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a chronicle of tips and recipes on everything from gardening to canning and baking your produce, even if you're planted in suburbia...in fact, especially if you are planted in suburbia.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Garden Pilgrimage: Container Gardening in Florida

 Monday was Move-it Monday at Florida Friend's house--move-it as in move the seedlings that are already deciding to flower into permanent pots and relocating some of the herbs to better pots--some even as far as to a neighbor's house down the street. 

Previously, all my experience with gardening away from my own "zone" on the planter's guide has been of the spectator variety.  I've been to botanical gardens and seen delightful vistas, with only the occasionally glimpse of an unobtrusive gardener working quietly in some almost hidden place, but I didn't get anywhere close to the hands in the dirt side of gardening. 
 But this garden pilgrimagedid get my hands in the dirt, and I found it to be a unique opportunity to compare the planting plans of a gardener whose mind is in zone 5 to that of the gardener in zone 8.  For instance...
 ...as she potted the two pepper plants, she thought out loud, "If I plant the peppers here and here, then even after they're big, I could grab the pot easily if I need to move it quickly for a hurricane..."  Not a concern I ever face in the land-locked Midwestern garden.
 The fact that it's a container garden at all is another example of the difference in our soil types.  If you could combine my clay-heavy plot with her sand-heavy soil, you could get a nice loamy medium, but unfortunately, bringing a truck load of clay down to exchange for sand in kind isn't practical.  Where I live, incorporating seasoned manure and bags of peat help enough to make the ground usable, but for her to grow tomatoes and peppers, she is almost dependent on the soil she brings in with containers.
 A big magnolia tree is yet another yard feature that must be considered. While I have a maple that is shading more of the yard every year, I still have a large patch that is sunny from dawn until dusk.  She, however, must calculate where to put the pots.  The tomatoes are getting a trial run here at the foot of the steps of her deck.  If all goes well, they'll continue residing there permanently across the block from the ghost peppers California Friend sent her.
Last but not least, the topsy turvy found temporary hanging space on a shepherd's hook, but might relocate to a higher location if a sturdy enough support can be found, which puts me in mind of a last observation:  some things are the same in all gardeners' worlds.  One of them is not so much environmental as incidental:  plan for things to not go as planned.  For example, allow time for an extra run to the store to buy that other bag or two of potting soil you find you need, and don't be surprised if you don't need a bungee cord somewhere before it's all said and done.

Happy migrating!

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