

Cheers, “Spokesman” Dave

 

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The evils of “WEED”

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I don’t know why, but during the summer Lucy and I let the weeds take over our garden spot.

I am sure it was a combination of; “dangerously high-temps, too much rain and very few vegetables will make it through the summer heat.” So, now it’s time (actually a little past time) to plant our Fall garden…

First step was to set up an oasis in the backyard.

At age 67, with several annoying health issues, I have to take it somewhat “Slow and Easy“. Having a place to get out of the sun for a breather and a drink of water, is a must. My EZ-UP shelter, folding camp table and plastic chair worked great. Of course, I have NPR playing on my radio. My even older friend “Sahadeo” from Guyana always says “Don’t fatigue head.” Even at 78 he is a very hard worker.

The grapes of wrath…

One end of our garden has two struggling grape vines. It was hard to see them because they were completely hidden by the much more aggressive weeds. I had to be very careful to prevent injuring them as I dug up the “bad plants”. Of course there really aren’t any “bad plants” just some that pop-up in the wrong location…

Our honeybees are just as excited by the pollen and nectar from a weed as they are about an ornamental…..

The next step will be to set up string lines to define the garden borders. Once borders are up, will remove all invasive species and begin to mulch and amend the dry, sandy soil. We use a ton of natural mulch in the form of chips from the utility crew shredders. Sometimes we get lucky and they will dump the entire load in our yard…..

We will do a little each morning and a little each evening. Mid-day temperatures are just too hot to work in. We will post follow up blogs as the garden comes together.

Thank you for looking, “Spokesman” Dave

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