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Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Plants are Weird

This pineapple has decided to give birth to a twin top! I hope to separate the two and plant both separately.

Need to learn how to grow pineapples in SW Florida? 

Click this link to read prior posts:

Thursday, July 5, 2018



... effective July 17, 2018, Saw Palmetto will be included in the Exploited Plant list in Florida.

This means that it is unlawful for any person to willfully destroy or harvest such plant without first obtaining written permission from the landowner and a permit from the state. Any person transporting for the purpose of sale, selling or offering for sale such plant must have a permit in his/her immediate possession.

It is unlawful for any person to falsify any paperwork/document that permits another person to destroy or harvest such plant.

ANY person transporting or conveying on any public road or highway must have a permit in his/her immediate possession. Any person who violates, commits a Misdemeanor of the 1st Degree and is subject to be arrested.


Saturday, June 16, 2018

Seminole Pumpkin Pancakes

The husband stated these are KEEPERS.

Seminole Pumpkin Pancakes

Bowl one mix
3/4 Cup flour
1/4 Teaspoon salt
1.5 Tablespoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
small handful of chocolate chips

Bowl two mix
1 egg
2 HEAPING HEAPING Tablespoons of cooked Seminole pumpkin
1/4 Cup Milk

Slowly add bowl one to bowl two.

If mix is not pour-able, add milk a Tablespoon at a time.

Makes three full sized pancakes. 

More on growing Seminole Pumpkins here: https://growagardener.blogspot.com/search?q=seminole

Upcoming classes to mark on your calendar

Upcoming classes 

Lee County Master Gardeners Present

LIMITED to 30 participants.

Lee County Master Gardeners, Lee County 4-H, and Lee Parks and Recreation are hosting a Youth Gardening Camp Day on Thursday, July 12th from 9am–3pm at the Lee County 4-H Building located at 2000 N Recreation Park Way in North Fort Myers. The 4-H Building is located on the property between the football fields. The workshop is open to youth ages 9-18 and 4-H membership is not required. COST: $10. The camp fee includes all supplies plus pizza lunch.

This year's theme will be INSECTS in the garden including bees, butterflies, ladybugs, and fire ants. In addition, each youth will make an origami seed packet, seed tape, melon seed craft, newspaper pots, and more.

Sign up here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/youth-summer-gardening-camp-day-tickets-43827467134

For more information contact Lee County 4-H Agent Cathy Suggs at 239.850.4175 or Lee County Master Gardener Karen Harty at 610.530.8883.

If you are an adult and would like this same camp for a day, please contact Karen Harty at 610.530.8883. 


REGISTRATION REQUIRED. I will be teaching 4-H youth and parent Citrus how-to for SWFL Fair on Saturday, September 29th 2018 at Veterans Park Rec Center in Lehigh from 10am to 3pm. This is a Master Gardener level class in an easy-to-understand presentation filled with tons of information on growing citrus in SWFL. There were about 50 youth participants and 50 adult attendees to this class last year.

Adult NON-4H attendees: REGISTRATION REQUIRED. Suggested donation is $20 for the class only. Trees will be available for purchase directly from a nurseryman (cash only). Bring your own lunch.


REGISTRATION REQUIRED. I will be teaching 4-H youth and parent Tomato how-to for SWFL Fair on Saturday, November 10th 2018 at Veterans Park Rec Center in Lehigh from 12pm to 3pm. This is a Master Gardener level class in an easy-to-understand presentation filled with tons of information on growing tomatoes in SWFL. This is our first year.

Adult NON-4H attendees: REGISTRATION REQUIRED. Suggested donation is $10 for the class only.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Choosing a Yam to Grow

Boy are there lots of varieties of yam. Some are edible. Some have edible leaves. Some are only used for medicine.

Below I am chatting about C variety Dioscorea polystachya
  • "Just like Rambo movies, there is Yam A, Yam B and, yes, a Yam C, the Chinese Wild Yam or the Cinnamon Vine yam, either way we get Yam C, botanical name,  Dioscorea polystachya aka D. oppositifolia (Dye-os-KOH-ree-uh or in Greek thee-oh-skor-REE-uh)   [op-os-i-ti-FOH- lee-uh].  Dioscorea oppositifolia only grows in India, where I presume it is eaten. D. polystachya is the one growing in North America. D. oppositifolia is called by some websites D. batata. Regardless, the accepted name for now for the Chinese Yam is Dioscorea polystachya." (quoted from Eattheweeds.com)
I purchased a "ñame" Yam C variety tuber at Walmart to try. Cutting off the thick, woody peel left me with a slippery tuber (yams are slippery when cut) that I cut into pieces and tossed into water so it did not brown. It was sauteed with a blend of other root vegetables and sausage. The taste was similar to Irish potato with a very dry and fluffy texture. This variety would be perfect for mashed "potato" or soup. I am going to try several varieties of Yam C before making my decision on which to grow in my garden. 

