How I Got Started

I started Butterfly gardening many years ago. My yard has been a progression over the years, and has made many transformations. Twenty years ago I experienced Hurricane Andrew. My yard and house were destroyed. We decided not to replace the pool screening and open up the backyard and put in some landscaping. That was the official beginning of my love for gardening in South Florida. I added a beautiful water garden years ago, and have been adding host and larvae plants for pollinators, mostly for the butterfly, for as many years as I can remember. I had my yard certified as a Natural Habitat, through the National Wildlife Foundation. To have a natural habitat you need to provide and meet certain requirements: 1. Provide a food source, 2. Provide a water source, 3. Cover, 4. A place to raise young. I try not to use any pesticides in my yard. I vermicompost and recycle as many of my food scraps as possible. If I had more land I would have a huge compost bin to recycle all my yard cuttings. Basically, I try to lessen my carbon footprint on this earth. In my own little world or backyard I try to provide an ecosystem in my water garden, provide birdbaths, birdfeeders, hummingbird nectar sources, feeders, puddling areas, host plants and nectar plants for butterflies and other pollinators. I am hoping to raise everyone’s awareness of the importance of saving our Butterflies, Blooms & Bees. Without them our world and food source will be in trouble. I hope you all enjoy my journey. I am not a Master Gardener, or Master Beekeeper, an Entomologist, or Journalists. I am simply a Backyard Gardener who is trying to lessen her Carbon Footprint of this Earth.

I hope you enjoy my blogs.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Native Wild Everglades Tomato

It has been a week since I planted my garden. The plants are just starting to poke their little heads above the soil. Not all the seeds have germinated but most are starting. The different lettuces were the first to appear, followed by the beets, swiss chard, broccoli, and cabbage. I go out every day (ok several times a day) to see what new addition has presented itself. Today I finished planting the rest of the heirloom tomatoes. I was a little concerned about planting them as these heirloom seem slow to grow tall. I would have liked to have seen them slightly bigger before transplanting. I hope being over anxious doesn’t come back to bite me in the butt, but I was definitely concerned about getting the rest of the tomatoes in the ground. After all, it is the end of November and the weather has been plenty cool. I think they will grow better with more soil to expand their root system.

Last week, when I went to my local nursery to get some of the herbs that I wanted to plant, I discovered they had several varieties of heirloom tomatoes. I bought two, the Wild Florida Everglades Tomato, and The Black Prince. The Florida Everglades tomato intrigued me the most as I never knew Florida had a native heirloom tomato. Obviously we do and it will grow year round here in Florida. It is an indeterminate variety with penny sized cherry tomatoes. These little tomatoes are sugar sweet, with a true tomato taste. They will grow in Florida most of the year. Seeds germinate almost 100% so you should plant only what you want to grow.

I am excited to see how well this Florida native grows and what the fruit will taste like. Here is a video that I discovered on YouTube about the Florida Native Everglades Tomato. It is presented by John Coller from I have watched many of his videos. He is full of enthusiasm and is very informative. He has converted his entire property to growing edible greens and travels the country to educate and discover different plants and gardens while sharing them via YouTube videos.

Also here is a thread from “Tomatoville”, a forum for growing tomatoes; there is a discussion about the history of the Native Wild Everglades Tomato. They seem to think that they were brought to Florida by pirates from South America. It is very interesting to read the history, although it doesn’t really sound like anyone is 100% sure of the tomato’s beginnings. No matter where the tomato originated, I have now planted one in my garden and am anxious to see the results.

Here are a few pictures of the progression of my square foot garden and specifically the Native Wild Florida Everglades Tomato.

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