Oh, boy. Mandie missed the boat on the broccoli. It bolted to flower. — a definite problem with the heat of Florida. Broccoli prefers cooler weather — cooler soil, actually — and does not do well in extended warm temperatures. When it starts to flower, you don’t want to eat it. It’s basically bitter and tough. Eck.
The same thing happened to my spinach. It was moving along quite well until we had a week of warm weather in early April and then — BAM — shoots sprung straight up from the center. The leaves changed shape and I had to remove the plants from the garden and place them in the compost pile. At least they’re contributing to future growth if not my dinner plate.
But I guess that’s what they mean when they say “there’s a season for everything.” You eat strawberries in the spring and spinach in the winter — in Florida. Some crops like potatoes and onions, etc. can be grown spring and fall, but others like broccoli and spinach simply can’t hack the heat. Not that I blame them. Summer is vacation time in my book — vacation time away from the heat!
But there is good news. (No, she didn’t get her dirt, yet.) The carrots are filling in nicely and the tomatoes are growing bushier by the day. They need trimming and pinching, respectively, but both are doing quite well.
Remember: when your carrots get to this stage, you want to “trim” them to thin them out. Basically, the goal is to cut down on overcrowding, allowing each sprout the room to fill out mature into a nice sized carrot.
If you don’t thin them, your carrots won’t have room to grow and you’ll end up with a bunch of tiny carrots. Cute, maybe, but not great for eating.
Meanwhile, you should be pinching those tomatoes. Any shoots that form between the main stems should be “pinched” off so that nutrients can be directed toward the larger stems.
An overgrown tomato plant may look full and lush, but I’ve found the tomatoes tend to be weaker and more susceptible to disease than when they have strong branches and good air flow.
The healthier your plants, the less likely they are to fall prey to nature’s pests! It’s one of the hallmarks of organic gardening. Keep them healthy and strong and you’ll have less need for pesticides.
In my garden, I noticed a sweet little ladybug had come to feed. Perfect. She’s welcome anytime. Along with her friend the dragonfly. Both are “natural pesticides” in the garden. So are spiders, but I find myself stepping on those bad boys. A habit I’m working to break!
So keep up the good work, Mandie! Things are looking good!