1. 1.
    traveling from place to place, especially working or based in various places for relatively short periods.
    "the peripatetic nature of military life"
    synonyms:nomadic, itinerant, traveling, wandering, roving, roaming, migrant,migratory, unsettled
    "I could never get used to her peripatetic lifestyle"
  2. 2.
  1. 1.
    a person who travels from place to place.
  2. 2.
    an Aristotelian philosopher.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Mars to Men: If You Think Venus is Hot, Try Gardening in Florida!

From Wikipedia: Mars in a Garden , from a wall found at Pompeii
It is only the middle of May, but things are already heating up in the garden. It certainly is, if you garden in Florida. Gardening in Pompeii must have been a little steamy, so it's no wonder that Mars figures prominently in the buff in a wall mural that survived the volcanic devastation. Now why would Mars, Roman god of war, look so at ease, leaning on his spear instead of aiming it, perched on a pedestal in the middle of a garden? Did he get fed up with his image as war-monger? More likely, someone on the home front who was thoroughly tired of war (aren't we all?) decided to promote him as having another set of skills, if not as gardener then at least as garden-guardian. After all, why should any self-respecting god be pigeon-holed? He deserves an avocation like anyone else. Gardening is as good a one as any.

SAM my man even lends his hands and strong back in the garden. He has graciously agreed to arrange many, heavy blocks so that I can convert my veggie growing spot to a new, almost completely containerized version of it. So far, I have grown peas and lettuce (both of which are almost finished for the season), tomatoes and peppers, as well as herbs. With Cliff's Organic Wonder Soil as a growing medium, the plants have been performing wonderfully, as expected. Am I crazy for putting so much confidence in dirt? Call it Mars Madness.

I was confident enough in Cliff's soil to purchase a very expensive tomato plant at a nearby nursery. You would cringe if I told you how much it cost. We'll just say that it probably cost more than I paid for a whole bushel of tomatoes a few years ago. If you think I'm foolish, then blame it on Mars. He's not afraid of anything, so why should I be?

First tomato on Grafted Early Girl tomato plant, 5-18-13

Here is the first fruit of that Early Girl. Pretty, ain't she? Pay no attention to the hair on her legs. She's not old enough to shave yet.

I did not pay too much for some pepper plants, which were purchased at one of the big box stores. This one is a red-hot cherry pepper. Only two plants were bought and planted because a little goes a long way with hot peppers. SAM is not overly fond of spicy food, so I may end up giving away quite a few of these peppers.

Mixed romaine lettuce grown from seed, 5-2013
Lest you think me scandalously "squanderous," I will say that I grew lettuce and peas from seed early this spring. It's easy and cheap to do so.

It's also easy and cheap (free!) to grow pass-along plants like this NOID daylily. One of my massage clients who also likes to garden gave me some of her excess plant divisions. She didn't name it so I will call it Flame(n) Martialis. It does look rather priestly. You can imagine it brandishing its spears (stamens) to ward off any potential enemies of the garden veggies--garden-guardianship at its best.

Mars, the NOID, bob-tail cat

Speaking of garden-guardians, a kitty that's been hanging around our garden for several weeks has a new name--Mars. It's a NOID, bob-tail cat that seems rather sad and waits patiently to be fed twice a day now. At first, he (at least I think it's a he--I haven't been allowed to lift up his bob-tail to make sure) would only come around once or twice a week. We're thinking that someone nearby moved away and left him to fend for himself. He's welcome here anyway. We can use all the help we can get with guarding the garden.


  1. Claude was just talking about the heat in Texas. Same here. My yard is about to go on SELF SURVIVAL MODE, any day now!!!

  2. Looks like your doing good. pite lettuce was done weeks ago... i miss it. but the yellow squash are coming in!

  3. Julie, the rest of the yard has to fend for itself during the summer months. Since I've opted for putting the veggies in containers, though, I can't let them down when it doesn't rain. They're pretty much a captive audience.

    Claude, I placed the lettuce containers on the east and north side of the house so they would be shaded during the hottest part of the day. So far, it's kept them cooler, but I fear that the lettuce will be bolting soon and getting bitter, even though I opted for a variety that promises to delay that process. It has, a little bit.

  4. I'm impressed by all the guards guarding your garden! :) Mars, the bob-tail cat looks cute. We lost our cat a year ago and I miss him, he was so friendly.

    I admire the lettuces, they look fresh and healthy. I always buy little plants when it's warm enough and transplant them into a vegetable bed. Up to mid-May nights may be cold here, even freezing and I don't have a greenhouse or space inside to grow them from seeds. I like that idea though!

  5. Hi W2W .. I know how much you love your gardening .. so I'm not surprised to see things flourishing ..

    and four-legged Mars looks a delight - and I'm glad he's being looked after ..

    Cheers Hilary

  6. That is one thing I will miss in the spring after I've moved into my apartment...gardening! Hopefully it will play out after the fall.

  7. You're going to love kitty! I have three I adopted this way and adore them all. They are great helpers in the garden. That daylily looks so pretty and I'm in love with your arborvitae. Can't imagine gardening down there-it's hot enough here!

  8. I once tried growing vegetables but found it more challenging than I had expected. Leafy greens were turned into green lace or full of holes before I knew it. Your veggies look so healthy and delicious. You don't have to use any agrichemicals? Soil makes a big difference. I wish I could get such wonderful soil like yours!

    I am glad Mars was employed by a kind heart as your new garden guardian:)

  9. Petra, when we lived in Illinois, the cold weather was a challenge. Here, it's the heat and the quality of the soil. I guess every place has its obstacles to overcome. It's interesting finding ways around them.

    Ms. Hilary, am I that transparent when it comes to loving gardening? The reason why is complicated for sure. I've been trying to figure it out for some time now. The new kitty is still very shy, but I'm making progress with him. Yes, it is a male.

    Christi, maybe you can garden in containers if you have a balcony or use window boxes. That's what I did when we lived in an apartment. Of course, there's always a community garden option. I hope you find a way to satisfy your gardening urge!

    Tina, the toughest part of welcoming Mars into the fold is getting Peanut to accept him. She tolerates him but lets me know she isn't happy about him hanging around all the time. The arborvitae have really grown the past year or so. I hope they slow down some. As far as the heat goes, right where we live there is almost always a nice sea breeze in the afternoon. We are quite a distance from the coast, but I guess we are located on a high point. The humidity can make it seem unbearable late in the day. Thank goodness for air conditioning when that happens. I usually work outside early in the morning.

    Cosmos, veggie growing is a challenge here too. Don't let my pictures fool you. There are many lacy leaves here. The bugs are beginning to discover my plants. No, I don't use any chemicals. If I see any bugs chomping away, I try to pick them off and drown them in soapy water. Summer gardening is always more difficult here because of the bugs. Thank goodness I can grow cool weather crops in the winter and spring. As for the soil, you might try locating some local grower who sells compost. That's what Cliff soil is. He makes his own compost with chicken manure and cotton seed hulls. I think he says a prayer over it too.

  10. It reached 90 today and I melted. Such the northerner am I. Hope to visit my garden this weekend with more than just a camera.

  11. At the very least, a glass of iced tea would be good to take along, Wayne. Somehow spring skipped right into summer.

  12. Those tomatoes look real fresh.
    I think its the same story everywhere - the heat.
    What they kept saying about the global warming is turning out to be true.