February 2002 Table
The month of February should be the most productive in the vegetable garden. Early sowings such as tomatoes, peppers and eggplants should be at their peak while late-sown veggies such as lettuce, spinach and garden peas should be producing well. It will soon be time to pull carrots and onions and dig up Irish potatoes. Cabbages, cauliflower, broccoli and other cabbage clan members should also be available in the garden.
The secret to keeping your home grown vegetables coming is successive sowing. Plant peppers, lettuce and cabbages every month for at least four months to cover the full winter growing season. With tomatoes, sow new seeds when the earlier plants begin to flower. Most hot pepper trees will live for years if they are treated right: well-drained soil and minimal fertilizer.
Citrus and most fruit trees are dormant during the winter months and should not be fertilized. A dormant spray can be used to clear up any insect activity on your trees. One tree that is not dormant is mango. It would be beneficial if your mango trees could be sprayed with copper before the flowers open and after the fruit first forms. Copper helps discourage Anthracnose, those black spots and blotches that form on the skin of ripening fruits. Unfortunately, few home gardeners have a sprayer powerful enough properly treat a large mango tree.
Bulbs, corms, tubers and rhizomes are the secret to a really tropical garden. Heliconias and gingers need shade from high sun but most other bulbs and tubers - Hippeastrum, Zephyranthes, Gladiolus, Canna, Caladium, etc - love full sun but choose their own flowering season. Hippeastrum is probably the most beautiful and impressive of all bulbs and is often sold in nurseries as Amaryllis. Don't worry, here on Abaco at Pine Woods Nursery, they know all about Amaryllis. Zephyranthes are late season, crocus-like entries. Calladiums are beautiful leaves.The rest are summer bloomers that grow tall and should be planted about five inches deep. Once you have planted them you forget about them until they display their beauty. Up north, bulbs have to be wintered indoors. No problem in The Bahamas - just put your bulbs, etc, in and they will reappear every year. They don't even need much in the way of fertilizer because, like Kalahari bush women, they store their energy efficiently.
One of the most beautiful of bulbs is our own Spider Lily. It is highly appreciated in northern climes as an indoor plant because it produces shiny strap leaves all year long before its brief summer blooming. No matter about the brief blooming, it deserves a place in every Bahamian ornamental garden.
February 2002 Table
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February 2, 2002
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