Sunday, January 27, 2008

Arcadia Mill

Within a short walk from our home is the Arcadia Mill archeological site. The mill began as early as 1817 and is claimed to be “the first and largest Early American industrial complex in Florida.” Arcadia Mill seems to have met its greatest enterprise during the 1830s. The Arcadia complex lasted until 1855 and several years later the Pond Creek dam was destroyed during a skirmish with the Yankee invaders. The site remained in ruins and abandoned until 1964 when it was rediscovered. In the 1980s the site was purchased by the Santa Rosa Historical Society and the University of West Florida and the recovery of the site commenced. In 1987 the Arcadia Mill was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. A few years ago, during the two crazy hurricane seasons a lot of damage was done to the site. Arcadia Mill reopened last year. For more information on the history of the Arcadia Mill visit UWF’s website

Saturday, January 26, 2008


The garden in the rear yard is for much of the year shaded by live oaks during most of the day. By mid to late summer there’s enough direct sun to grow tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant successfully. In the spring it’s hot, but the shade cools the garden air to still grow lettuce well. We had romaine and loose leaf into late April. But we’ve steadily expanded the front yard garden where there’s now enough room to accommodate many of our vegetable needs. So we’ve decided to try our hand at suburban chickens. About a hundred and twenty square feet of our rear garden area has been converted into a chicken coop. That should give a dozen or more laying hens plenty of room and perhaps will be the best use of that space. We’ll be obtaining chickens, hopefully, within a month or two. In the meantime however, the pen will be occupied by a turkey we obtained from a friend. The pen was built with mostly salvaged materials and was finished last weekend.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Abbeville Institute

The lectures from the Abbeville Institute’s 2005 and 2006 Summer Schools are available on-line. The subject of 2005 was “Re-Thinking Lincoln: The Man, The Myth, The Symbol, The Legacy" and is a series of fifteen lectures. My wife and I attended the conference and highly recommend listening to the series. The 2006 subject was “The Southern Agrarian Tradition” We were not able to attend the summer school that year. I thank the Institute for making the lectures available. All of the lectures are very informative, but Professor Tobias Lanz’s “The Agrarianism of Wendell Berry” is probably one of the best introductions to Wendell Berry that I’ve heard. The lecture ends, like Berry often does, with examples of practical application. The 2008 Summer School “Northern Anti-Slavery Agitation” is scheduled for June 10-15. For more information about the Abbeville Institute please visit their website.

15 Jan. Planting

Yesterday I planted the following varieties in the large containers on the front porch: Early Scarlet Globe Radish (25 days), New Red Fire Lettuce (29 days), Hyper Red Rumple Lettuce (50 days), and Gourmet Blend Lettuce.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Garden Guardian

A scarecrow would work but we’ve recruited the assistance of an ass. We purchased our garden guardian from Affordable Art, 6383 Banyan Dr., Milton, FL 32570, (850) 623-0362

Friday, January 11, 2008

The Year's First Planting

Today we planted our first seeds of the year. We directly planted about four ounces of seed of Knight English Peas. They are scheduled to mature the first week of March (56 days.)

We also planted seeds of the following varieties into trays; they should be ready for transplant in about three to four weeks: Freckles Romaine (70 days), Parris Island Romaine (68 days), Black-Seeded Simpson Lettuce (45 days), Pom Pom Lettuce (46 days), Hyper Red Rumple Lettuce (50 days), New Red Fire Lettuce (29 days), Red Giant Indian Mustard (30 days), and Brisk Green Pak Choi (50 days.)

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Our Suburban Garden Varieties

We planted our garden about twenty months ago. Currently our garden, scattered over three plots and even mixed into the ornamental beds, encompasses over a thousand square feet. What follows is a list of some of the varieties we’ve grown here in the Florida Panhandle.

Peppers: California Wonder, College 64L, Cowhorn, Habanero, Sweet Banana, Tabasco, Jalapeno, Black Pearl

Tomatoes: Solar Fire, Patio Hybrid, Raad Red VF, Heatwave, Jubilee, Lemon Boy, Sweet 100, Roma

Eggplant: Burpee Hybrid

Loose Leaf Lettuce: Black Seeded Simpson, Burpee Gourmet Blend, Burpee Mesclun Salad Mix, Pom Pom, New Fire Red, Hyper Red Rumple

Romaine Lettuce: Capistrano, Outredgeous, Winter Density

Kale: Red Russian, Nero DiToscana, Redbor

Spinach: Olympia, Teton Hybrid, Bloomsdale Long Standing

Various Salad Greens: Arugula, Bright Lights Swiss Chard, Fordhook Giant Swiss Chard, Kyoto Mizuna, Tah Tsai, Malabar Spinach, New Zealand Spinach

Cabbage: Bonnie Hybrid, Ferry’s Round Dutch

Broccoli: Waltham 29, De Cicco, Fall Blend

Summer Squash: Dixie Hybrid, Early Golden Summer Crookneck, Burpee’s Fordhook Zucchini, Burpee’s Hybrid Zucchini

Cucumbers: Marketmore, Cool Breeze Hybrid

Beans: Kentucky Wonder, Royal Burgundy

Carrots: Danvers #126, Oxhart, Short and Sweet

Radishes: Early Scarlet Globe, Cherry Belle

Onions: Evergreen Long White Bunching, Purplette, Dutch Valley White, Dutch Valley Red

Shallots: Dutch Valley

Garlic: Red Russian