While I do not consider us prolific gardeners (yet), I would say that this year we have proven that we are getting a little bit better at growing our own food. It could be the change of climate. Since we are in north Florida now, we have a little bit more wiggle room with regards to plants. We are no longer limited to those plants that thrive in the tropics. Now, we have tomatoes and squash and cucumbers. Then, there's the beans and the okra and the calabaza pumpkins (a heat-loving variety that is ripening as we speak). We also bought most of our starter plants at the local farmer's market – a prefect place to know what is in season and what we should avoid in the Florida heat. Did I mention that we also have grown watermelons? Successfully? The kids couldn't have been more excited…and neither could we.
And, just for record keeping for next year — the cherry tomatoes have done well, though they've stayed small. We've still harvested at least a pint between the two plants. The zuccinin did not like the 10 hours of direct sunlight in this Florida heat. They should be planted in partial shade. The yellow-orange lemon boys have produced at least 45 tomatoes, not to mention the six or seven that Calum has pulled off and were too little or green to ripen. And, there are still another 45 on the plants. (It's hard to squash that harvesting excitement, though, we are trying to redirect it just a bit).
Our two watermelon plants (one seedless, one seeded) have both actually grown to a the size of a small basketball. This is much more than we thought due to the fact that we had planted them in the space where we took down three of our trees (and we worried the soil was a bit lax, but a little fish emulsion seemed to help with that).
I realize that people have been growing their own food for thousands of years. I know this. But, man, it is really cool when we do it ourselves. We already have a plan to increase our food production space (thank you, Backyard Homestead). We will amend our soil with compost in the next few months and get ready to start again in October. We may even try our hand at growing some of our plants from seed. Who knows. Either way, we know we've been bitten by this bug. A self-sufficiency bug? A save-the-planet kind of bug? A clean-food bug? The nice thing is…we think our kids have been bitten too.