Discover the Fun of Gardening
November 8, 2018   
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Suspicious tracks in our veggie garden.

One of my favorite things to do is walk through our veggie garden. Not with any specific task in mind, just to stroll the rows. Most mornings, I make a cup of coffee, let the chickens out and then walk the beds, checking everything out. I'm always on the lookout for new blooms, ripening veggies and freshly-emerged seedlings. On one particular morning, I was disappointed to see that our spinach, arugula and cilantro bed had been uprooted a bit. It didn't look like a critter had stopped to dig or eat, but it did look like they made a quick escape, and right through twelve feet of new seedlings. Fortunately I have an advantage. I have two up and coming sleuths who were determined to discover the culprit. They analyzed the size, shape and orientation of the footprints and tried to recreate the scene. Which way was the intruder going, was she looking for food or just running through?

After a good bit of investigation and consultation of their field journals, they decided that it could be a rabbit or a raccoon. We've spotted plenty of rabbits eyeing the garden in the past, but the tracks seemed a little big and round for rabbits. So they decided that the most likely culprit was a raccoon. 

Two little sleuths.
The next morning, we were enjoying the garden again when suddenly, we heard a loud crashing noise behind us as if a branch had fallen from a tree. When we turned to see what it was, we saw two rather large raccoons heading up one of our oak trees. We watched them as they climbed to the top of one tree and then about forty feet out on a limb. Then they jumped to the next tree and climbed across to its trunk, back out to the outer limbs and jumped to a third tree, where they followed the branches out another thirty feet or so. At this point, they were on branches that didn't seem like they would hold them and they were about seventy-five feet up in the air. Now I know why we don't usually see any traces of where they live - up there in the branches, no one could spot them. I tried to snap a picture, but they were so far away and camouflaged that it was impossible.

So thanks to my garden sleuths, it seems like we've figured out who the culprit was and fortunately we were able to replant some seeds and the beds haven't been bothered again. We've started harvesting peppers, radishes, arugula and we've got plenty more coming along soon. I definitely love fall veggie season. And with cool weather coming in next week, it will be perfect for enjoying time outside. Hopefully you aren't having to replant after critter damage, but are just getting to enjoy everything that fall in Florida has to offer.

Happy Gardening,
The Kerby's Nursery Family

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Let's start a mango orchard.
Garden Tip
The Mango Tree

Mango smoothies, mango salsa, frozen mango, mango ice cream, dried mango, candied mango, grilled mango . . . I feel like Bubba from Forrest Gump when he lists all of the ways to prepare shrimp for Forrest. But mangos are so versatile that there really are so many ways to use them. And would you believe that mangos date from the 10th century! They were introduced from Asia to California in the 1800s and slowly made their way across the country. Mango trees can live to be 300 years old and still bear fruit. They are sweet and refreshing for dessert or as a snack, but you can also prepare them as a salsa to add to meat dishes (or my personal favorite is as a topping for shrimp tacos). Our tree guy John wanted to share a great recipe for Mango Chutney, so see that below and click here for a little information on planting and caring for mango trees. They are easy to grow and there are so many different varieties that it is tough to plant just one. Come take a stroll on the Kerby's Fruit Walk to check out the different types including: Guava (yes Guava Mango!), Orange Sherbert as well as classics like Haden, Kent and Carrie.

Mango Chutney
- 2 - 3 large mangoes, peeled and chopped
- 2 cups pineapple chunks
- ½ teaspoon garlic minced
- ½ cup chopped onions
- 1 medium jalapeño pepper, diced
- ½ red bell pepper, diced
- 1 teaspoon ginger powder or fresh finely minced
- ½ teaspoon coriander
- ¼ teaspoon cardamom
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon cloves
- ½ cup sugar granulated or brown
- ½ cup vinegar
- ½ cup water
- salt to taste

1. Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan.
2. Bring to a boil.
3. Reduce heat to simmer and cook, uncovered for 20 minutes until mango is tender and the sauce thickens.
4. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
5. Put into jars and refrigerate.

Make Fall Happen
Air Plants

Lots of varieties to choose from
New Shipment
House Plants

Clean the air you breathe with an indoor plant.
Blooming Roses

Fortuniana Grafted Roses
10" Pot - $29.99

Kerby's Nursery

2311 S. Parsons Ave.

Seffner, FL 33584
(813) 685-3265

Store Hours
Open Seven Days a Week
Monday - Saturday,  9am - 5pm
Sunday,  11am - 4pm