Sunday, April 5, 2009

Roots and Shoots

Growing anything in Florida, if you are from the North like me, requires a complete change of seasonal thinking. Right now in April we are in the peak of tomato season, the last part of strawberry season and the tail end of citrus season. In New Jersey I would be planting peas about now and 45 days away from planting tomatoes. Contrary to what I thought prior to moving here, Florida produces very good tomatoes out of a town called Ruskin and Plant City is the strawberry capitol of the east. Their strawberry festival in February brings in top entertainment and attracts thousands of visitors from all over the country. The strawberries are some of the best I have ever eaten.

What grows indoors up north in interior landscaping is used for exterior here. Even Cactus can thrive here outdoors if given the proper care. This plant, a tricolored Peperomia, pictured here, was a house plant that traveled in the back seat and slept in our room on the trip down here. It has been very happy living in the Florida sun where it was originally potted by Englemanns 7 years ago. It was three leaves when I bought it for 89 cents in Frank's in Wall NJ.

Once the hot weather arrives in May most gardeners here go in the air conditioning and do not come out until October when it begins to cool off again. The rainy season soon arrives keeps the tropical vegetation happy and the mangoes become ripe and ready to hop into the blender to become a Mangorita.

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