Based on research and not on personal experience (yet) here are my findings...

Do NOT eat raw.

Growing: Probably best to grow in pots where it can be contained. Yam C can become invasive if aerial tubers are not harvested.

Parts to eat: Underground and aerial tubers.

Propagation: Cut and plant the ends of the yam (with at least two inches), plant aerial tubers, vine cuttings.

Ready to eat: Tubers ready in 4 to 6 months. If left in the ground tubers can grow massive.

NOTE: I did not find any notations of sweet potato weevils or root knot nematode damage however the ñame I purchased appeared to have minor root knot nematode damage.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Pumpkin Dessert Recipe

Pumpkin Dessert Recipe

In a large bowl mix:
2 cups roasted pumpkin
1 cup evaporated milk
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (I add nutmeg and allspice too)
Pour into a 9x13 pan that is lightly coated

Mix in another large bowl:
1.5 cup sugar
1.5 cup flour (I use white Whole Wheat)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 Tablespoons corn starch
Sprinkle this evenly on top

Melt in a bowl:
2 sticks butter (I nuke the sticks on high for one minute then stir them up until fully melted. If using a glass pan, put a cookie sheet under the pan before putting in oven.

325º for one hour and 10 minutes. If using a glass pan, put a cookie sheet under the pan. Check that the very center has set and is not wet. If it is wet, add another 5 minutes.

Remove. Allow to cool to warm. Serve with ice cream.

This recipe is a real hit with my husband! 

More on growing Seminole Pumpkins here: https://growagardener.blogspot.com/search?q=seminole

Friday, June 1, 2018

Harvesting and Storing Pigeon Peas


There are small insects that love pigeon peas. I grow a bush version both the ground and in pots but must keep an eye on the pods for holes to know if the bugs got into them. Certain times of the year, I can lose the entire harvest. This fall, winter, and spring have been great for my pigeon peas. This bush version can take quite a hair cut when the get leggy and usually produce at least a second time before dying off. 

Watch the pods for the color change right before they turn dark brown and harvest then. Most of them will contain peas that are not dried or fully dried. Personally I let the pods dry on the counter so they are easier to open, then collect all the peas, if needed I dry them more on the counter, then bag and freeze them for a few days before adding to my storage jar. This prevents hidden insects from chowing down inside my jar of peas without my knowledge. 

My favorite recipe for pigeon peas is to add them to rice. Using a large, wide pot, soak long grain rice with pigeon peas before cooking. Add a bit more water than the volume of rice and peas. Example: 1/2 cup pigeon peas, 3/4 cup rice, a bit more than 1-1/4 cup water. Soak for at least an hour but I have soaked for 6 hours too. Bring to a boil. If there is not enough water to do this, add just enough to bring to a boil. Cover and do not open until you serve rice. Turn heat down to simmer for 15 minutes then turn off heat completely and allow pan to sit on the warm burner for at least 20 minutes. This works great when you are not sure when you will be eating dinner. Last night it sat for 2 hours while I waited for my husband to wake up. He likes his rice/pigeon peas with any kind of sauce. My favorite is to add lentils to the pea/rice mix then after cooking stir in hot taco sauce and cheese.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Updated EASY Veggie/Fruit Breads

After making batch after batch of these breads, this has become my standard for making fruit/veggie bread. I love easy...

Preheat oven to 350º

Mix well in bowl 1:
About 2 cups mashed or grated garden item such as bananas, sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkin. They can be raw or cooked.
Dash molasses (I use blackstrap)
2 eggs
4 tablespoons melted butter
dash vanilla

Mix well in bowl 2:
1.25 cups sugar
2 cups flour (I use King Arthur WHITE Whole Wheat)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt 

I mix "bowl 2" in bulk. Each recipe fits perfectly into a 24 oz, wide mouth canning jar. That way I can just pull a jar from my pantry and add the wet ingredients.

Bread addition ideas:
Cinnamon (I use up to 2 teaspoons per batch)
Allspice (just a tad)
Nutmeg (just a tad)
Chocolate chips (1-2 handfuls)
Chopped nuts (1-2 handfuls to mix or sprinkled on top)
Raisins (1-2 handfuls)
Edible seeds (1-2 handfuls)

Mix dry into wet
Mix should be glossy. If not, add water (I use potato water) a tablespoon at a time until there is a gloss. My carrot version consistently needs water added.

Spray nonstick, then fill pan(s)

Times are approximate:
350º for 60 minutes in one bread loaf
350º for 45 minutes for two bread loaves
350º for 30 minutes for cupcakes

If you don't have a cupcake tin, use narrow mouth canning jar screw lid rims.  These are carrot and raisin muffins ready for the oven.