This summer felt like it dragged on. Has anyone else been feeling this way lately? We continued to deal with the changes and challenges caused by COVID-19. Florida summers are also hot, humid, and full of thunderstorms. It’s a season where not much grows due to the heat and humidity. But despite the dog days of summer, there have been many things that I have been thankful for this season, some of which are included in this Summer 2020 Garden Update.
This summer I was thankful for the beach. There’s so much I enjoy about the beach — the warmth of the sun and the vitamin D it provides, the grounding by the shore, the fresh air, and the relaxing sound of the waves. This summer I’ve gone to beaches I’ve never been to before, as well as old-time favorites. It’s a pleasure living somewhere with access to the beach pretty much all year round.
As always, I was thankful for the knowledge that is readily available to us these days. I started taking advantage of Audible this summer. While I prefer the written form of books, audiobooks are great for when you’re doing something else (driving, walking, folding laundry…). This summer a couple of books I’ve read and enjoyed included Love Wins by Rob Bell and Food: What The Heck Should I Eat? by Mark Hyman, MD. Love Wins is a bit of a controversial book dealing with the Christian faith. I found it refreshing and thought-provoking. At the end of the day, I think the truth can handle questions, and it’s OK to ask them.
Food: What The Heck Should I Eat? is probably my favorite book so far when it comes to what is healthy and nutritious to eat. After you read it once it makes for a great reference book and I’m personally a fan of Dr. Hyman. As we discover more over time we learn that foods we originally thought were healthy (or unhealthy) have changed. But I think we intuitively know what is healthy — an organic whole-foods, plant-based diet. This is why having an organic garden is so great!
This summer I also decided to go back to school! I’ll be learning a lot from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition over the next year to become a holistic health coach, and I’ll be sharing my journey along with tips under the Heal section of this site.
I’ve also been thankful for the opportunity to connect with friends that I haven’t seen in years. I’m reminded of the vital importance of connection and I am especially thankful for who I’ve had the opportunity to share part of my life with.
What’s Growing Summer 2020
And of course, I’m thankful for my garden!
In June my elderberry bushes ripened with bunches of fruit for the first time. They grew from elderberry cuttings I purchased at a plant sale about 2 years ago. Currently, the bushes are being kept it two pots. This is the first year they’ve blossomed and fruited. I had about a dozen clusters of berries like the ones below.
I am happy to announce that in July I harvested my first pineapple! My pineapple took 2 years to grow, with the last 6 months fruiting. It changed colors over the course of what felt like a week. I’ll admit I probably should have picked it the moment I started to smell it. Ideally, only 2/3 of the pineapple should have changed color before I picked it. But it was still delicious. 🍍
In August one of my Meyers lemons started to turn yellow. My sister-in-law introduced me to these and I was amazed the first time I tried one. They’re sweet enough to eat, unlike the ones you typically find at the store.
I also harvest about 10 lbs of tomatoes during the beginning of summer. This season I grew smaller tomato varieties (Moneymaker, San Marzano, and Roma). I find they do better in the heat compared to larger varieties like Brandywine. I also want to point out I started growing this tomato plants in the spring. Starting tomatoes during the summer is rough here in Florida.
Here’s what was growing this summer in hardiness zone 9b:
Vegetables: Cucumbers, green beans, green onions, okra, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and onions.
Fruit: Blueberries, Key limes, limequats, Meyers lemon, pineapple, raspberries, and strawberries.
Flowers: Mexican heather, mums, roses, and zinnias.
Herbs: Basil, chives, elderberry, parsley, and tulsi.
Summer 2020 Happenings and Shenanigans
This summer I cleaned up my garden in preparation for the fall season. I also purchased a Persian lime tree and a honey tangerine tree. They’re both about a foot tall, so it might be a couple of years before they start producing fruit — but I couldn’t resist the purchase! These will be added to the citrus collection, which currently consists of Meyers lemon, Key lime, and limequat.
I also started taking down one of my raised beds. The wood boards reached their expiration date and I decided to wait before I install a new raised bed. It will be less to maintain for the season. This fall I will just be using 2 raised beds and a few pots.
I’d love to hear how you enjoyed your summer and what you grew! Comment below. 😊
Wherever you are in the world, I wish you peace, joy, and happiness. ❤️
Until next time, Happy Gardening!