The Garden Finalists

It smells so good outside. We have had days of rain – days, as in plural! – and I’m really trying to enjoy the scent of all this clean rain by opening the windows. It just figures that this kind of “spring renewal” would bring out not only the chattering squirrels and chirping birds, but also Crazy Rex. He is in his backyard at this moment banging around with some metal sheets and drums. Please, sometime in my life, can I live somewhere not also inhabited by a noisy, crazy, half-naked neighbor? Oh, he just broke out with a ground-rattling power drill…

Anyway, I am finally getting things done in the garden, or at least getting things started in order to get things done in the garden, and have decided on what will be going into the 4×4 raised beds.  There is no guarantee that all of my selections will even fit, but I have researched enough to ensure that half of these seeds could even be successful if I planted them in pots.  I looked through many websites that seemed to specialize in Florida planting as well as encourage beginners with certain varieties of seeds to work with.

The ability to thrive in full sun is the number one attribute I look for in anything that goes into my garden. I also have to expect poor drainage and roots fighting for nutrients in such a compact space. I have a trellis to help with the cucumbers and blue larkspur so I hope that opens up at least another foot to separate a few things.


Cosmic Purple carrots – I knew all along these were going to be in the garden. What I didn’t know was if they could grow successfully here in Florida.  It turns out they are very well-suited for humidity.  Plus, they are my favorite color. That’s a good enough reason for me!

Australian Yellow loose-leaf lettuce – I read in numerous places that this type of lettuce is a sweet lettuce.  After my surprising encounter with endive about a year ago, I fail to find the fun in trying new varieties of lettuce.  Endive is the worst idea ever. Ick.

Ashley cucumbers – I wish I knew more about vegetables because as much as the names of such garden wares sound fanciful and pretty, I wonder if this is just your run-of-the-mill cucumber.  It doesn’t really matter. I could eat cucumbers everyday.


Blue larkspur – I hope to put these next to the cucumbers so they can both utilize the trellis and have a supportive structure to rely on.  I am not sure if the seeds I’ll be purchasing will be of the 12-inch tall variety or of the other, which tends to grow up, up, up! So it’s best to be prepared. This will also leave me with some more space ground-wise.  Larkspur is said to be a favorite among gardeners as it is easy to grow and attracts bees, butterflies, and even hummingbirds.

Nasturtium – another favorite of bees and butterflies, but this one also allows me to grow it in a contained space. If I run out of space in the 4×4, which I expect will happen, I can simply place the seeds in a large pot and be just as successful!  It sounds like a no-fail kind of flower. Let’s hope so. Also, it’s edible!

All of my seeds are organic and GMO-free (some are also heirloom varieties) and I am purchasing them from the Southern Exposure Seed Exchange. This company is dedicated to encouraging and proactively involving itself in community-based self-reliance. Now that’s just a bit outside my sphere of self-confidence as I have never before taken on anything quite this daunting (oh, the blueberries from last year were enough to drive me mad), but then again, this is all new to me. I’m happy to have the support of a company with this much knowledge and experience, but no doubt I will be returning week after week to the Beaches Green Market to supplement my veggies and fruits with the goods from others’ gardens and farms.

My reward at the end? Let’s just say the combination of my carrots, loose-leaf lettuce, and cucumbers will be a fine example of a successful salad.  And I will eat it with a smile on my face! And with nasturtium petals! And lots of pomegranate dressing!!

I’m ready to work with you, Mother Nature. Please go easy on me.


About Dena

I'm a suburban Clevelander by way of Oklahoma City, by way of North Florida, by way of Southern Maryland, by way of Upper Michigan, by way of Northern Italy, by way of Lower Michigan, by way of Texas. Because of living in so many places, I have something in common with almost everyone I meet. I love reading, writing, and American history (especially reading or writing about American history). I'm interested in culture of place, historical trauma, and writing about the kinds of histories most people don't know about.
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5 Responses to The Garden Finalists

  1. Lee I says:

    Giggling over the endive. I agree, whether you call in en-dive or ahn-deev. The deer here eat everything except daffodils and iris so I’ve got a little patch of those. Long ago I had aspirations to do a hydroponic garden on the deck and bought a pump and some other stuff, but the deer go up on the deck, too, so that plan was never implemented.

    Good eating to you!

  2. Dena says:

    I never thought anything as beautiful as endive could be so…er, musky and bitter? But alot of people seem to really like it! As far as your deer problem, I don’t have that issue. I have squirrel issues. And feral cat issues. The squirrels are jerks and dig up the strawberry plant. The feral cats at least have some manners and walk my cat home every night it seems. Then they spray my porch. Ugh.

  3. I grew cosmic purple carrots last year, too, but mine weren’t nearly as long. I shredded mine for carrot cake. :o) I also bought my seeds from Southern Exposure this year. But now you’ve given me the bug to hit up their website again for nasturtium seeds. I grow all my veggies in pots on my NanoFarm. Whatever works!! Great blog!

  4. Dena says:

    Ooooh, I could certainly learn more from you! I have so many things set to go into my garden but I know they won’t fit. I might just have to put some in pots this year! I also have not had luck with carrots. My carrots from last year were stumpy, cute and all but not much to them. However, I’m just happy when something grows!

  5. Pingback: Gift-Wrapped Seeds « Two Girls and a Road

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