Discover the Fun of Gardening|
June 14, 2018
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It was a dark night without a wisp of cloud in the sky. The full moon's light bouncing off the rippling water. Search lights moved back and forth across the water's surface. Our eyes peered, aching to spot the monster . . . OK that's enough drama. We were crabbing. Did anyone else go crabbing in Tampa Bay back in the 80s ? I've met few people who did it with the enthusiasm that my family did. As summer arrived, we'd head down to the local bait shop for the monthly tide chart. We'd analyze the times to see when the full moon and an evening low tide aligned. That would be the lowest tide of the month. When those events converged, we'd gather our gear and head out to the bay for a night of wading, searching and catching. (Which of course was always followed up with a day of cleaning, cooking and eating!)
But I have to give you a better sense of the equipment that we took with us. You could just take a bucket, a net and a flashlight or two. Not us. We were serious about blue crabs. It starts with an innertube - a big one from some sort of industrial machine - about three feet across. Now lay a heavy piece of plywood across it. In the center goes a freshly charged marine battery, with two lights and plenty of wire to connect. Cooler on one side, bug spray and snacks on the other. Now behind that you tie on 'The Crab Bucket'. (pictured above. Originally we just tied on an old washtub that floated happily behind the innertube. One year for a birthday or Father's Day, we painted a special washtub for my dad, and that became our crab bucket.)
On one of our crabbing trips, we had a contest between two families to see who could catch the largest crab. With my dad pulling the equipment and in charge of the spotlight, we slowly filled our bucket with crabs, but without netting a real prizewinner. Then on our way into shore, we caught a glimpse of what looked like a huge crab in the spotlight. (Not sure if my memory is completely accurate, but I remember being the one to scoop it up.) It measured seven and three-quarters inches from tip to tip and it definitely won the contest. Huge compared to what you can get at a seafood market today (though apparently the world record is around 11"!). The crazy thing is that as I was writing this newsletter, I thought 'My dad saves a lot of stuff, maybe he has an old tide chart I could take a picture of.' He didn't have a tide chart, instead he sent a picture of the actual crabshell from the crab contest. Hard to believe that thing has survived almost 32 years.
My girls love to hear stories from my childhood, and 'The Crab Contest' is one that is frequently requested. Now I have proof that it really happened. I just hope that when my girls are grown, they have childhood memories to tell as stories to their children. It's hard to know when and where you are making memories that will stand up to the test of time. But there is no better time than now to make them. So what do you have to lose! Get out and have some fun making memories and to all the dad's out there, Happy Father's Day.
Is it a fruit? Is it a vegetable? Either way, avocados are just delicious. Eat them fresh with a pinch of salt. Mash them up for fresh guacamole. The best part? Avocados are really good for you. So plant a tree and dig in.
1) Planting - Plant avocado trees in an area that receives at least 6 hours of direct sun each day. Well-drained soil is a must, so pick a location that doesn't stay wet. To get trees off to a great start, use a bag of Kerby's Planting Soil to amend the soil. And finally, give avocado trees plenty of room to grow. Most varieties grow 20 to 30 feet tall and spread out up to 20 feet as well, so plan accordingly.
2) Watering - New trees need water daily in the first month, every other day in the second month and twice weekly in the third month, always in the morning. After this period, avocado trees need a deep watering once per week.
3) Fertilizer - Keep trees strong by providing them the major and minor nutrients they need. Fertilize monthly for the first year with Kerby's 8-4-8 fertilizer (which contains the major elements as well as minor elements, such as iron, manganese and zinc). Thereafter, fertilize in the spring, summer and fall.
4) Pollination and Fruiting - Avocado varieties are classified into two 'types', A or B. Both tree types have male and female flowers, but each type releases and receives pollen at different times over a two day cycle. Trees will produce the best harvests when an A and B variety are planted near each other. If you only have room for one tree, choose an A variety. They are the best at self-pollinating. Avocado trees fruit in late summer to fall and since all of Kerby's trees are grafted, you should expect to see your first fruits in 2 to 3 years.
5) Pest Control - Avocados do not have major pest or disease issues. A natural pesticide such as Neem Oil can be used as needed.
Kerby's Guacamole Recipe
3 fresh avocados, peeled and mashed
1 medium tomato, diced
1/2 cup red onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 lime juiced
1 teaspoon cumin
3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
Cayenne pepper (to taste)
Salt and black pepper (to taste)
Combine all ingredients together. If you want a smooth guacamole, use a food processor to combine. Spoon into serving bowl and top with fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice. Serve chilled with a side of chips.
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Seffner, FL 33584