Poinciana

Poinciana

There isn’t a single week of the year, that something isn’t blooming in South Florida. Large tropical trees are usually the most dramatic bloomers. And at this time of year, the  Poinciana is probably the most prominent tree. Mostly, it blooms a deep fiey, scarlet-red. But there are also yellow varieties which I occasionally see around town. The contrast of greens to the reds are […]

Passion Fruit

Passion Fruit

Finally, after about 18 months, we’ve got them! Passion Fruit vines are easy to grow in South Florida, as few pests or diseases bother them. Their lush, deep green leaves and large, showy flowers are beautiful. And they easily yield fruit once the task of hand pollination is applied. The fruit starts out like a egg sized green tomato. Gradually, its density decreases. The skin […]

Florida Papaya

Florida Papaya

Heirloom tomatoes are hard to grow in South Florida. We’ve struggled to grow them here. But Papaya sure isn’t. The trees are actually a large herb. They: are fast growers produce heavily require little attention yield fruit most of the year Like many tropical plants, papayas produce a copious amount of latex to protect themselves and their immature fruit from pests.  And it works most […]

South Florida Tomatoes

South Florida Tomatoes

Tomato time! It’s that time of year in South Florida. A time when rapid adolescent plant growth, fueled by ideal conditions, slows. And that’s both good and bad. The good: the plants are large, luscious and beautiful it’s still cool enough for tomatoes to set fruit Florida tomato season is at it’s peak the odor of fresh tomato sandwiches fills the house The bad: pathogens […]

Mob Grazing

Mob Grazing

Three years ago, I shared  Allan Savory’s Ted talk about Sustainable Grazing. It was a novel idea at the time. But not anymore. Allan Savory’s observations are the basis for mob grazing which is now being promoted by Agriculture researchers, extension agencies and state governments,  as a way to increase the production, health and well-being of the cattle industry, while healing the land. Those who […]

The Farm – A Year Later

The Farm – A Year Later

It’s been about a year since starting our Florida farm. A farm on our little Florida retirement lot? Not. It’s just a phrase relatives use when referring to our suburban growing obsession. Here’s how it looked through time: It is an obsession, as it’s much harder than most people think to grow stuff in Florida. With salty beach sand for soil, and the myriad endemic […]

Chocolate Pudding Fruit

Chocolate Pudding Fruit

It’s a late Florida December and Black Sapote, the chocolate pudding fruit is ripe. Now, I must admit that, until now, I’d never tasted, seen, or heard of such a thing. They’re a neat fruit that looks like a large, tough skinned, avocado green, persimmon. They come in different sizes. These are about the size of a grapefruit. Like persimmons, they need a few days […]

The Future of Flying Robots

The Future of Flying Robots

I’m inspired by the honeybee, flight, nature, agriculture and computing. What can a group of smart guys do with this same inspiration? At his lab at the University of Pennsylvania, Vijay Kumar and his team have created autonomous aerial robots inspired by honeybees. Their latest breakthrough: Precision Farming, in which swarms of robots map, reconstruct and analyze every plant and piece of fruit in an […]

Passion Plant

Passion Plant

The Passion plant is blooming. Beautiful! I watched a small, shy, metallic green bee work the blossoms. After trying to get a good image of him, he finally let me know that my presence was annoying. Maybe he was just hungry after the rain. Or maybe he was defending some territory from his own image reflected in the camera lens. This bee is too small to pollinate […]

Home Grown Pineapple

Home Grown Pineapple

It’s been a year since moving to Florida. And it’s time to harvest our first pineapple. Yep, it takes a year to grow the first one. A quick twist separates the fruit from a new transplant and next year’s pineapple. This pineapple tastes as different as it looks. It is low acid, has a mild pineapple flavor with tropical fruit overtones. And it lacks the […]

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