South Florida’s Wilting Summer
Florida summers are ‘off time’ for gardeners, and I am no exception. What the plague of worms, six-legged pests, fungus and nematodes didn’t get last spring, the Florida heat and oppressive humidity of the summer would wilt. Start up for the garden will be sometime in October.
In the meantime, a little history about the gardeners in the family…
L. V. Steinhoff
L. V. Steinhoff, Great Grandfather
L.V. Steinhoff was my husband’s father. He had his garden on about 1.5 acres of a 13-acre piece of land in Dutchtown, MO. Besides green beans, tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, etc., he had fruit trees. There were Red and Golden Delicious apples, peaches, and pears. Also, there were a few black walnut trees and a pecan tree. Part of the 13 acres was sharecropped, so the family was given corn some summers. The remainder of the 13 acres was used for storage for his construction business.
Christina Diebold Hoffman
Christina Hoffman was my grandmother. Her garden covered all of her back yard. This picture, taken in 1983, shows Grandma standing in one side of it. She grew and canned nearly everything we ate when I was a kid. She also had the traditional green beans, lettuce, tomatoes and peppers like my husband’s father. There were no fruit trees, but she planted so many other things. She grew cabbage, turnips, kohlrabies, all sorts of greens, dill for pickling her cucumbers, zucchini, garlic, green onions, and many other things that I just don’t remember. My favorites were okra and rhubarb. I still grow okra every season. I never get tired of it.
Every couple of years, Grandma would grow horseradish. The most vivid memory I have of her preserving what she grew was when she would process the horseradish. It was intense. Eyes watered and noses burned for a block around her house.
My son, Matthew, Malcolm’s father, was introduced to gardening early. His grandfather, L.V. Steinhoff, had beautiful peppers, but Matt preferred a Golden Delicious apple from one of his grandfather’s trees.
It took Matt a while… about 30 years… to plant his first garden. He planted various trees in Orlando and Palm Beach Gardens prior to the garden, but he built his first raised garden in 2009.
And we come to Malcolm…
My grandson, Malcolm, is keeping the tradition of growing your own. He began by helping his father, Matt (creator of this blog in 2009), build and plant the first raised garden. He is an exceptional green bean taster.
During the past two years, Malcolm has helped me plant, among other things, his own packet of pumpkin seeds, and he watered my garden many times when he came to visit. Occasionally, he would pull a few weeds. This season, I plan to give him his own corner of the garden for whatever he would like to grow. Wonder what it will be.