(Click the pic for a larger view.)

Not many people grow gardens, at least not in my neighborhood and this amazes me. People certainly can see the food I grow if they happen to walk by. But let’s take a look for ourselves!

Whoops, I think we made the wrong turn out the front door.

Of course, the gardenia is this way and it’s a wonderful place to visit any time of day, especially when it’s blooming.

Too many blooms to count-well over three hundred!

Yep! Shadow’s there to block our way. I said, “To the garden!” and Shadow’s like, “What?”

Well, the bird bath looks good so we’ll turn around and head in the right direction.

That’s better! Just past the fig tree (on the left) is our destination.

A few musings as we go: I often share the fruits of my labor with neighbors throughout the year. Our oranges bear November thru April and various garden grown veggies come in during the spring and fall!

My back Florida room is often filled with pickings…these are oranges and grapefruit-the last pick of the season. Greening is a disease that is wiping out much of Floridan’s citrus crop and several of my trees, the Valencia especially, are affected as well. I tried mixing some of the green oranges in with good ones for juice but, really, those are a loss.

Hello! Writing books while surrounded by the last orange pick as herbs dry on tin foil behind me.

We all read headlines about the chemicals used on many store-bought foods as well as the gigantic recalls of food for different reasons, so why wouldn’t people want to grow their own food as much as possible and skirt around chemical usage? Of course, more and more naturally grown  food options are becoming available, but unless you’re at a farmer’s market there’s a shipping time to consider when it comes to the freshness of the food you buy.*

Hmmm, we’re almost at the garden. The one minute walk is quicker than any car drive I might make to a nearby store; there are no lines to stand and wait on in a garden, but there’s another VERY important point to growing food. Recent studies show the actual nutritional value of store-bought produce has declined over the years.**

Here we are.  A perimeter row of marigolds are nice to see and may help cut down on the aphid population. (To the left of the post is an orange mint herb plant…wonderful. Parsley, sage, basil, rosemary, thyme, oregano and dill grow nearby.)

Because I’m crusty old, stubborn—maybe stupid—I still water my garden using two sprinklers set five feet high on opposite corners…I figure the water falls like rain so what’s not to like? There’s so much more to write here. Briefly, I figure rain is the natural growing environment for any plant, with the rain drops stimulating the leaves as they fall, so why do studies show underground irrigation and other newer techniques of watering give higher yields? Maybe, the water amount is the only major factor in growth, period.

So if you click on the picture above you might see several very large leafy plants(one near middle post) that are collard greens. I point these out because they were actually planted last September and have been yielding greens ever since last October! The taller tomatoes in the background are about six feet tall.

Below, just off-center to the right, is a broccoli plant that was planted along with the greens and it has also been giving broccoli for the past 8 months.

Shadow used to help me weed and dig the garden AND eat green beans right off the plants as I picked them. This went on for his first two years of life. Now, he seems to know he’s a dog and simply lets me do all the work and turns his nose up at fresh green beans. Still, he can’t help but lick his lips when we go out there. Me, too!

You know? I think I’ll go smell those gardenia flowers, again.

Cheers- thanks for stopping by!

Franque23

** http://www.nbcnews.com/id/37396355/ns/health-diet_and_nutrition/t/nutritional-value-fruits-veggies-dwindling/#.Wv8JQDQvzcs