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Saturday, August 11, 2018

Consensing my blog: PLEASE READ

LOTS of things are happening in my life so there have been many less posts than usual.

Long story short, John needs a pool, and we will be moving late October to another location in Lehigh. I figure this is a great opportunity to condense my last blog data into a new one. A wiser one. 

Please visit: karenthegardenlady.blogspot.com and hit the subscribe button if you want to know how I handle a partially wooded lot, grow food, add color, butterflies, and survive frosts in SW FL.

The main photo at the new blog is my OLD garden. Work with me ladies and gents.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

FREE Fall/Winter/Early Spring SEEDS

Lee County 4-H Youth offer FREE seeds
For the fourth year in a row, the 4-H youth community have been gifted seeds by Rural King of Bonita Springs. This year, Lowes of Cape Coral has also donated their excess seed. As one of the youth community service projects, members sort the donated seed packets to
create a variety pack then offer it to the public at no charge.
Free Fall vegetable seeds are available at
Veterans Park Rec Center at 55 Homestead Road South in Lehigh Acres. For Rec Center hours or directions, call 239-369-1521.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Baking a Difference

This is the youth I mentor...

Fourteen year old Dominique Desir spent her summer vacation baking goodies for the Lehigh Acres’ Sheriff’s Office. She even grew the pumpkins that she used in her pies, muffins, breads, and cobblers.

Sergeant Drum and all of his deputies showed up at the garden to thank her for her wonderful home cooking and to present her with two aprons.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Cucumbers versus Pickling Melon in SWFL Summers

Volunteer cucumber above.


Pickling melon plant above, fruit shown below.

Neither of these were sprayed with organic controls.

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.