Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Summer Veggies

Summers in South Florida are usually hot, wet and 
high season for insects-not the best time to grow 
most vegetables.However if you are adventurous
and like to try new fruits and vegetables, there are 
some tasty delights that will grow quite well through 
the summer.

Both of the plants featured here are from seed 
collected from the original free plants we brought
home from a Redland Tropical Fruit & Vegetable Society 
monthly meeting at the Fruit & Spice Park 

Hibiscus sabdariffa, also known as Florida cranberry is a beautiful plant with striking red stems and pale pink-yellow flowers with a red center. After the flower petals drop the swollen red calyx can be peeled from the seed pod and used to make a cranberry like drink that can be served hot or cool. 

These can be used fresh or  dried and
 stored for later use. I used bit of honey 
to  sweeten and served the tea warm, 
 the flavor was wonderful and fragrant.


Luffa cylindrica
is a gourd or squash that can be eaten raw like cucumber when young
 (less than 6”) or cooked like a squash. The flowers can also be
 prepared like squash blossoms and eaten.  You could try these
 when young and also allow some to mature and harvest for the 
sponge like interior. 
Link to this EDIS publication for
 additional information Gourd, Luffa. 

As always with additions to the
garden/landscape check if the
plant is listed as invasive on 
 Florida Invasive Pest Council and
USDA Invasives and  Noxious list for Florida  

Even if a new (to you) plant is not listed as invasive it would
 be wise to monitor its growth and how easily it reseeds 
itself in the garden.  You can control some readily self-seeding
 plants by collecting seeds before they fall and by removing 
escaped seedlings before they become rampant throughout
 the landscape.

P.S. Gardening should still be in the planning stages until
 rainy season arrives unless of course you have rain barrels!

P.P.S. We have seeds to share, come to the next
Rain Barrel/Water Conservation Workshop 
at the South Miami Farmers Market on May 12th.

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