Hobo's blog

Hobo Hudson, business dog, author and farmer, shares his latest news and stories about his life and gives prudent advice to his fellow dogs, cats and other animals—humans included.


Friday, July 1, 2011

Florida Gardening—Part 2

By Hobo Hudson

After about a week, Dad and I had all the old garden area dug up and the dirt shaken from the grass roots so the grass would dry and die. To see what Dad had been talking about earlier, I had googled “compost” and found it was merely old rotted vegetation. I also found out our county dump in Hillsborough County conducts a composting operation and will give compost free to the public.

I ordered Dad to throw his shovel and some plastic bags into the back of our car, and off we went to the dump. Upon arriving, I had Dad half-fill the bags so they wouldn’t be too heavy. When he was done, we loaded them into the car and returned home. After I had given Dad permission to go inside the house to relax a few minutes, I put a couple of bags at a time into my little red wagon and hauled them out back to the garden area.

As it turned out, we had collected a sufficient amount of compost to cover the entire garden area with about 2 inches of compost, which Dad thought would be enough. He spaded about a foot deep and thoroughly mixed the compost with the soil, giving it a nice black color. Of course, Dad had done a soil analysis earlier, and since we knew the soil was a little acidic, he had thrown a small amount of pelletized lime over the area before he started spading.

Dad and I had completed all this work by mid-August, which is much too soon for us to plant a crop here in Florida, but it was the right time to start seeds in little peat pots that could be transplanted into the garden about the first of October. We went to town and started looking for seeds. Imagine our surprise when we couldn’t find seeds anywhere!

To occupy our time while waiting for the stores to restock their seed supply, we decided to work on our own compost. Dad explained there were two ways to make compost. We could either make a big pile of grass, leaves and any other kind of vegetation we could find, or we could simply spread all that material out over the garden area and let nature take its course, like it happens in the wild. Dad said he likes the second method because the material acts as mulch, keeping weeds down and the ground moist.

Since a large part of our mulch would be leaves, Dad decided to build a frame of two-by-fours around the garden to keep the leaves from blowing away and also, to keep our lawn man out of the garden. To my surprise, one garden bed turned out to be exactly 4 feet wide by 16 feet long, a multiple of four. The other bed was only 4 feet by 8 feet,  but Dad told me there was another 16 feet in that bed we hadn’t dug up yet, and we would dig it up during the winter when the weather was cooler.

Anyway, we raked enough oak leaves off our lawn to put a thin layer over all the garden area and covered the leaves with the dried grass from our earlier efforts. Since oak leaves have a lot of acid, Dad sprinkled a little more pelletized lime and also a little fertilizer over the entire mess, watered everything lightly and then, we sat back and waited.

When the weather began to cool slightly about the first of October, Dad and I noticed a few seed packages appear in the stores again, and we latched onto them. Dad grouched that it was now too late to plant tomatoes, but he wanted to try it anyway. Starting out, we devoted an entire frame of the garden to black eye peas, then a single row of tomatoes in another frame along with four eggplants, a row of cucumbers and some sweet onions down the center. A few cabbage seeds went into peat pots to be transplanted in November when the weather got cooler. 

To be continued

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My name is Hobo Hudson. I’ve always considered myself a terrier mix, and I’m going to leave it at that. I used to share my mom’s website writing about my life, but Mom’s stories somehow got in my way. So, I deemed it more appropriate to open my own blog, which also allows me to engage my siblings in writing posts if I’m running short on time. After all, I’m a busy dog. My mom helps me with my blog now and then, but I think it’s only to safeguard my good reputation. Her website, newsandtales.com, contains some great stories.
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Bruny Hudson
Bruny Hudson, manager and editor of Newsandtales.com, assists as a consultant with Hobo’s blog.
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